Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Go With What You Know

A few years ago I was visiting at the home a member of our Worship Ministry where I was the Worship Arts Pastor. Antonio Acevedo was one of our bass players, and he had invited me to a gathering of the Hispanic Ministry, where he and his wife were on the leadership team.

More than 70 people were eating and enjoying conversations in their backyard, and Spanish was the language of choice for the afternoon. As I looked around at the assembled crowd, I realized that I was the only Gringo of the gathering.

The menu was Puerto Rican, Guatemalan, and Salvadorian. The food was fabulous, the laughter was loud, and the sharing of stories was superb. (At least I assumed that stories were being shared. Remember, everything was in Spanish...)

As the afternoon began to move towards evening, "Tony" got together an impromptu band to lead the people in the singing of some worship songs. Tony chose to play the guitar, and a drummer, percussionist and another guitar player rounded out the group. A bass player was needed, and I was drafted.

As all musicians know that it is difficult to refuse a gig, I quickly agreed to jump in. Donning Tony's bass guitar, we tuned up and got ready to play. Tony told me that we were going to play Hispanic worship songs that I probably wasn't familiar with, but not to worry: He would call out the chords to me as we played.

Tony kept his word and turned towards me at the beginning of each phrase and called out the chords. But there was a problem: He was calling out the chords in Spanish!

Now I know a handful of words and phrases in Spanish, but the alphabet is not held in that hand. I found myself needing a solution on the fly.

Instead of feeling frustrated or lost, my creativity kicked in. I found myself relying on my musical ear to follow and anticipate the chord changes, rather than my physical ear to hear Tony calling out what chords to play.

The music flowed, the people sang, and the worship was rich. My experience and creativity was put to the test, and I was able to hang in with the band.

Not only did I survive the foreign language musical experience, I was invited back to play for the Hispanic Ministry's next gathering. Whew!

Why do I share this story?

All of us find ourselves in situations where the available resources are inadequate, and we don't have the luxury of proper preparation to accomplish our task. You will be forced to go with what you know. Don't be strangled by those situations, but rather embrace the task and rely on your experience and creativity to propel you through.

Question: When have you been required to go with what you know? Share your thoughts below in 'comments'.

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