The 1960s was a remarkable time for music.
The British invasion brought to the United States enduring bands like The Beatles, The Animals, The Rolling Stones, and The Who.
Then the California sound emerged with The Beach Boys. You also had The Doors, Janis Joplin, and a host of other bands breaking new ground.
Other artists quickly emerged. The Yardbirds, Cream, Led Zeppelin, and the inimitable Jimi Hendrix.
You also had Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell who inspired many of these aforementioned artists and vice versa.
What’s incredible to me about this time period is that virtually all of the musicians I named met each other, hung out together when they could, and listened to one another with adoration and respect. (Photos of some of them together in casual settings still exist).
They would also play informally with one another at certain times. And even more encouraging, they inspired each other.
What is more, they commended one another, even giving each other opportunities.
In 1967, Jimi Hendrix took the world by storm with his mind-blowing performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. How did he get there?
The Monterey hosts originally invited The Beatles to appear. But Paul McCartney declined because The Beatles were busy creating their next album. McCartney, however, told the hosts that they should invite Jimi Hendrix because of his amazing talent.
And they did, changing the course of rock history.
How often does this kind of thing happen with the leading Christian leaders of our time?
I’ve watched numerous interviews with many of these artists and marveled at how each of them would praise the others. Not just from afar, but because they took the time to get to know one another and watch each other perform.
Each time I’ve observed these things, I’ve had two reactions.
One was awe. How incredible it was that these musicians, all playing for different bands and all enormously talented in their own right, respected each other and spoke well of each other in public.
Sure, I’m sure some struggled with hidden jealousy from time to time, but these artists paid attention to what their peers were doing. They gleaned from each other and they had a great deal of class to speak well of one another.
Some of them were even inspired by the others.
George Harrison once asked Led Zeppelin why they didn’t write “love ballads.” Jimmy Page wrote “The Rain Song” in response.
Bob Dylan inspired John Lennon to write “Norwegian Wood” and “Nowhere Man” and many other songs.
Dylan moved to an electric sound in response to what the other musicians of the mid-60s were doing.
“Pet Sounds” by The Beach Boys inspired “Sgt. Pepper” by The Beatles.
And on and on.
They all pushed one another to create better work.
And their networking relationships created better music for the entire world.
My second reaction to all of this is a troubling question: “Why can’t those whom God is using on the Christian landscape today have such relationships?”
Why can’t speakers and authors who are turning the sod in the Christian world have places to hang out, dialogue, and inspire each other?
Think of your top 5 favorite authors and ask yourself, why aren’t they spending time together socially?
Why aren’t they learning from each other?
Why aren’t they commending each other for speaking gigs?
(By the way, I’m not talking about those clicks where everyone from the same movement or denomination pats one another on the back and shares conferences. That’s like John Lennon commending Ringo Star! I’m speaking about something much wider. I’m speaking of evangelical Christian authors who don’t know one another, relating to each other in ministry despite their disagreements on peripheral doctrines. Goodness, just look at how George Whitefield commended John Wesley despite their grave disagreements in theology.)
I’m keenly aware that I’m voicing a dream here.
As most of you know, I’ve collaborated with several authors on different projects over the years.
But I’m talking about something wider, more focused, more intentional, and more substantial.
Something like what we saw happen among the greatest music artists of the 1960s. And those people weren’t even Jesus followers!
Perhaps this will always stay a dream. But I suppose it can’t hurt to articulate it.
Maybe one of you will be motivated by this post and make something like this happen, somewhere, someday. Or perhaps you’ll put it in the right hands, and they will make something happen.
If it ever does, no matter how raw or foundational, count me in.
Related: A Ministry Dream Team