Several worship leaders asked a version of this burning question. Their wording differed, the issue was the same.
I chose this scenario, perhaps an extreme example of the dilemma. I hope it helps.
You have a team member resists technique training. She has always danced prophetically and spontaneously. She says technique and choreography stifle the Spirit. How do you respond to her?
The biblical principle here is integrity. Separating worship from hard work and skill creates a false dichotomy. Seek to always maintain a connection between technique training and worship and ministry.
Spend time with the team sharing your heart about technique and its value in dance ministry. Emphasize that our focus, in practicing technique, is on helping each person to grow, not on attaining some level of perfection.
I Corinthians 10:31 says, “In all you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In Ecclesiastes 9:10, it says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”
From these passages, we know that God wants us to do our very best in whatever we do. Technique training equips us to do this. Emphasize that it is a gift to be able to improve in technique as a dancer. It enables our body to better demonstrate what the Spirit moves us to communicate. In addition, it gives us credibility to bring God’s messages before more people, when we have honed our skill.
As it says in Proverbs 22:29 it says, “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”
By using praise songs for technique practice, you will help keep the team members’ hearts worshiping even when learning technique. By teaching how different movements and steps can be used to communicate the heart of different worship words or expressions, your team will see technique as a tool to help them more faithfully embody worship. In these ways, try to win your sister over to the value of technique without confronting her straight on.
If the dancer still seemed uncomfortable with or resistant to technique and choreography, invite her out for coffee or for lunch. Listen to her heart for dance ministry and ask her about her experiences dancing prophetically, seeking to understand.
Ask her if she feels called to be on the team, understanding that part of the mission and vision God has given you involves helping the team grow in skill. Assure her that, when choreographing, that you pray and listen to the Spirit.
If you sense a true heart for worship and desire to serve, invite her to lead some spontaneous times of worship in team practice. If you sense that her prophetic calling was genuine and powerful, give her opportunities to dance spontaneously for portions of songs, asking her to prepare by listening to and praying over the music, but give her the freedom to dance her part spontaneously.
There are so many gifted and wise worship dancers who read these articles, so please, chime into the discussion. Add your input in the comments section (which is at the beginning of the post).
How do you hold together Spirit led dance and technique and choreography?
What part does each play in your ministry?
What else would you tell this leader?
Read tomorrow’s post about a worship leader who had a girl on the team who really didn’t grasp the heart of worship, affecting not just her participation in ministry, but affecting the whole team.