What not to do with worship props

Anyone who has taught worship dance to children has experienced one of these challenges:

  • Children using their streamers as swords
  • A child pouting because they did not get the flag/streamer of their choice
  • A child getting hit in the head by the flag pole of another child who is unaware

I have a section in my online class Teaching Worship Dance to Children entitled Using Props with a Purpose. In it, I give suggestions for teaching children how and why to use props in such a way that they are tools for ministry and not toys. It’s a helpful section to head off the problems listed above before they happen or how to use them as teachable moments if they do.

using flags in worship wiselyBut there is a much greater error we can make when using props in worship dance than any of those that the children commonly make. It’s a mistake any one of us is vulnerable to make if we are not careful, and,  it can even be a life or death issue.

Continue reading “What not to do with worship props”

Living God’s Dreams – Ministry Activation

Are you awaiting the fulfillment of dreams that God has given you?

Have you faced setbacks that cause you to question whether the dream will be fulfilled?

Are you or others with whom you serve weary of waiting for a dream to be fulfilled?

Do you ever get frustrated by the dreamers in your life?

If so, you’ll find this message from Wesley Scott Amos’ book, The Transforming Journey encouraging and perhaps even convicting in a way that leads to renewal.

I’ve created a video explaining a ministry activation you can do with your team or congregation, renewing hope for the fulfillment of the dreams God has given and releasing power and encouragement for the journey. Continue reading “Living God’s Dreams – Ministry Activation”

Why Use Flags or Banners in Worship?

worship flags scriptureWhat is the point of using flags or banners in worship?

Does the bible say anything about worshiping with flags?

Are flags a distraction, drawing people’s attention to the dancer when they should be worshiping?

Have you asked or been asked any of these questions? If so, read on to learn how flags were used in scripture and four important ways you can use them in spiritual warfare and ministry in worship.

In Processionals, Props and Pageantry, Pastor Lynn Hayden talks about the scriptural significance of banners. Scripture uses the words, banner, ensign, flag and standard. All of these are used in reference to warfare and, you will see, are relevant to our worship. Watch this 9-minute video to learn how.

Thanks so much for joining me today. Please join the discussion.

Why do you use flags or banners in worship?

What you have seen the Lord do when you have worshiped with flags?

Did this video raise any questions for you?

I’d love to hear from you.

Are you capable?

dancers confidence quoteDo you see yourself as capable?

How confident are you that you can complete the tasks you believe God has given you?

What do you tell yourself about yourself?

As worship dancers, our confidence is so often under attack. We often question our sense of call and whether we are worthy of the assignments we feel called to.

God cares very much about how we see ourselves. What He wants from us and for us is often different and always better than what we believe or deserve.

In this post, I’m going to share about a phrase from the bible that challenged me to change the way I think and speak about myself. I’ve got a gift for you in the post as well. Continue reading “Are you capable?”

Do you consult others when you choreograph?

When choreographing, should a dance leader look to hear team for inspiration and confirmation about choreography?

Or, does seeking the opinions of others muddy a leader’s connection with God and what He specifically wants to say through her dance?

Does God primarily reveal His Word for the dance through the anointed, appointed leader?

Or, is it important to listen to and gain ideas from a group of Spirit-filled dancers, so that we can more fully understand what God is trying to say?pasadena praise dance workshop

At the Unlocking Movement that Speaks prophetic movement workshop this past Saturday in Pasadena, these questions simmered among us and left me with some questions for the Lord, “How do you want this done, Lord? How do you speak? How do you want me to best listen?”

At the heart of the discussion were really two paradigms for choreography: Continue reading “Do you consult others when you choreograph?”

Six Quotes for Ministering in the Fullness God Intends

worship dance tele seminarAfter spending a month of Saturday mornings with Marlita Hill and a fantastic group of praise dance ministers for the Dancers! Assume the Position tele-seminar, I want to share with you some of the  most meaningful quotes from the course. As we grasp the truths contained in these quotes, we will gain greater freedom and greater empowerment in our assignments to dance for Him.

1. “We dance not just for ourselves or the event that we are attending. We dance to affect far beyond those sitting in front of us, reaching even tot he parts of the Body that we cannot see.” p. 24, Dancers! Assume the Position

The Body of Christ is connected. Because we are part of that Body, what we do affects the entire Body. God is working out His plans for the world and for His Body through all its members, including us. Marlita used this analogy: If I am making soup, my whole body is actually involved: My hands are cutting onions, my feet are supporting my weight, my heart is beating so I can do the job, my eyes are watching what I’m doing. Each part doing it’s job enables the whole body to make the soup. While each part has a specific role, a critical role, they are part of a bigger picture, in this instance, making soup.

God is doing something in the Body bigger than our dance, which our dance is a part of. He has reasons for the specifics He gives which connect to what He is doing in other parts of the Body, what He is doing in the big picture. What we do needs to fit in with what He is doing in this big picture. This is why it is so important to listen for His instructions. What He wants us to do in _________ (fill in your church, your city) will fit in with what He is doing in the Body of Christ in New York, in Chicago, in Puerto Rico, in Africa. The effect of our dance ripples out to the rest of the Body.

seed cling2. “…there must be a mechanism in place to help the people stay connected to the word long enough for belief to become action and manifestation to occur.” p. 45, Dancers! Assume the Position

Marlita talked about how, in the Body of Christ, there is an enormous gap between the tremendous amount of spiritual truth we hear and the fruit it produces in our lives. As a seed that lands on the ground must cling to the soil in order to germinate, these truths need “cling” to our hearts and minds in order to germinate and produce their intended result: forming us into the image of Christ.

We dancers are a strategic part the mechanism Marlita talks about in the body of Christ to people “cling” to the Word they hear from the pulpit so that it has a chance to take root in their lives. Through our dance, we give people a visual picture of that Word, using Spirit-led songs, that helps the message to stay with the people of God long enough for those truths to take root and produce fruit in their lives.

prophetic movement.jpg3. “Movement is part of the way He speaks. The imagery and dramatization created by physical movement are critical and essential to the way He communicates.” p. 59, Dancers! Assume the Position

We looked at the prophets and saw how God told them specifically how to move in order to communicate His message. For example, He told Ezekiel to lie on his left side for a certain number of days. In doing so, Ezekiel was bearing the iniquity of the people of Israel (Ezekiel 4:4). These movements were critical to the message. As the prophet moved, the Word of God went forth. So, as the Spirit directs us specifically about the movements we use, it is critical we listen and obey. Those movements become His word to groups and individuals, accomplishing in their lives what He intends.

4. “I don’t have to create this (ministry, assignment). I just have to create room in my life to listen.” – Marlita Hill, quote from the seminar.

If God has something to say through our dance and He already knows how He wants to stay it, our job is not to come up with choreography or to muster enough creativity to put on a powerful ministry piece. Our job is to listen to Him. The most challenging and important job we have to do is to make space to hear Him.

5. “Lord, show me who I could delegate some of these tasks to so that I can stay in communion with you about this assignment.” – Marlita Hill, quote from the seminar.

This is a prayer for the times when we’re struggling to see the bigger picture of our assignment because we are absorbed in the administrative, logistical and spiritual aspects of our ministry. The Lord, through Jethro, said to Moses,  “The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.” (Exodus 18:17, 18). He then instructed Moses to choose from among the people noble and god-fearing men to serve under him to help settle disputes. So also, the Lord can advise us how to share the practical load of ministry so that we maintain our ever so critical ability to hear from Him.

6. “If you desire to assume the position of true ministry in dance, then regular communion and consultation with God must be a can’t-function-without-it part of your life…..The position we must assume is of one who continually pursues the presence and voice of God and dances out of what we have seen and heard in His presence.” p. 101, Dancers! Assume the Position

This one speaks for itself.

Did any of these quotes speak to you? Please respond in the comments. Which one spoke to you and how can that help you in your ministry? Join the discussion. I’d love to hear from you.

Do You Recognize the Voice Speaking to You?

gospel through artsI received a fun surprise in my inbox last week. A friend recommended that I be featured as the artist of the month with Make and Believe Productions, whose mission is to use the arts to share the gospel and to do it with excellence.

There was a part of me that wanted to reply, “Actually, I’m not really an artist. I’m kind of a lay dancer, and I don’t know if my work is excellent enough for those who read your posts” and go on to explain my lack of credentials.

But that would have been an insult to my friend who recommended me and to the Lord who has given me the measure of gifting He has and Who is allowing me to use it. It would be an insult to the amazing teachers who have invested in me over the past five years, allowing me to grow as a dancer and minister and gain credentials for teaching. (Thank you, Jocelyn Richard and Lynn Hayden) So, I simply thanked her for including me, sent in my bio, and said a quick prayer of thanks for the open door.

There is a familiar voice I hear so often in my head that I mistake it for my own voice. Sometimes I interpret it as humility, an accurate assessment of my weaknesses. Other times I interpret it as my own insecurities. But the truth is, it’s not my voice at all. It’s the voice of the Enemy. He disguises his voice as my own in order to keep me holding back, burying my talents instead of investing them. Can you relate?

I remember a time when I was teaching middle school, over 15 years ago, when I lamented to my dear friend and fellow teacher that I was struggling. I was feeling inadequate and even jealous of her (she was a dynamic, creative, and confident teacher). I described to her all the ways I felt I wasn’t measuring up. I patted myself on the back for being “honest,” but she would have none of it.

She said to me, “Amy, sometimes Satan overplays his hand. This is as spiritual attack. You are in ministry in the church and at this school, and he is trying to divert you from what you are called to do. You need to pray through putting on the weapons of your warfare every morning,” and she articulated this prayer based on Ephesians 6 for me that I have prayed over and over since then:

Lord, I place the belt of truth around my waist. Let everything I say and think be your truth.  I put on the breast plate of righteousness. May I trust in your righteousness today and may I walk in righteousness, so that my heart is protected. Let my feet be shod with the gospel of peace. May I bring your peace everywhere I walk today. I raise the shield of faith. Let me have more faith today than I had yesterday. I put on the helmet of salvation. May all my thoughts be taken captive to the salvation of Jesus. May your word be a sword in my hand that I use to set people free. I will pray in the Spirit today for your people, that the gospel will go out.

I experienced immediate relief from the spiritual attack and the “insecurity” no longer seemed valid.

We each are vulnerable to spiritual attack in different ways. Sometimes the enemy uses our pride, a physical weakness, or our tendency to overschedule our time. There are a multitude of ways we may be vulnerable. But the result is that we are immobilized. It’s the enemy’s strategy to seek to steal, kill and destroy, and he’s out to hinder what God wants to do in our lives. However, if we can recognize the voice as his and/or recognize the hit as a spiritual attack, then we can stand firm in the Lord and resist.

If you are feeling plagued by self doubt, or overwhelmed by discouragement, or just pestered by mishaps, to pray through the prayer from Ephesians 6. Say it out loud and gesture as you put on each piece of armor. Better yet, don’t wait for the attack. Make it a habit to put on your armor daily. Then you will be prepared to move forward, not burying your talents, but putting them to use, whenever He gives you an open door.

Join the discussion and respond in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Can you relate?

How to you recognize spiritual attack and fight back, in the Lord?

Thank you for allowing me to be part of your life. Also, thank you for celebrating this joy with me. I’m grateful to be featured on Make and Believe Productions and look forward to any doors the Lord opens through it.

 

How are you doing with the holiday busyness?

christmas dance peaceHow are you doing with the holiday busyness?

My sister texted me this question early this week and it has been repeating over and over in my soul since then.

When I read it, I thought, “Actually, I’m doing great. I actually haven’t really felt the rush of the season yet.” I felt a little smug, like maybe I’m above getting harried by all the trappings of Christmas.

Then, I started wondering, Am I sitting on a time bomb? Am I not feeling stressed because I’m just procrastinating on all I need to do? Am I honestly at peace, or am I just in denial?

All that introspection took a drastic turn within 36 hours Continue reading “How are you doing with the holiday busyness?”

Prophetic Dance: When and Where?

When and where is it appropriate to minister through prophetic dance?

prophetic dance quote

Every time we are ministering through dance, having prayed over the dance and received inspiration from the Holy Spirit about what to do and how to do it, our dance is prophetic. In addressing the question above today, however, I’ll focus on the aspect of prophetic dance in which we direct our focus to individuals, bringing a word from the Father to them. We make eye contact with these people and deliver a message through movement especially for them. To minister through prophetic dance in this way, we need permission both from the leadership and from the person.

Continue reading “Prophetic Dance: When and Where?”

Why dance in church? Is it biblical?

theology of danceThis past weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to meet with the Pastor and the Children’s Ministry Director my church. They had gathered several people who love dance to discuss the possibility of incorporating dance at our church, beginning with children.

This was an answer to prayer. It was such a gift to have these leaders come to me and to ask me to share about dance with them. I have been ministering outside my church in dance through workshops and classes this past year, but have not danced in my church.

It has been hard to imagine dance being welcome in this church. There are just one or two people who raise their hands in worship. Our Pastor and Worship Leader are very intentional to avoid or minimize anything that draws attention to the leader or a specific person. They do this because they want the congregation’s attention focused on the Lord and not the leaders, which I highly respect. The worship team leads from the side of platform and have said that they want to be “invisible” for the same reason. I appreciate their hearts and their humility.

Nonetheless, you can see how it would be hard to see how dancers could lead worship, since the goal is for leaders to be invisible. As dancers, our goal also is to point to the Lord and not to ourselves, but we use a visual art to do this.

In addition, the denomination operates under what is called the “regulative principle,” which basically states that we don’t incorporate anything in the worship service that is not expressly prescribed by scripture. So, if dance is to be incorporated in corporate worship, the Pastor and elders need to have solid theological grounds for doing so.

congregational danceDuring the discussion, my Pastor turned to me and asked,“If someone new came into our church and saw people dancing and asked, ‘Why?’, what would you tell them?”

He wasn’t asking, “Is it okay for Christians to dance?” or, “Can dance be used in evangelism in the community?” He felt secure that the answers to both of those were, “Yes.”

He was asking specifically, “Is dance appropriate in the sanctuary, in corporate worship? Continue reading “Why dance in church? Is it biblical?”