Dancing to the Spoken Word

worship dance poetryIs it okay to dance without music?

While music and dance go hand in hand, using the spoken word without music can be very powerful, especially to tell a story, bring a word from the Lord, or to teach through your dance.

If you find a portion of scripture that jumps off the page to you, you don’t have to find a song about that scripture to use it to minister. You can put the spoken word to movement. Likewise, if you find a poem or quote that you think would speak powerfully to others, embodying it with movement can really bring the word to life.

In the video below, I dance to a portion of poetry from A Bride Made Ready by Wesley Scott Amos that gave me a powerful picture of Christ’s relationship with His church and with me.

Let me tell you a little about this inspired book.

I read A Bride Made Ready in two days but will meditate on it for a long time. This poetic book gave me a beautiful picture of what it means to be saved and cherished by Jesus and also to be part of what He has been doing in His Church over the millennia and will one day complete. The author presents theologically sound truths even as he touches the heart with the love story of Jesus and His Church.

I so appreciated that Amos roots his story and teaching in scripture. He holds together two vital truths: It is God who calls, justifies, and sanctifies and by His grace qualifies (Romans 8:30) us to be His and makes us beautiful. At the same time, we have a part in becoming ready for what He has called us to. We walk in faith, in response to His faithfulness; we work out our salvation in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12); we yield to His sanctification; and so we have a part in being made ready. Amos holds these two truths together in every verse of his poem.

The poem also touched my heart, as Amos tells the love story of Jesus and His bride. I was especially moved by the final chapter. In this chapter, Amos describes a scene when the Accuser points out the sin and failings of God’s people throughout history. In response to each accusation, the Lord describes how he sees each man and woman, highlighting deeds done in faith, perfected by Jesus. And these deeds touch His heart, making it swell with love. In each person, the Lord sees a foreshadowing of the great day when His perfected bride, the Church, will worship Him at the wedding feast. This made me love the Lord so much, that He would see such good in us and would make our halting obedience into a thing of great beauty and purpose.

If you would like to learn more about this book, you can find it here.

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.

Position your dance for greater impact in 2016

prophetic dance studySometimes you read a book and find it inspiring, but as soon as you finish it, you move on, doing life just as you did before you read it. You know there is truth in the book, but somehow those truths don’t work their way into your life. They don’t translate into action for you personally.

 

And then there are those books that change you. They are the ones you go back to and read more than once. They are the books that you share with your friends. They are the books that shape you and from which you can trace changes you made in your life that set you on a course for the better.

 

What makes the difference between the two books?

 

I think there are two things:

 

First, of course, is the quality of the message. Did the author have something to say that, when applied, has the potential to change your thinking and, beyond that, your life?

 

Second, you have to spend enough time to ingest what a book says. You need to reflect on how it relates to your life and your calling. You need to chew on what you read, talk about it, maybe write about it, and out of that, make decisions on how you will apply those revelations, how you will act on them.

worship dance tele seminar

Dancers! Assume the Position is a books with a message that can transform your thinking and your approach to dance ministry. I am finding that to be true for myself, and I’ve heard others say the same.

 

Here’s what a couple of others have written about it:

 

This book is more than thought-provoking. It has unbound my creativity and moved me to another level, while reinforcing what I knew about my purpose in dance. I will now use this book as required reading in my dance ministry workshops and teachings. – Loretta Green

 

As soon as I started  to read this book I didn’t want to put it down. It answered so many questions I was thinking. I had been praying for more direction and God led me to this book!….It’s a book you want to read over and over again. Annabel Taylor

 

We have the amazing opportunity to study this book with the author. We have the chance to digest it, to ask questions of the author as we read, to ask questions of ourselves, to apply it to our own situation and calling, and ultimately, we have the chance to let God reshape us, redirect us, and set our course for 2016 and beyond.

 

I invite you to join me as I host Marlita Hill as she teaches from this book, beginning next Saturday, January 30. This will be a four part class, the first class of which is free.

 

In this class, you will:

 

•Construct a clear picture of the dancer’s ministry

•Identify how ministry is worked through dance

•Learn to collaborate with God in the various areas of your ministry, including songs choices, choreography, and ministry opportunities

•Clearly trace what the dancer contributes to God, the individual, the congregation, and the body of Christ

•Identify the mindset necessary for effective ministry

•Draw a clear distinction between the activity of dance and ministering through dance, so that God can minister through you, unhindered, and in the fullness of His power.

Ultimately, you will fortify your assignment for 2016 with the support and encouragement of a seasoned teacher and fellow dancers.

So, I hope you will join me. You don’t need a plane ticket. You don’t need to reserve a hotel, rent a car, or leave your family for the weekend. You simply need to dial in (or connect in through the internet) for 2 hours on Saturday, January 30 (and the next 3 Saturdays, if you take the full course)

I’m excited to be able to offer this to you and hope you will take advantage of it.

register free teleseminar
Click to register

 

Recap: When the Spirit Moves Dance Concert

I was blessed to participate in the When the Spirit Moves Dance Concert at Victory Baptist Church this past Sunday. It was an awesome evening and such an honor to be a part of.  Thanks to Valerie Toliver and her team from Highest Praise Dance who organized the evening with excellence, the perfect blend of order that comes from careful planning, and freedom that comes from humbly being open to the Spirit of God. You made space for Him, and He came and blessed all who were there.

I want to share with you four ways where I saw His fingerprints on the event and to share the video of the dance we shared.

For those of you who prayed for this event, thank you so much. Here are some places where we saw His fingerprints on the event. Continue reading “Recap: When the Spirit Moves Dance Concert”

Training that Equips and Transforms

Pasadena dance workshopToday I’m celebrating a huge milestone and want to share the joy with you. I also want to give you a window into an incredible training experience for worship dancers that is available to you no matter where you live: The Dancing for Him Online Training School.

This week, I completed my final assignment for Level 2 of Dancing for Him’s Online Training School. Yippee!!! Hooray!!! Thank you, Lord!!  Happy dance!

This completed two years of study, creativity, fellowship and transformation for me. I am so grateful that the Lord enabled me to take this course, and I’m leaving it with a Worship Dance Teacher’s Certificate and a Dance Minister’s Certificate of License.

I can only begin to outline the benefits. Continue reading “Training that Equips and Transforms”

What I learned about planning a Praise Dance Camp

summer praise dance camp collageWe just finished a fabulous week of Praise Dance Camp in Pasadena. I’m so grateful for the week, for your prayers, and for how the Lord worked.

Read on as I share four things I learned about planning a summer praise dance camp for children and to watch a 4-minute video recap of the week. Continue reading “What I learned about planning a Praise Dance Camp”

Leading a Congregation in Movement

leading corporate movementThe Unity in Motion DVD is for the dance ministry leader who wants to take his or her congregation beyond being spectators to invite them to participate in movement. Pastor Lynn gives practical instruction for leading in a way that makes it inviting and easy for a congregation to follow. The exercises are also great to help a dance team learn to dance in unity and create spontaneous, unified movements.
Here, I share a 7 minute tutorial of concepts from the DVD.

Continue reading “Leading a Congregation in Movement”

Worshipful Stretching Routine for Praise Dancers

Stretching tutorial
Click image for more information

Do you want to be more flexible?

Do you want to improve your dancing?

Do you want to prevent injuries?

Do you want to worship while you do this?

The Stretch and Adoration DVD by Pastor Lynn Hayden will help you do all of these. It’s a wonderful tool for the praise dancer. I’m using this DVD twice weekly as part of my studies in the Dancing for Him teacher certification class. I love it.

Read my review below to learn more and enjoy this short stretching tutorial in which I demonstrate one of my many favorite stretching segments from the DVD: Continue reading “Worshipful Stretching Routine for Praise Dancers”

Add Variety to your Choreography by Varying Stage Positions

This exercise, inspired by the Divine Choreography DVD by Dancing for Him is a great exercise to use with your team or dance class to see how something as simple as varying your position on the stage can add interest and variety to your choreography. Continue reading “Add Variety to your Choreography by Varying Stage Positions”

Sometimes You Have to Get Out of the Way

Sometimes you have to get out of the way to see what another person/other people can do. I’ve been leading the dance ministry team at my home church for the past 11 years. Today my husband and I had our last Sunday at this church he/we planted 11 years ago and the church gave us a “farewell” reception. It was incredible – more than I expected, certainly more than I deserved. One friend shared a poem she wrote for us, another a funny and meaningful song about our family and ministry, another prepared a slide show, others shared stories and words of encouragement. Each one was moving, precious, inspiring. What floored me, though, was what the dance team shared. Continue reading “Sometimes You Have to Get Out of the Way”