There is the intimate side of worshiping God through movement for the joy of it and to express love to Him.
And there is the more public side of leading others in worship and dancing in ministry, using the art of dance to to bring God’s message to people.
For the first aspect of worship dance, training is not necessary. It can enhance our joy in worshiping Jesus, but anyone can worship, regardless of their training. God gave us all bodies and He is pleased when we use them to express our love and commitment to Him.
For the second aspect of worship dance, training is important. It enables us to better communicate God’s word. It allows us to hold the attention of those to whom we hope to minister so that they can receive the message we have. And it gives us credibility which opens the door to serve.
For years I led others in worship dance, choreographed praise dance presentations, and eventually taught worship dance in a studio. For most of that time, I was self taught, or really Holy Spirit taught.
About 3 years ago, I came across Dancing for Him and read about their two year training course. My heart leapt. I wanted to take it.
As a dance teacher, I wanted a certificate that said that I was qualified to teach what I was teaching. And I wanted the confidence that comes from systematically studying dance and dance ministry.
I prayed about it for 2 years before God opened the door financially and in my schedule to enroll in the class.
As praise dancers, we can learn from the excellence with which these dancers present. As dancers who know Jesus, we have an important message to speak to them. As dance ministry leaders, if we want to reach youth and keep them dancing for Jesus (instead of giving their gifts and their selves away to the world), here are five things we need to heed:
Young people want to dance. There were 250 students in this performance. Clearly there is a need and a desire for dance leaders and teachers. If you have ever wondered if you are called to reach the youth at your church, take time to pray and listen for that call. There are young people out there who want to dance and are looking for an avenue to develop their gift. Will you help them?
We need to invest in our own training. There are skilled young dancers out there. If we want a voice in their lives, we need to take the art of dance seriously and invest in our own training. This does not mean we can not speak to them until we can outperform them with our technique. But we need to be growing, learning, and gaining skill. It is our anointing that ultimately will enable us to have an impact on their lives, but having skill gives us credibility as well as something to offer them.
What you are doing matters. These kids are going to use dance for good or for evil. If we have the chance to plant seeds for righteous dancing, it could change the trajectory of their lives as well as all the lives they will impact through dance.
Get boys into the act. Women bring beauty, passion, gentleness and refined strength to dance. Men bring strength, humor, power. We are, together, made in the image of God. Dance is more complete, more impactful when you have both men and women dancing. I’m speaking to myself before I’m speaking to anyone else. I’m in my comfort zone with women and young girls. They think like I do, and they dance like I do. It’s comfortable for me to reach them. But this year I’m going to make it my goal to learn to dance with men, to learn from them with the intent that I can bring boys into dance.
Give your dancers something awesome to wear. The kids I saw dancing must have had a ball changing from costume to costume. Their costumes were fun, beautiful, playful, sassy, exciting, and sometimes provocative, depending on the dance. Now, our standards are not the world’s standards, and we are going to teach our dancers to cover up. I said more about this in my earlier post. Even so, these kids, especially girls, want to look beautiful and feel special. In my children’s dance curriculum, I have a whole lesson on teaching kids the difference between empty (vain) dancing and full (worshipful) dancing. So I’m not talking about catering to their vanity. I’m talking about meeting their God-given desire to be lovely (for girls). You can choose modest garments that are also fun and flattering. Don’t ask them to dress in something that looks like a potato sack. Lucie Poirier says, in her book Dancing for the Endtime Harvest that we are to dance for “beauty and for glory.” For an excellent resource on praise dance garments, I highly recommend Jocelyn Richard’s e-book Garments of Glory.