“Just my perspective” – Karen Kerr
OUR FOCUS – or why do we dance worship?
Expressing our love for Our Creator through gestures and movements sets us apart from the rest of creation. Every heart- given movement is honouring to the Father. Each response is unique and individual. He inhabits that praise and delights in our love, dancing over us with singing. Zephaniah 4:17
Corporate worship and ministering dance
The object of worship dance is to cause the worshippers to love the Father, Son and Holy Spirit through the medium of dance. As we take the focus of attention off ourselves and place our thoughts and emotions on loving The Lord, we will be hidden behind Him. As a channel, He can minister through the worship dance to meet many needs.
The world is looking for beauty, the most beautiful one is the Lord Jesus – the Lord of the Dance. The beauty of music and wholesome lyrics soften and break down the barriers that often encase our hearts. This leaves us pliable in the Master’s hands. Now we can change, grow, weep, receive a challenge, be corrected, rejoice and love one another without feeling threatened. Loving Him first and then each other fulfils the whole law. Deuteronomy 6:5 & Leviticus 19:18
Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
Job 40:10 “Deck yourself with majesty and dignity, clothe yourself with glory and splendour.” (Job is talking about the Lord here.)
Psalm 27:4 “One thing have I asked of The Lord, that I will seek after, inquire for and insistently require that I may dwell in the house of the Lord, in His Presence, all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty, the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness of the Lord and to meditate, consider and inquire in His temple.”
Psalm 90:17 “And let the beauty and delightfulness and favour of the Lord our God be upon us, confirm and establish the work of our hands, yes, the work of our hands confirm and establish it.”
Psalm 33:1 “Rejoice in the Lord oh you uncompromisingly righteous, you upright, in right standing with God, for praise is becoming and appropriate for those who are upright in heart.”
Responses to praise
Praise is becoming, it looks good on you. Like a beautiful garment, it suits you. Praise and worship is a vertical response to the initiative taken by the Father, who has already completed all things. The horizontal response to our brothers and sisters is servant-hood. Luke 7:47 “He who is forgiven much, loves much”. As praise dancers, being together in God’s presence week after week, being ministered to by the Holy Spirit, and by the music and movements, we can experience the healing we all need. NOTE: the dance does not bring the healing. (There is scientific evidence that when we move, a happy drug is released that causes that fulfilled feeling, whatever the sport or exercise. However, that alone will not bring about “whole” people)
A QUESTION: ARE YOU SURE DANCE SHOULD BE IN THE CHURCH?
If you take the time to do a word-study in Hebrew of the words: Praise, Joy, Dance, Worship, Thanks and Rejoice, you will find so many physical movements, which sadly the church moved away from, in its Gnostic thinking of earlier days. The joyful pattern of Davidic praise was replaced with quiet holiness and whispers near the sanctuary. For two thousand years the church set up its own pattern of worship excluding most of the demonstrative expressions. For example, the only word used for worship (shachah) has the explanation “To prostrate one’s self in honour” How many of us obey this command?
A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE ON DANCE TRAINING
We are not bound by the same standards of dance as the world, i.e. age, shape, height etc. Be careful of a “professional” approach. Each worshipper in movement has their own beauty and unique style. Envy is a great spoiler of God’s choice of gifting. It is very damaging in the body of Christ. There is no need of comparisons if one is confident in who you are and what you’ve been given.
ENVY AND JEALOUSY
There is nothing as destructive as envy. Often mistaken as jealousy, envy is described as a “discontented longing for something belonging to another that one cannot have”. When one understand that the talents and gifts are given by God, one should not resent, but praise Him for His choice in the blessings of others. Then encouragement and appreciation can freely flow, to build up that person and truly enjoy what they impart.
We are told in Deut 24:9 to remember what the Lord did to Miriam, when together with her brother Aaron, the high-priest, they coveted Moses’ anointing. Presuming they could minister in the same manner, Miriam paid a high price, contracting leprosy immediately in the Presence of God. Sadly much damage is done, friendships are broken, unity disrupted and fellowships split, through envy. Let us be bigger and give credit where it is due. Contentment in what God has imparted is beautiful.
Jealousy, on the other hand watches guardedly over something belonging to him or her. Example: God is Jealous over Zion, His people Israel. And a husband may be jealous over his wife if threatened by an outsider.
Often dancers come into Christian dance with wrong concepts and other baggage. These need to be brought under the spotlight of the Holy Spirit to be “cleaned up”. The spirit of competing against one another to be the best has no place in worship dance. Another emphasis wrongly assumed is perfection. It is good to try for excellence, but perfection is not even suggested by God, nor attainable. God loves all praise from everyone. Let this, alone, be liberating for us.
Remember: Art has the ability to draw our love away from the Creator and focus on itself. It is so easy to love the dance more than Him. This then, becomes an idol.
There are those that stay in the “me” and “me alone” syndrome and never fully submit themselves to the body of Christ. This unaccountability is dangerous and can lead to deception. God’s plan to present a spotless Bride to Himself has been done spiritually (on the cross), but there is still a lot of sanctification needed in each of us. Rubbing shoulders with the Body of Christ will show us where the work in us is needed!!(Ouch.) It is very healthy to give and to receive from one another. Many believers go through tough times in the local church environment. However, healing is crucial and forgiveness will prevent a bitter spirit taking root. ( suggested reading: The Bait of Satan by John Bevere)
We like to know we are achieving our goals. In each one of us there is the need for praise and recognition. But the mature person can say “Lord, You know” when it is not given. Be careful of your estimation of yourself. By putting others down we feel lifted up ourselves. By always needing to be right shows a lot of insecurity.
We all need to live out what we dance. Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I say”. Our choreography, dress code and choice of music need to have a sense of holiness (separation unto God) we profess to give to the Lord. We need to live out the rest of the week, what we minister on Sundays, or elsewhere. Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 “Guard your steps when you go to the House of God: to draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools: for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, or let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in Heaven, and you upon earth, therefore let your words be few.”
Beware of those who have their own motives and vision. Their influence can be disruptive in the group. There is such a thing as a strong, silent type that can cause factions and a breakdown of unity. In women, this is usually identified as a “Jezebel spirit”.
There are also those who will try to get their own way and always have the answer. The Bible tells us not to lord it over- one another.
A MINISTRY GROUP
Be selective – look for maturity in the spirit. A “good” dancer is not necessarily God’s choice for ministry
Develop gifts. Use a discerning spirit to identify your member’s talents in order to promote these. Adjustments with lots of praise can cause much growth.
Delegate-look for your second-in-command. Identify needs of the ministry, e.g. prayer covering, fund-raising, costume design and making, lighting, sound, props and backstage etc.
Finances- be careful to cover as much of the cost as possible, e.g. private petrol costs, telephone, costumes etc. An honorarium is quite in order to request to cover these.
A call to excellence – your members should have dedication as deserves any ministry. As one would get training in any other field so the dance should be treated. Just as an artist or musician receives training, so should the attitude of Praise dancers be to hone their “skill”. (To His Glory!)
I believe in servant-heartedness in all Godly leadership.
Just as God sets up any authority, you are called to yours. Be firm, yet fair with those around you, knowing that you are accountable far more than they are. Remember, leadership does not necessarily equal holiness.
BE FAITHFUL TO YOUR CALLING
Bearing the responsibility often makes you a punching bag. Build it back into your character. Be healed quickly. Keep short accounts and don’t be easily offended. (a very hard standard for all of us to aspire to!)
CONSIDER EACH MEMBER
Try to see the uniqueness and gifting of the dances in the group. Encouragement and appreciation will keep the unity and good spirit of the team.
Learn to laugh at yourself, it is healing medicine. A light-hearted training session, smothered with joy can be such an encouragement in these days.
Don’t try to do everything yourself. If you are blessed enough to have this help, learn to delegate, if not, pray and keep praying!!!
God has ordained covering in many stations in life. As women, it is right to have the correct protection in this ministry. It might be your husband or your pastor or an interested member of the congregation.
Ask for intercessors to pray for your group. So important to have this covering.
Pray over everything i.e. the selection of dances for a function, your choreography, choice of costumes, the various functions and venues you minister at, technical equipment, the dancers who will minister. Don’t rely on “goose bumps” and the praises of men, these are only momentarily satisfying. Far greater is the knowledge that the heart of the Father is pleased.
PS I have always seen our goal in Rejoice Dance Company as an opportunity to beautify the bride of Christ through the dance ministry. By the washing of the word and the work of the Holy Spirit we are changed day by day. The dance is merely the vehicle through which this process happens. But we as dance worshippers are privileged to enjoy this wonderful, creative journey with our Lord.
I welcome your comments, additions and responses. Feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org ( or email@example.com )