Full Version: introducing dance into your church
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Say your church is moving along, becoming more expressive in their worship and the leadership wants to start incorporating dance into the services. What are the best ways to do it? The worst ways?

I'll offer several scenarios for discussion. Please add more if you like. Comment on whatever you have thoughts on. Tell us what worked, and what didn't.<LIST>
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  • Just start encouraging dancing. Let people who feel "moved" to dance just do it as they feel led. Make a place in the back of the room so that they don't bother others who don't want to watch.</LI>

  • Get a kids group together and have them present something regularly. Have someone corral kids and lead them in follow-the-leader type motions for the praise songs. Eventually, adults will get the idea that they could be dancing too.</LI>

  • Appoint an "official" dancer, who presents solos and dances spontaneously when moved to do so.</LI>

  • Appoint a dance leader who will gather people the leader feels will make a good dance team and prepare them before unleashing them upon the congregation.</LI>

  • Have a big celebration and bring in some skilled and anointed dancers to model the kind of dance the leadership wants in the congregation.</LI>

  • Bring in an admired dancer (or dance group) to conduct a weekend workshop for those who want to explore & discern their calling to worship dance. Let the workshop leaders identify who should be part of the dance team, and maybe even the leader.</LI>

Comment on whatever points you have thoughts on. Tell us what worked for you or didn't work. I have some definite opinions on this subject which follow:

I think lots of churches could better handle the way dance is introduced into the congregation. Often times, it is believed that the children are the way to do it. "Let's get the kids to dance! They're so cute, everyone will be charmed and there won't be any controversy to deal with. Everyone will love it and we will become a church that loves to dance before no time!" Well, it's a nice dream....but flawed. For one, although it is charming to see children dance and worship, it can quickly become the ONLY dance model in a church. And, if only children are dancing, the rest of the church begins to see dance as a "children's activity". If that happens, there is very little chance the church will move on in dance ministry. Probably the strongest argument is the point of discipling. We are supposed to teach our children in the ways they should go, not the other way around. Our children will learn to express their worship in dance if they see the fathers & elders in the church modeling worship dance.

The only thing worse than expecting children to push open the gates of dance for us is to expect that you can give permission but no direction to dance expression. People need boundaries and leaders. Without them, people just are "doing their own thing"...which may on occasion, minister to others, but just as easily may be a distraction. The shepherds of our churches should be able to call upon their apostolic giftings and discern those called to be dance leaders in their congregation. It's really not that hard to spot someone who is gifted and called in this area. That person should be recognized and appointed and empowered to form whatever dance group can be formed in that congregation. If there is no one else but them, then they must model the way dance can illluminate and grace the worship service. Their example will awaken the giftings of others not yet recognized, and eventually, there will be others.

Have you guessed yet that I believe the best way to bring dance into a church is through modeling it? The model should be mature, seasoned, with an understanding of government and authority and who can bring that kind of presentation before the congregation. A congregational celebration is a perfect way to accomplish that. There is already an air of expectancy during a mountain-top time of "feast". And some well-placed, powerful dance offerings can cement in the congregation's spirit an appreciation for the power of dance to communicate scriptural truth and prophecy.

The weekend workshop is good too....but I would recommend that as something that happens AFTER a congregation is exposed to an effective dance ministry experience. The workshop could also culminate in a presentation time for the congregation to see their own people bringing a dance offering to the Lord.

I'm not saying that this is the only way it can work, but I do believe it is the best way. It is said that the people who check for counterfeit currency are trained by being exposed to countless REAL bills. They learn to recognize the counterfeits easily--not because they study what bad copies look like--but because they have come to be so familiar with the real thing. That's what I'm talking about here. Presenting people with the optimum, the most seasoned, mature, wise and humble ministers possible to introduce them to the worship dance medium.

I'm not claiming to be any kind of authority on this. However, over the years, I've seen churches try it all the different ways I've listed above, and I'm reporting here on what I've noticed seems to be successful and what has not. I'm interested to hear other thoughts about this too. Smile

The more Perfect way, LORD!