I've seen it all, from lyrical dances with young girls flipping and showing their unmentionables, to exotic dancers on the altar. I've seen groups performing to a song that is talking about the Lord with not even one movement created to direct the person watching the dance to the Lord. Sitting here I've stopped watching them as the first seconds started. Over and over, disappointment filled me as I looked for those who have taken what so many of us, years ago, pushed through in order to get it accepted and allowed in the church.
What then is Praise and Worship Dance? What is acceptable and what isn't? Can all music be used as well as any style of dance? What labels me any authority on the subject and what qualifies me to have any say on what is right or wrong?
In my experience, Praise and Worship Dance is one more tool in your ministry bag that can be used to reach the multitudes for the Lord. Just as a pastor, an evangelist,a minister and mouthpiece of God's Word carefully prays and seeks the Spirit of God to guide the message, the words to be shared and even the scripture to be used to minister, so the dancer- a vessel of the Lord, using not their voice but their entire being to bring forth a Word for the soul that needs restoration, healing and to experience God's joy! The dancer for the Lord prays and seeks to represent God and His will, not their own talent (although there is truly a great diverse of gifted and anointed dancers out there). The one who moves to music under God's anointing is mindful that they can be used to minister to those who are watching. The dance is a moment of intercession, fighting on behalf of a group, or a declaration of faith, a moment of rejoicing and jubilation. All is done remembering that "In Him we live and move and have our being."
I strongly believe that although I've seen great dances to many kinds of music, I personally would not use any kind of music that is so worldly that my focus is not the Lord and that the persons watching me would be lost in interpretation of what I am doing or who I am doing it for. Music should be carefully chosen as well as the lyrics. Our message as dancers are to lead others to know that Christ is risen in us and we have a reason to use our bodies for something heavenly and pure. Many young people have taken the whole dance concept of dancing in church and put together performances that are, in my opinion, confusing.
There is so much of what the world teaches us to feel in dance, that the message is no longer the cross or God's love. The eyes are taken to the exotic movements, the body moves in an inappropriate manner, and we are lost trying to imitate the world. Of course, when we're learning, we will make mistakes, but we need to be careful with everything we do. How we dress can be a big distraction as well. So, see the music, the lyrics and each movement dancers are putting together as their sermon. What is the message you want to bring out? What do you want people to receive when they see you? Do they see you or do they see God in you and through you? Do they want to join you when you're dancing and celebrating?
Am I an expert? Nope. There is nothing in me, except God's mercy to use an old street dancer, an old wanna be dancer, who loved to dance and found her joy through expressing herself in the movement and in the music. I am the biggest pretender because my training comes from just sitting with music and letting the words give me the expression, the movement and the message. I am the least among so many trained and authorized to teach. But, I also know what it is like to be inspired by the Lord to create. I know what it's like to feel God's presence when I pray and move to music that is bringing forth healing and a message of deliverance. I may not have a degree in dance, but I have experienced deliverance, God's peace and God's love in my life when I've been broken, hurting, and needed Him.
I know what it's like to share a desire to use
the arts in church and be told you're in sin. I know what it's like to begin to follow your heart for the Lord and have doors close because you're told that you're in the flesh, working for the devil and a bad example to the youth. I know what it's like to sense the Lord telling me, "Dance!" and not be able to just get up and worship Him. I know what it's like to pray and see the Lord move in the lives of people as I've danced and visa versa.
This is why I am broken when I see churches allow whatever goes and flows on their altars. Where is the prayer and the lives seeking the Lord of the dance? Where is the focus on God's Kingdom and not on us? Where is the protection for these young girls who are dancing and no one tells them to dress properly? The church is full of people who need Jesus. Why would we think we don't need to cover and protect our dancers? Is everyone holy and sanctified in the pews? Then, let us pray even for holy garments regardless is you wear professional or handmade garments, or jeans and a hoodie to dance, let all we do and wear represent the Lord and his glory in our lives.
As I sit here, I am most aware that in a few days I am responsible for sharing God's message through the dance. It is a message I must prepare, a word of hope for someone that will come hungry for the Lord or maybe someone who just needs to be filled with the Lord's love. I pray that as many dancer get ready to minister for the holidays in their congregations that they remember, we are bringing forth a message straight from God's heart to the world. Let us pray and pray until we are sure we have the right song. Seek the Lord over what you should or should not wear. It makes a difference. Pray for the Lord to guide you in all you do. We don't need to imitate anyone. If you can take dance lessons or be part of a class, that's awesome! I also know and have experienced the Lord give me what I need.
I pray you will take my advice to heart and surrender your heart, your body and your talents to the Lord. Let Holy Spirit flow in you and through you.
Lord, guide your dancers, your ministers of music and dance this holiday season. Let the altars be filled with anointed movement and lives that are surrendered to you. Lord, I pray for your presence to fill those groups that will dance for you. I pray that you will open their eyes to see what being a minister of dance is all about. I pray that people would not be carried away with flags, streamers and all the pretty stuff, but that they would wisely use items for pageantry. I pray that you would raise dancers that would boldly move, fearlessly taking back what you created in us, and showing that dance is part of your design as well. Let us dance as David danced. Give us victory and bless every dancer, in Jesus name. Amen.
Written By Angeline M Duran Santiago
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