Thursday, January 31, 2008

Short Circuit

There have been times in dance ministry over the years that I have danced on "the circuit." At the time, I did not realize it, but I dance on many programs with the SAME groups, SAME dancers, SAME emcees, SAME programs, SAME song. Although I was familiar (comfortable) with the churches, programs, and events, I did not want to hear my name called out from the audience just because someone out there was familiar with me.

I began to desire to expand my circle and meet new people. I was blessed to travel to and teach at dance and worship conferences outside of my area and met many wonderful people. Over the years, I again found myself on "the circuit." SAME groups, SAME dancers, SAME emcees, SAME programs, SAME song.

What this has taught me is to keep my eyes and ears open as the Lord directs me into new areas, leads me to new people, and presents new opportunities. I am grateful for the long term relationships that He has given me, but I am open to new circles of influence. When I begin to see a pattern of staying the same, I realize that it is time to step into another place in Him.

Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Taking the Stage

As movement ministry influence continues to expand, many doors are opening for dance to be in the spotlight. Large public gatherings are calling for dancers from various churches and communities to unite together in the name of the Lord Jesus. Collaborative efforts bring about fellowship among many dance ministries as choreography and garments reflect them unified on one accord.

The theatrical stage is becoming a common arena for dance ministry recitals and public concerts of movement. Lighting, backdrops, sets and props add elements of visual depth that can greatly assist the understanding of the message, if used correctly. Challenges for the newcomer to the stage may include a sense of disconnect from the viewing audience, as well as the sheer volume of space to cover compared to a pulpit or platform.

With practice and innovation, the theater can be a great place to experience worship. When we view the lights, scenery, and auditorium as a canvas, we can open up to so many new possibilities in the movement ministries. Let the Lord continue to show you vivid portrayals of His Word, and then allow Him to take you beyond the confines of your own imagination.

The following is a video excerpt from Called 2 Dance(TM), recently featured on the Word Network in their own television series on liturgical dance. GLORY!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Name Calling

Biblical names are full of meaning, and are often prophetic. There were times when people named their offspring, and then the Lord would give them a new name to reflect their true destiny. When we name our ministries, it is important to seek the Lord's instruction.

If you are a dance ministry that ministers primarily at your home church, this does not automatically mean that you should be named "ABC Church Dance Ministry." Remember: names are prophetic, so if you are named after a church building, then in essence, you are saying that you will only dance inside of those four walls...

We are all fearfully and wonderfully made in Him. If the Lord has chosen us to minister before His people, He will give us a name that speaks to our assignment as a ministry. We should never feel that it's too late to start again.

What's in a name? Prophecy, purpose, and proclamation.

Isaiah 43:1
[The Redeemer of Israel] But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hired Hands

Impeccabble technique, exquisite make-up, and a toned body does not qualify one as a movement minister. Invitations to dance in mega-churches, on TBN, and in stadiums does not signal an "arrival," or stamp of approval from the Lord. The enemy understands the power of the dance. Some platforms will expose the true state of our connection to Christ.

I long to see dancers who are granted such large platforms who truly understand the ministry of dance. If the presentation brings more attention to the antics of the dancers than the featured singer, praise team, choir, or the message of the song, then we have to ask ourselves, "What is the motivation behind this?" We must be careful not to "dance for a dollar," or allow ourselves to be seduced to shake our "Holy Ghost money-makers."

Is the love of money allowing us to compromise decency and truth for the sake of popularity and exposure? Are you wearing garments to dance in that would cause the mirror to blush? There are some people who have yet to experience the power of God through a dance rendering. As long as we continue to treat dance as a showcase instead of a ministry, the movie and television industries will continue to promote the entertainers over the true servants of the Lord.

Acts 8: 20-23 (NKJV)
But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”

Sunday, January 27, 2008

May I Take Your Order?

As prayerful and discerning as we may be, we cannot make assumptions when we go out to minister in dance. We must "survey the land," so to speak, and inquire about where we are going, so that we will be effective when we get there. When visiting another church, find out if there are any restrictions on attire, where you can and cannot dance (is the pulpit area off limits?), and what kind of sound system will be in place. Allow the Lord to lead you regarding what you should ask in advance.

We do not want anything to hinder our ability to deliver the Word through movement. It's a good practice to know the order of the house, and sometimes the order of service when we go out. There have been times when I requested not to dance right before offering, because it was a worship piece. Experience has taught me that worship will be quickly doused for the money collection ritual.

This also applies to international travel. Knowing the customs and traditions of a country helps us to not be offensive to the locals. Although we do not adopt the practices of nations that are not Christian, we want to make sure that we have an opportunity to make an impact for the Kingdom.

Proverbs 11:30 (NKJV)
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Publicity Stunts

The entertainment world does it all the time. Relationships are manufactured to create publicity for one or more people in an effort to gain popularity, address rumors, or to promote an upcoming release. The same thing is happening in the church.

Dance ministries are hooking up with Jesus in name, but deep down they are really looking for a platform to showcase themselves. Some dancers never have a personal conversation with the Lord, yet claim to know him in front of the congregation. Some even claim to be in love with Jesus, but pass telephone numbers and text messages to that attractive person across the aisle. Some even go home right after dancing to commit sin on a regular basis.

Making a name for ouselves and using the dance ministry to benefit our selfish desires is not what we are commissioned to do. If your desire is only for fame, popularity, financial gain, and a seat with the "best of the best," by all means, go for it. Please, just leave Jesus out of it...

He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men

(Mark 7:6-7)

Friday, January 25, 2008

All God's Children

We can never underestimate the ability of children to experience the power of God. Countless children's dance groups stand before the congregation week after week, but it is obvious that they are not expected to know the Lord for themselves. I remember worshipping the Lord at at very early age. Not only was I expected to understand the Word when I was young, but to do it as well.

We are to train up children in the way that they should go. It breaks my heart to see so many of our youth dancing in the name of Jesus, but doing movements in the sacntuary from BET and MTV. I have heard crowds cheer loudly when the children incorporate the latest dance craze in their "ministry" presentation. What message does this send to our children?

I am a living witness that young people (and adults) can be taught to praise and worship God from a place of truth. In this world that we live in, we must no longer teach our children to be hypocrites- dancing about a God they do not know. Let us begin a new training season in the lives of our children.

"O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works." Psalm 71:17 (NKJV)

Enjoy this video from the Victory Praise Dancers.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Perfect in Weakness

There are mountains and valleys as we journey along in ministry. When I first started dancing for the Lord, nothing could hinder me from the vision that He planted in my spirit. As the years have gone by, I have been hurt, abandoned, mistreated, unappreciated, and the like by fellow brothers and sisters in the Body.

I cannot say that these things have not affected me, but I have learned to forgive and move on. My desire is to please the Lord. He has brought healing in my life by reminding me to never forget the reason why He called me to ministry. There are places that He is still repairing, but there are already some areas that He has given me strength. The Lord instructed me to be faithful over the areas where He has already made me strong.

I committed to writing each and every day. Since then, many doors have opened, miracles have taken place, and the weaker areas in my life are now being strengthened as I continue to stay the course. He tells us that if we are faithful over a few things, He will make us ruler over much!

Are you struggling in some areas in your life that need discipline? Focus on the areas that He has made you strong and it will begin to flow over into every area of your life. Trust the Lord and know that His strength is made perfect in weakness.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Singled Out

There was a time when I danced with a group, and then with a partner. I was so excited as I watched choreography coming together and witnessed the handiwork of the Lord in rehearsals. I looked forward to the instant feedback from the ministry and was confident that the pieces we danced to were "anointed" and "powerful."

I was reminded that the Lord wants me to depend on no one else but Him. I stepped out as a soloist after years of dancing with and teaching groups. I no longer had a group of cheerleaders to pat me on the back and admire my teaching skills. In fact, I never envisioned myself dancing alone when I decided to dance for Him. Suddenly, it was just me and God.

My confidence in my own abilities began to fade and I found myself praying each and every time that various solo pieces would indeed minister to the people. It's been four years since I have been dancing alone and the Lord has faithfully shown His hand on the ministry as I have continued to move in Him. There are challenges that solo dancers face that are unique and much different than dancing with a group. The Lord is now opening the doors for me to dance both with a group and alone, but I have truly learned to trust in Him. He has in turn directed my path.

Here is a video compilation of solo Dance Minister Jocelyn Richard. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Identity Theft

Some people do not even realize that they are stealing. It's one thing to use choreography with permission, but it's another to make a practice of incorporating ideas from someone else and presenting them as our own. It's also dangerous to blatantly copy everything that we admire about our fellow dancers.

After dancing a few years back, I had a lady call me on the telephone who informed me that she had taped our dance and wanted to know the song title and artist. Her direct quote to me was "I am going to teach that piece to my girls!" I was shocked to say the least. I have also had people teach pieces recently that I have choreographed without first asking permission, and then inform me about it afterward. I have no problem granting permission for choreography use, but it could get sticky if I were to show up and dance and my piece looked all-too-familiar...

It's great to be inspired by each other. The Bible tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. We have all been influenced directly or indirectly by someone else. We are also reminded in the Word that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. He did not make every flower look the same. We are all uniquely appointed to carry out His work. Let us continue to rely on the Lord for our choreography, garments, song selection, and leading. We can never go wrong when we are inspired by Him.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Have Some Class!

Many dance ministries still overlook the importance of having a solid knowledge of the basics. There are many ways that we can educate ourselves regarding our craft so that we are authentic and respected. The most important aspect is that all dancers are saved and have a grasp on what the Bible has to say about dance. King David is not the only person who danced in the Bible, yet many dancers still know little beyond this.

There are many books, DVDs, and websites that can provide assistance concerning biblical principles, technique, and networking. Doing a simple internet search with the words "praise dance" will direct you to several sites with information. Research community dance classes in your area to see how you can improve your technique and choreographic abilities. Dance class opens up the door for us to meet fellow dancers and be able to share the option of dancing for the Lord with them.

We cannot soley rely on the opinions and revelation of others. When we study for ourselves, we will be able to stand firmly and move forward in the confidence of the Lord. It is very hard to convince someone if we don't know what we are talking about. We must make a committment to be doers of the Word.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Before and After

It's not all about what we do when we are dancing before people. What we do before and after ministry has a very significant impact on how we are received. The authenticity of our ministries comes into question in the before and after.

Before Ministry: Are we on time for our ministry engagements? Is our music cued and have we greeted the sound person and thanked him or her for assisting us? Do we carry our garments stuffed in a trash bag, or are they clean and neat? Are we expecting the "best seats in the house" or celebrity treatment? Are we supportive of other ministries during a gathering, or are we focused only on what we are to do? Do we smile at people who may stare at our garments in wonder? Are we having inappropriate conversations that others may overhear? (Did you remember to turn your cell phone off?)

After Ministry: Do we leave early due to overbooking, or to get a bite to eat? Are we leaving trash in the bathroom, seats, or changing areas? Do we put on clothes after dancing that negate the message we are trying to convey? Are leaders and soloists prepared with business cards when approached by people for ministry information? Again, are we having inappropriate conversations that others may overhear? What music is playing in your vehicle when you start it that may be heard in the parking lot?

There are many factors of the "before and after" that impact our ministries. We must remember that it is not about the actual "performance," but about the truth of the Word of God being demonstrated in all that we do.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Here's Looking at You

I was once conducting a dance rehearsal, and I did an exercise in which I asked the group to demonstrate various expressions in front of mirrors. When one of the last dancers came forward, she replied with her head down, "I can't..." Because of the way she saw herself, she could not comfortably face herself in the mirror.

Taking a look at ourselves helps us to improve. We should make a habit of taping our movement presentations and then watch them to discover ways we can enhance the work. Even professional athletes watch games in which they have played to see where improvements can be made. Look at pictures of yourself in motion. Are your hands and feet in the right places? Do you look angry when you are dancing to the word "rejoice"?

DVDs and photos have greatly helped me "clean up" some choreography and continue to present excellent in movement. Rehearsing in front of mirrors also helps tremendously, but when we see ourselves in action in an actual setting, we can see where changes may need to be made. Don't be afraid to face the fact that many of us are still learning and growing. One of my favorite inspirational scriptures is Proverbs 22:29 "Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men." (NKJV)

The following is a video that I have enjoyed time and again. Take a look...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Repeat After Me...

At one time or another in our dance ministry journey, we may have selected songs that made us feel good. These songs were inspirational, uplifting, and had us feeling good about ourselves. As we study the Bible and learn more about rightly dividing the Word, we then begin to realize that all songs used for ministry MUST line up with the Word of God.

A few popular songs come to mind. Kirk Franklin's "More Than I Can Bear," states that "He'll never put more on me than I can bear." The Word does not actually say this (I know your Pastor/Bishop/Prophet may have said this several times over the pulpit, but it's not in there). The Bible actually says, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (I Corinthians 10:13) I do not see where is says that God will "put" any of this on us. He causes all things to work together for good.

I have also seen R. Kelly's (yes) "I Believe I Can Fly" danced in the sanctuary. We know that, "..they shall mount up with wings as eagles..." but this song was written for a basketball movie starring Michael Jordan. It is about the idea of flying through the air before making a slam dunk. Many of us have heard Vickie Winans sing "Long As I Got King Jesus (I Don't Need Nobody Else)." In Genesis 2:18 "The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Yes, we definitely need Jesus, but Jesus came here for mankind, not for Himself.

OK... From now on, we will listen closely to see if each song that we dance to is in harmony the Word of God... and also examine who the song is magnifying (us or God). Do not be afraid to step away from anything you find is lacking the true Word of God.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Chain Reaction

We must set at liberty those who are captive. A person does not have to be behind bars to be imprisoned. When we are ministering before the Lord and in front of His people, there should be a change in the atmosphere of the mind, body, and spirit. The yoke is destroyed because of the anointing. We are merely wasting precious time without it.

When we select songs to dance to, we should earnestly seek the Lord each and every time concerning what He wants to say to His people. A true encounter with the Lord is always life-changing. Ask Abraham. Ask Moses. Ask Paul. Ask me.

My prayer is that anything that would hinder the observer from rejoicing, praising, and worshipping the Lord would be obliterated when we minister in dance. When we are in step with the Holy Spirit, the Word will manifest right before our eyes. Let's not forget that we are on assignment. We are reminded to consider those who are captive in Colossians 4:18... "I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Crown the Winner

We are trained in the natural to want to win. Winning usually means that someone else loses. In school, spelling bees, cheerleading competitions, and student body elections condition us to want to be the best, or to select the best out of those vying for the crown.

Some of us bring that same mentality to the dance ministry. Dance concerts are often competitions to determine the "Most Anointed," "Best Dancer," or "Most Glorious Garments." We must make a concerted effort to magnify the Lord when groups of dancers come together.

How can we do this? Maintain an atmosphere of love by greeting one another (speak and smile). Stay during the entire event and support the other ministries on program. Be approachable and sincerely humble. It is also a good exercise in selflessness to support dance events in which we are not scheduled to dance. My prayer is that concerts, services, conferences, and other dance events are presented in such a way as to spread the gospel and dwell together in unity.

Check out the following video entitled "Praisers." Be patient as it take a little while to start... (Smile)...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Hairy Situation

The Lord does nothing "just because." His workings are very precise and purposeful. When we demonstrate the Word through movement, all that we do should line up with His attributes.

Hair can be a distraction in a ministry piece if the style does not match the presentation. Hair that sticks to the face wet with sweat may not necessarily be a bad thing, if the message is showing struggle or a radical praise. It may be a hinderance if the dancer's hair is moving more than the dancer (smiling) and becomes the focus of the piece unintentionally.

If you dance with a group, it would be great to be on one accord when choosing what style appropriately fits the message. Bright red hair (or purple- or blue- or pink), mohawks, mullets, and artwork shaven in the head may get more attention than is needed. Let's make sure to let nothing get in the way of our service to the Lord.

After all, He knows the number of hairs on our heads.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Talent Show

In the parable of the talents, all those who were given talents were asked to give an account, or showing of what they did with what was given when the master returned. Everyone does not have the same talents. We do not all dance, mime, or move the same way. There seems to be a growing sector of opinion in the dance that says that if you are not formally trained, you are not called to dance.

Do not let the traditions of man hinder you from giving an account for the gifts and talents that God gave you. Did King David take required dance classes before he danced before the Lord with all of his might? Did Miriam take ballet? I am sure that both understood that the dances they did had purpose and glorified God. This matters more than training.

I have seen trained dancers with no demonstration of the knowledge or the power of God. I believe that dance classes help with safety, movement vocabulary, and knowledge of the mechanics of movement. I have taken Ballet and African dance classes as an adult. Ballet, Modern Dance, Jazz, and African are only a few ways to praise him in the dance. The following video reminds us that we can use all of our talents and give an account for them upon the Lord's return.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It Makes Scents

The last things we want people to remember about our dance ministries is the way we smell. We are presenting our bodies to the Lord, and we are ministering in close proximity to His people. There is no excuse for poor hygiene, especially when we use our bodies as an instuments forthe Gospel.

Everyone's body chemistry is not the same. There may be times that we have to minister and have not had a chance to shower immediately before ministry. We can be prepared by packing a washcloth (in a resealable plastic bag), baby wipes, deodorant, breath mints, lotion, perfume/cologne (but not too much!), and other items as needed. It is also important to make sure that our ministry garments are clean and fresh.

Let nothing hinder us from delivering an effective message. Clean hands, clean feet, and clean faces (provided it fits the ministry message), go a long way when coming into contact with people. Let's remember to take care of the temples that He gave us.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How to be a Good Housekeeper

A house divided against itself cannot stand. If you are experiencing division, strife, and disunity in your dance ministry, deal with it. We must have clean hands and pure hearts. How can two walk together unless they agree? It is very difficult to worship in spirit and in truth, when the truth is that we have a problem.

Jealousy, envy, pride, and self-importance are just a few factors that can contribute to division among us. We cannot continue to ignore the problem and wish that it will go away. If you know that you have a problem with someone, or if you know that they have a problem with you, read Matthew 18:15-17. Go to them (after prayer for direction), and try reconcile. Make every effort to keep the house clean.

When we are on one accord, it will show in our rehearsals, ministry assignments, and daily lives. Make every effort to keep peace. Do not let the enemy come in and distract you from getting the Gospel message delivered. It is good and pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Real Celebrity

It's natural for people to want to feel a sense of importance in the eyes of others. Our committment is that the Lord is the ultimate "star" in our eyes. Internal fighting is present amongst auxiliaries that want to raise the most money, be the most anointed, have favor with the Pastor, be requested by the congregation... etc.

Beautifully crafted dance garments, applause, and compliments can become our focus if we are not careful to give all glory to God. We cannot aim to "work the crowd" as we are dancing publically. Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32) Our ministries must draw people to Jesus, not ourselves.

Our garments cannot be to pretty to be touched. Our demeanors must not turn people away. Our conversations before and after ministry are being overheard. Our lifestyles are being noted. Let's make sure that we are lifting the name of Jesus, and not trying to make a name for ourselves.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

An Audience of One

I often hear dancers speak of being nervous during a ministry presentation. I have witnessed dancers forget choreography, laugh, or get frustrated while moving in front of a congregation. Some dancers adjust garments while dancing due to self-concisouness or embarrassment (not enough coverage). We must remember that we are dancing before the Lord Himself.

Rehearsals should be treated the same way. Worship, praise, and expression through movement starts long before an audience is present. If the dance is for the Lord, the dance will also magnify Him in our private rehearsal times. Our lives must match the message we are conveying.

What is done privately will show up publically. Our lack of rehearsal, prayer time, and preparation must not result in a "Lord, bless this mess" situation. What we present must be pure and set apart exclusively for the Lord so that we may witness the Word manifesting before our eyes. Lives WILL be changed. Souls WILL be delivered.

The following video is a solo by Clarissa Stroud, Artistic Director of Master's Movement Liturgical Dance Company. Preparation, prayer, practice....

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Behold, I Do a New Thing

It's time to take inventory. Examine the songs and choreography in your repertoire and seek the Lord. Are all of the songs that you currently dance to a "word in season?" Do you find yourself doing the same movements for "love," "Jesus," and "rejoice?" If so, it's time to do a new thing.

When I first started praise dancing, many of our songs and movements were about battles. A praise dance classic is "The Battle is the Lord's" by Yolanda Adams. I have seen that song SO many times over the past ten years. The Lord then transitioned us from being "praise dancers" to "worship dancers." Many of our songs in that season were slow, very personal, and emotional.

The Lord has made another transition with me as I began to embrace dance as a bonafide ministry. I seek Him as to what He would have me minister to a particular group of people. I no longer do the same songs for every occasion. I am often told after I minister in dance that the song that I select matched the theme of a gathering, even when I was not aware of the theme beforehand.

As dancers, we too must deliver a word in season. Your favorite song may not be what the Lord wants to say to His people. Pray and ask the Lord to show you what pieces to keep, and what dances need to be retired for your ministry this season.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Not Unto Us

I have received several requests to provide training from dance ministries in need of mentoring. I have a passion to teach and assist the worship arts community to succeed in their specific area of calling from the Lord.

Several years ago, a dance ministry that I was mentoring danced at a public outreach event. One of my friends in the dance ministry commented, "They look JUST like you!" I was immediately convicted. I realized that the point of mentoring is not to make people like you, but to assist them in becoming what God has designed them to be.

I have one of the wisest women in the world for a mentor. She is not a worship artist, published author, or millionaire. What she has given me has made me rich in substance. I will always remember an important bit of wisdom she shared with me: "I will share my experiences with you. You do not have to be like me. Listen to the Lord and follow Him."

In leading others, be careful not to take the credit for what the Lord is doing in their lives. We are being transformed into the image of Christ, not of each other.

Monday, January 7, 2008

So, What You Sayin?

The message must be clear. We cannot just slap the name of Jesus on something and call it "Christian." All that we do should be to the glory of God. When you choose songs to dance to or select choreography, be careful of the motivation behind it. A right relationship with God and a prayer life will help you see your real self and make corrections where needed.

Some people select songs based on emotions. Others select movements that will allow them to showcase skills in ballet, modern, mime, or hip- hop. I have been blessed to see some contemporary movement ministers who no doubt are inspired by the Spirit. I am not picking on the hip-hop persuasion. Everyone who says "Lord, Lord," does not automatically equal a believer in Christ.

In the video below, please take a look and ask honestly who is being glorified here. If the arts are to be restored to the proper place in the church and in the world, then we must definitely demonstrate the Power and Glory of the Lord.

This video was labeled under the "Praise Dance" category... I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sloppy Agape

If I see one more bra strap (pick a color... any color) while I am sitting and observing a dance presentation, I may just shout (for all the wrong reasons). What is it about the church in the traditional sense that makes dancers think that dance garments should look like something from the 1800s? I am weary with seeing so many sloppy, shoddy, flimsy garments as part of dance ministry presentations. When you know better, you must do better.

I often receive catalogs with "liturgical" dance wear that is often made of material that leaves little to the imagination when worn alone. I own a few of these basics (see picture above), but will wear them with a beautiful overlay and skirt for modesty and to match the message I am trying to convey. It may not be easy to find a seamstress or tailor that will make custom garments, but with a little research, you can purchase durable garments that will not cause the deacons on the front row to look away from you in ordered to stay saved.

Study.... Pray... Consult the Lord regarding garment styles and colors. The presentation of the message is half of the battle. Don't do yourself or the ministry a disservice by dancing in garments that hinder instead of help.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Through Thick and Thin

Many make New Year's resolutions to lose weight (once again). I have struggled with my weight since childhood, and let me tell you, it has not been easy. In dance ministry, heavier dancers are often not taken seriously, talked about, and ridiculed. Unfortunately, much of this criticism also comes from within the dancer who may be struggling.

I have been on both the thin side and the thick side of dance ministry. I am on the thick side now (smile), but am working to bring things back "in order" with improved nutrition and exercise. Thank the Lord that I have not stopped dancing just because I am bigger. (I admit that I tried to convince myself to... but the Lord sent several people to minister to me and pull me through). I encourage you that if you are stuggling in this area, dance your way through to the glory of God.

Yes, it is easier to minister on the lighter side. I am not out of breath or lightheaded when my weight is under control. I must remind myself that "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1- KJV

It's time to WALK by faith.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Ministry of Movement

Elitism is beginning to run rampant in the praise dance world. Networks, memberships, and organizations abound. Many dance mentoring programs are popping up throughout the world. Though these can be good if intentions are pure, if used for the wrong purposes, they can cause great harm. You must first be validated by the Lord who orders your steps.

There is the argument of the trained vs. the untrained dancer. There are pros and cons to both. I believe that you must know who you are called to. If you are to impact the professional world of dance for the Kingdom, then training is a must. All bodies are not made for ballet. This does not mean that you do not have a place in the ministry of movement. The most important information that must be had by the dancer is an understanding of the Word of God to be anointed and effective over the long run.

I want to share a video of one of the pioneers of dance ministry- Apostle Dr. Elizabeth Hairston. This piece is not about technique, it is about ministering to people through movement. Though training is good (I have taken Ballet and African Dance), we cannot rely on anyone but the Lord in regards to ministry. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A New Beginnning

I have been dancing for the Lord since 1999. I have been blessed to travel and teach various subjects concerning dance ministry and the worship arts. I have seen the good, bad, and the ugly side of praise dance (it can get pretty wild). As I have much to say on the subject, this blog will give me an outlet to share my thoughts and to get feedback from you about your experiences.

I will also post videos, resources, events, and other items of interest. All of my selections will be my choice, so please do not e-mail me specifically to list your event. (I will talk about opportunism in another post).

Welcome to the Company Keepers Dance Ministry Blog. Let's talk about it.