Friday, October 31, 2008

Skills Assessment

Although we may admire the talents of some of our fellow dancers, we must be realistic about our own abilities. There are some things that we can develop over time that include flexibility, balance, stamina, and technique. Some people are naturally gifted and can excel in dance rapidly. Does this mean that if we cannot move as well as our contemporaries that we are to sit down? Some start dancing at an early age and have developed technique over the years. Many "seasoned saints" are beginning to enter movement ministry in the latter years. There is a time, place, and space for variety in movement ministry if we will enlarge our borders.

When we begin to compare ourselves with others, we will focus on the flesh and not the Spirit. If we realize that we truly have very limited movement ability, we may want to serve the ministry in another capacity. No one should have to inform us concerning whether or not we can dance. If we are truthful, we will know when to excuse ourselves from an area in which we are not graced to move. Merely having a desire to do something does not mean that we will be able to accomplish it with success. Demonstrating faith in action is wonderful, but we also must walk in truth.

Shape, size, gender, or experience should not hinder us from dancing for Him. To mature in dance ministry, we must make it our goal not to remain in the state that we started. When we dedicate ourselves to serve in the ministry of movement, we must adopt healthy nutritional habits, maintain fitness, grow in knowledge of both movement and the Word, and begin to minister more effectively. Unlike the professional dance arena, the purpose of movement ministry is not to showcase our talents for world recognition. Our aim is to get the world to recognize Christ through us.

1 Chronicles 25:7 (NKJV)
So the number of them, with their brethren who were instructed in the songs of the LORD, all who were skillful, was two hundred and eighty-eight.

Ecclesiastes 4:4 (NKJV)
Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Luke 14:31 (NKJV)
Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

Hebrews 5:13 (NKJV)
For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Love/Hate Relationship

There are some relationships (past and present) in our lives that many of us feel that we could do without. We may feel that it would be easier to be out of the company of those whom we disagree with. If we find ourselves rejoicing when that "problem dancer" is unable to make a rehearsal or engagement, we must submit to a heart examination. Many hurts in ministry are borne from loving relationships that ended in an unloving manner. It is in these times that we learn to trust only in the Lord, but in doing so, we are not to make our hearts hard toward others.

Torn relationships in the church setting can hinder our ability to minister wholeheartedly. If we are led to dance in a certain section of the congregation and the person that we are having an issue with is near, we may disobey the Lord's direction if we try to avoid the encounter. On the other hand, we may find ourselves trying to prove our righteousness by dancing and shouting fervently in their presence. Even if our feelings of hurt are justified in our eyes, we must continue to love those that may outright hate us or be unsupportive. Saying "I love him or her" is not enough. Love is an action word.

We should expect to be hated or disliked when we are truly advancing the Kingdom. Understanding this, we should prepare ourselves to have a greater capacity for love. Having detractors should not be used as an opportunity for boasting about our "haters." It is natural to want to retaliate when people oppose us or our ministries. It is supernatural to love our enemies and trust the Lord to handle it every step of the way.

Matthew 5:43-44 (NKJV)
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you

Luke 6:26-28 (NKJV)
Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets. “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.

Titus 3:3 (NKJV)
For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

1 John 3:11-13 (NKJV)
For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

1 John 4:20 (NKJV)
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Approval Process

Hosting dance concerts and conferences is not the apex of movement ministry. Many are under the impression that notoriety in the praise dance realm equals keynote speaker engagements, mega-conference hosting, and a full itinerary. Flashy websites and exaggerated accomplishments abound as many would desire to pay top-dollar to be listed in the "Movement Ministry Hall of Fame."

Instead of waiting for the Lord to open doors in His timing, many people solicit platforms and invitations. Some strategies including calling prospective conference hosts and asking for a slot to teach a subject, emailing ministry resumes and bios to impress and gain a potential invite, asking for a chance to dance on a concert or other event, and so on. While some may welcome the interest, many other event hosts express surprise (and disappointment) at the outright request to participate without an established relationship or familiarity with the ministry.

We do not have to worry that time will pass us by. The Lord's timing is perfect. When He calls us to an assignment, we will be blessed and make a great impact where we are sent. It may not be our moment or opportunity in the spotlight. The Lord has not forgotten about us and will reward those who diligently seek Him. We must continue to let Him work on our hearts and give us His desires for our lives. When we learn to wait on the Lord, we will gain the wisdom, favor, and integrity to endure when the doors of opportunity are opened for us.

John 5:43-44 (NKJV)
I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?

Romans 14:17-19 (NKJV)
For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

2 Corinthians 10:18 (NKJV)
For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

Philippians 1:9-11 (NKJV)
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

James 3:1 (NKJV)
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Buy One, Get One Free

There is the unfortunate perception in many ministries that everything related to ministry should be free or deeply discounted. If our treasure and our hearts are in the same place, then it may be a sad realization that many who claim to be dance ministers have hearts that are far from God. Our motive is not to enter ministry for a paycheck. We should aim to serve the Lord with all we have, even if it costs us money, time, and talent.

In the age of technology, there is an abundance of information that can be obtained relatively freely. Reading a few snippets of a book will not have the same value as reading the entire text. Surfing the internet and copying and pasting a few key concepts and ideas does not make one a student of the ministry of movement. Attending a conference and using the notes to teach others without studying it for ourselves is folly. We cannot shortcut our way into anointed dance ministry. The investment that we make will come to fruition. If we are to offer the Lord anything, it should be our very best.

If we have to purchase multiple Bibles, enroll in paid dance classes, buy dance garments, finance educational ministry trips, invest in gym memberships, or pay for knowledge, we should do so with fervor. Merely buying resources and not utilizing them makes us wasteful and foolish. We must be strategic as we spend. Wisdom must be exercised as we make decisions in regards to investing in ministry enrichment. Although it is a blessing to get a free book, DVD, flag, or other goods, it is definitely more blessed to give than to receive.

2 Samuel 24:24 (NKJV)
Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

1 Chronicles 21:24 (NKJV)
Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.”

Proverbs 23:23 (NKJV)
Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.

1 Corinthians 6:20 (NKJV)
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Been There, Done That

Learning from our past experiences will be a great help to us as we move forward. We would be foolish to think that dance ministry does not come with its pitfalls. It would be tragic for us to encounter a challenge designed to immobilize us and not learn the intended lesson. If we take conflict personally, we will miss the key points of it all: wisdom, love, and humility.

No matter how much we claim to be humble, we will experience feelings of hurt and internalize disagreements when we look at it from a fleshly standpoint. Not everyone is out to attack us. We will not be favored by some of those we co-labor with in movement ministry. Agreements may not always be reached without bruised egos. This is good for us. We will continue to allow ourselves to be chastened by the Lord when we learn from what we've already experienced.

Usually the same challenges arise time and again. When we do not learn how to respond, react, and relate, then we may find ourselves in an endless cycle of similar scenarios. Always have a conflict with leadership? Seem to keep committing ourselves to projects that overwhelm us? Need to purchase new garments because the appetite is not yet under control? Regularly discovering an empty bank account before the next pay period arrives? All of these things directly affect our ministries. When we have "been there, done that," we should arrive with solutions that bring healing, wholeness, and progress so that we do not end up stalling or falling.

Psalm 33:4 (NKJV)
For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in truth.

Psalm 119:71 (NKJV)
It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.

Hebrews 10:35-37 (NKJV)
Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

James 3:13 (NKJV)
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Elements of Dance

God is a creative God that made creative beings. When we become students of His Word, we are exposed to rich symbolism and mutliple instances of visual expression. Dance ministry will be boring if we present every movement and story in a literal manner. If every person that expresses the word "heart" points to the chest, then movement ministry will begin to matter little as it will all appear to be the same. All flowers do not look the same, and neither should all dance ministries.

We can express words by the emotion or way that one feels when experiencing love, instead of pointing to our hearts or making the heart symbol with our hands. Just as many point to a cross when expressing the name of Jesus, we can show Who He is by the many miracles and works that He has done. When we allow the Lord to direct creative choreography during our rehearsals, our ministries will take on new life and have a lasting impact beyond the limits of our own interpretation.

Many options are available to us when dealing with fire, rain, wind, sunshine, etc. Beyond flags and banners, we can use fabrics, artwork, dance garments, stage lighting, projection screens, and more to get the message across. When we only do what has been done, we find ourselves in danger of copying others instead of relying on the Lord. Though dance ministers share many things in common, we do not have to move according to the rhythm of the dancers next door. When we feast on the word of the Lord, He gives us visions and dreams that become reality when His Divine creativity is set in motion.

Isaiah 41:20 (NKJV)
That they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Hosea 12:10 (NKJV)
I have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.”

Amos 4:13 (NKJV)
For behold, He who forms mountains, and creates the wind, Who declares to man what his thought is, and makes the morning darkness, Who treads the high places of the earth— The LORD God of hosts is His name.

Colossians 1:16 (NKJV)
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

Please be inspired by the creativity of the Acrodramance Theater Company(TM):

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Putting on the Hits

The growth of Christian and Gospel music in popularity and exposure is great for reaching new audiences. Mainstream media continues to embrace inspirational music outside of the Holiday Season, and radio stations may put a gospel song into rotation alongside what is deemed secular music. Record companies often select the most popular hits from a selected year or style of music to package and sell to the masses. While it is wonderful to have such a variety available in one place, if we are not careful, we can miss some hidden jewels.

Concert after concert, and program after program reveal a common trend. Many dance and movement ninistries are moving to the same songs, with similar movements and interpretations of the songs. This occurs so often that dancers are asked to provide song selections in advance to avoid duplication on the same program. We must have an ear to hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to the church. If we only listen to what everyone else deems "popular," than we may fail to hear the song that the Lord wants us to use to minister to His people.

Purchasing every Christian or Gospel CD or downloading random songs online may not be the best way to hear new music. When we spend time with the Lord in prayer and tune our ears into the Spirit, the Lord will "send" us a song that speaks a Word now. Dance ministers must stop looking for the "hits" and allow the Lord to provide us with songs of deliverance. Let us no longer allow ourselves select the songs that people are familiar with and are emotionally moved by. When we allow the Lord to select the songs for us, we will see the people moved by His power, and not by our performance.

Job 35:10-11 (NKJV)
But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, Who gives songs in the night, Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, and makes us wiser than the birds of heaven?’

Psalm 40:3 (NKJV)
He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD.

Psalm 42:8 (NKJV)
The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me— A prayer to the God of my life.

Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sound Advice

Dance ministers understand the importance of having a good sound system in place. Dancing to a handheld boombox in a large congregation without amplification can be downright frustrating. As it is important to get the gospel message across, struggling to hear the words of a song can be exhausting for the observers as well. Even if a sound system is in place, the music may not played loud enough. On the other hand, there are occasions when the volume may be so loud that people have to cover their ears to prevent hearing loss. In either case, these conditions will be distracting to all involved.

In order to prevent these episodes from occurring, we should ask the necessary questions in advance so that the ministry of movement can go forth in excellence. We should know if a sound system will be in place, and find out if someone will be assigned to run the sound. A sound check can be conducted in advance to agree on an appropriate volume (we must arrive early to do this). It is also not a bad idea to invest in a portable sound system that has great volume as a back-up in case we arrive at a location and the sound is not exactly what we expected.

For the best results, our music should be clearly labeled and cued. It is a good idea for the ministry leader or delegated representative to greet the sound technician and offer thanks in advance for assisting the ministry. This is also an opportunity to discuss cues or any special directions that may be needed for successful ministry. Even if all of our preparation still results in muted music, missed signals, or the wrong song being played, we should still show grace and thanks so that the sound department and ministry of dance can work together hand-in-hand.

Exodus 32:18 (NKJV)
But he said: “It is not the noise of the shout of victory, nor the noise of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing I hear.”

1 Chronicles 15:28 (NKJV)
Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn, with trumpets and with cymbals, making music with stringed instruments and harps.

Psalm 89:15 (NKJV)
Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance.

1 Corinthians 14:7-8 NKJV)
Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Left... Left... Left, Right, Left...

What do we do with the church members or interested people who want to join the movement ministries, but have "two left feet?" It is a challenge to dance ministry leadership when the policy of the church or organization is to open the ministry to all people willing to participate. On the other hand, some groups choose to have ministry "auditions" and select or reject people based on various factors.

Wisdom will help us to find balance between the two extremes. A type of "Ministry Open House" can be held at specific times during the year when people can come to learn more about the ministry, and the ministry shares testimonies and experiences of dancing for the Lord. The pressure for an "audition" can be diminished, and dance pieces presented for the ministry leadership can be more of an evaluation to determine where the person may be best effective in the ministry. Many newcomers may want to join based on the traditional views of praise dance and may be delighted to discover the various ways to move in worship.

If the local church attendance is large enough, there can be multiple components of movement ministry. Some people enjoy the flag and banner ministry. Others would like to employ sign language or mime. Some people are very talented artistically, and may be able to help design garments, props, flags, and more. There can be a variety of expressions through motion, but we must be very careful not to be competitive or divided when in the same ministry. Instead of dancing separately, each component can work together to display beautiful and glorious group pieces that include the various talents of ministry members.

We should prayerfully handle those who may not seem to fit in or be a little slower in obtaining choreography initially. If the person truly does not have a knack for dance and movement, he or she may realize this and move on. We can always develop those that have potential and need a little refinement. All parts of the body are not necessarily equal in strength or in size, but they all work together as a whole. Frustration and impatience will lead to elitist attitudes. When we remember the Lord's mercy toward us, we can take the time to develop a passion for seeing others move forward.

Job 29:15 (NKJV)
I was eyes to the blind, and I was feet to the lame.

Psalm 85:13 (NKJV)
Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.

Zephaniah 3:19 (NKJV)
Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you; I will save the lame, And gather those who were driven out; I will appoint them for praise and fame In every land where they were put to shame.

Acts 26:16 (NKJV)
But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.

Hebrews 12:12-14 (NKJV)
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Best Friends Forever?

Friendship is a very important component in ministry. David and Jonathan are examples of friends on Divine assignment. We must be careful to select friendships that glorify God. Relationship is a core factor in the lives of Biblical people as well as our lives today. How we handle our relationships is a reflection of our character, integrity, and trust. There are seasons in our lives when we must transition from old relationships into new ones. This also applies to dance ministers.

As we travel and minister together with various dancers and groups, friendships and associations are formed that can last for years. We may form even closer friendships with those in our own dance group. As we grow and develop over time, people get married, go off to college, have children, or just grow apart. We may even experience the death of a fellow dance ministry member. When we accept this as reality, we will not take the transition personally, but be able to rejoice as life opens new doors in the lives of others. We must resist the urge to hold on to people to the point that we hinder them (and ourselves) from moving forward.

Some key things to remember when relationships end is to love without fail. When we place the Lord's will above our personal feelings, we will be confident in knowing that He is a Repairer. Even in the unfortunate circumstances that may end relationships negatively, we must continue to show spiritual maturity and remain pure in word, thought, and deed. When relationships change, we must not force them to last beyond the intended season. If our reason for dancing is rooted on Christ the Solid Rock, we will continue to flourish in ministry in spite of the changes that may come.

Genesis 13:11-12 (NKJV)
Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.

Proverbs 12:26 (NKJV)
The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Proverbs 22:24-25 (NKJV)
Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'd Like to Take This Opportunity...

The enemy would like to gain a foothold in our ministries and lives. In our efforts to banish evil influences from around us, we may not realize that the adversary is also disguised as an angel of light. When we have true burden for ministry, we are filled with grace, love, and compassion, which may cause us to open the pathway for opportunists and hustlers. Wisdom is to be greatly desired as we continue in ministry.

When we sense a pattern of people who always want to tell us about what the Lord is doing through them in ministry and would love the opportunity to share it with us or be a guest teacher- beware! If the only time that we receive e-mails from individuals is to promote an event, concert, book, or conference- pray. If someone constantly asks for a dance solo or spreads discord about the dance ministry leader- take note of it and seek the Lord for direction. We can more fully keep watch when we realize the subtle tactics of opportunists who seek to build themselves up more than the Kingdom.

If we notice any of these traits in ourselves, we must discontinue these worldly practices and allow the Lord to open doors for us. Humility and excellence are two traits that will lead to success. We may be guilty of trying to make something happen for ourselves before the appropriate time. Ambition will cause us to launch out and start things that we cannot complete. Thoughts of grandeur will allow us to justify selfish behavior if we do not strive to keep the flesh under subjection. Before we take the opportunity to be out in front, let us wait for an invitation to approach.

2 Corinthians 5:12 (NKJV)
For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart.

2 Corinthians 11:12 (NKJV)
But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.

Galatians 5:13 (NKJV)
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Cutoff Point

We cannot flirt with ungodliness and expect to flourish. In the arts ministries, temptation abounds as gifts and perceived anointings become very attractive to people. Because of pride of association, many people will flock to popular dance ministers and worshippers for the wrong reasons. We aim daily to walk closely with the Lord and obey His Word. There may also be times when sin will try to overtake us. We must resist evil and continue to walk in the light.

If there are friends that we fellowship with regularly who practice sinful lifestyles, we are foolish if we think that we will not be influenced by them. This does not mean that we will do the same things that others do, but it can open the pathway for us to relax our standards of holy living. Spending time talking on the phone with people who are constantly gossiping or spreading divisive information can also lead us away from the path of righteousness. We must review all of our close associations frequently and make any cuts that are necessary to continue standing.

We do not have to be unloving or insensitive when we have to sever relationships that are no longer lining up with the call of God on our lives. Maintaining co-dependent relationships that are detrimental to our lives and ministries must not be allowed to continue unchecked. When the Lord reveals to us that it is time to move on, we must ask for the wisdom and timing make the necessary changes without regrets.

Amos 3:3 (NKJV)
Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?

Psalm 37:9 (NKJV)
For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.

Psalm 94:23 (NKJV)
He has brought on them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; The LORD our God shall cut them off.

2 Corinthians 6:14 (NKJV)
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

James 4:4 (NKJV)
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Our message through movement should be crystal clear. People should not leave "scratching their heads" when we are finished. Granted, there may be those who lack a foundational understanding of the Word, and may miss some key things. We should not cause mass confusion when we dance.

In order to be the most effective, we need to employ techniques that work to bring the message to life. Using mirrors during rehearsals help us to see what the audience will see. Using props or flags and banners with written words can also help visually. If we take the necessary steps, even children will be able to receive the message.

We must also consider that everyone we may come in contact with may not speak the same language. Strong facial expressions and meaningful motion can be understood beyond language barriers. Sharpening our skills as movement ministers will halp us to be effective even when we are speechless.

Daniel 10:14-15 (NKJV)
Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.” When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless.

Matthew 10:20 (NKJV)
For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

Luke 1:22 (NKJV)
But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Renewal Notice

Even when things do not turn out according to our plans, we can always trust the Lord's ability to turn them around for good. Dance ministries that have been on the brink of disbanding have been able to pick up the pieces and rebuild with the Lord's intervention. There may be times in ministry when we feel like giving up, or that the sacrafice is too great to continue. We thank the Lord for these times because this is when He can get the glory.

Feeling burned out and overwhelmed by conducting ministry-as-usual is when we must recognize that it is time to be renewed. Our minds, spirits, and bodies must have a time to recuperate and be revived. The body needs fuel for it to operate at maximum capacity. Our spirit man needs spiritual sustenance to function as well. It is permissible to take a few moments to refresh, revive, renew, and be restored. When we do allow for times of refreshing regularly, we may stop dancing when we should be moving even faster.

Although we do not make a practice of complaining about the challenges we face, it is important to express when we experience symptoms of burnout. Jesus Himself had to take some much needed personal time in the midst of intense ministry. Placing the needs of ministry members, church leadership, families, and jobs before our own can result in resentment if we run empty. If we are to serve others, we must do so in a way that will allow us to consistently give our best.

Psalm 51:10 (NKJV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Romans 6:4 (NKJV)
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 7:6 (NKJV)
But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 (NKJV)
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Titus 3:4-6 (NKJV)
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior

Friday, October 17, 2008

Credit Check

Many dance ministers revel in perceived success. Ministry invitations, first class travel, 5-Star hotel accommodations, and large honorariums can become the trappings of success. Although it is a blessing to be cared for during ministry engagements, lack of humility and pride will trick us into expecting ministry to be comfortable at all times. True ministry requires knowing how to abase and abound. It is easy to assume that a ministry that appears to be prosperous, internationally known, and booked solid year-round indicates God's favor. The truth is found in who we are away from the platform.

Everyone will not agree with our choices or what we do, but it is important to have good "credit" in ministry. We can learn from our mistakes, but when our missteps become chronic habits, our personal reputations suffer and the ministry is also blamed. We do not have to concern ourselves with false accusations; however, if there is any truth to a bad report that is being given about us, we must deal with it quickly. Ministry business and offenses that are not handled will often grow into gossip and speculation that reaches far beyond our imaginations.

We must accept that our personal lives testify to the validity of our ministries. If we continue to dance week after week while our marriages and families lack attention, owe money to creditors while taking lavish ministry trips, treat ministry members like slaves instead of Kingdom citizens, or generally have a bad reputation regarding our behavior, we lower our ministry credit rating. If we hear negative reports about ourselves, before we get defensive, we must ask the Lord if there is any truth to it. If we find through revelation that we need to repent, we must make amends and adjust our ways immediately. When our ways please the Lord, even our enemies will be at peace with us.

1 Samuel 2:24 (NKJV)
No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’s people transgress.

Job 5:17 (NKJV)
Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.

Proverbs 22:1 (NKJV)
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.

2 Corinthians 6:3 (NKJV)
We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.

Hebrews 12:8-10 (NKJV)
But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Question and Answer

It is amazing how many praise dancers cannot provide an answer to any Biblical references to dance other than David. We should know the basic scriptures that pertain to dance, but we cannot stop there. Regular study of the Word of God will fuel us with choreographic creativity that reflects His heart concerning the people. We must each become accountable for what we know (or seek to discover what we should know).

The Bible is saturated with movement imagery from Genesis to Revelation. We cannot depend on popular dance ministers or televangelists to give us some new revelation concerning movement. Although teaching is helpful, it should not be our sole source of information. Every book, DVD, and newsletter is not necessarily an authority on dance ministry. Laziness in study and co-dependence on others to feed us spiritually will result in a malnourished, dysfunctional ministry.

As we study and gain understanding of the Word, our grasp of the scriptures must not give room for us to feel superior over others that lack knowledge. Many Biblical scholars can fall into the temptation of pride when spouting scriptures in an attempt to showcase authority. At some point we were all ignorant of the ways of God. True knowledge is demonstrated and not always verbalized. What is inside of us will come out. Though many may criticize and condemn the ministry of movement, when we live by the Word of God, our ministry will stand without question.

1 Kings 10:1,3 (NKJV)
Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her.

2 Chronicles 31:8-10 (NKJV)
And when Hezekiah and the leaders came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD and His people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. And Azariah the chief priest, from the house of Zadok, answered him and said, “Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat and have plenty left, for the LORD has blessed His people; and what is left is this great abundance.”

Proverbs 24:26 (NKJV)
He who gives a right answer kisses the lips.

Matthew 13:11 (NKJV)
He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Funny Money, Strange Change

Good stewardship is a requirement for ministry. Many dance and movement ministries need money for several ministry needs including garments, travel, conference attendance, music purchases, reading materials, instructional DVDs, and other resources. It is common for church dance ministries to have very little or no money at all to operate. This results in the majority of purchases being paid for by dance ministry members or parents of younger dancers. With prayer and wise counsel, we can do better.

Because many struggle in the area of finances, this unfortunately determines the quality of items purchased for ministry use. We must become more resourceful, ask for wisdom, and glean from the experience of others in this area. There may be seamstresses and tailors willing to "sow" into the ministry of dance by volunteering their services, donating remnant fabric, or providing consultation as to how to save money by buying materials at wholesale prices. Often we have not because we ask not.

In the ever-growing field of dance and worship arts conferences, there are also ways to practice sound money management in a pinch. This may mean hosting smaller events, inviting fewer speakers, using local resources, and getting more volunteer contributions (food donations, travel, discount facilities, decor, etc). We can never let the economy compromise our ability to minister the Word effectively. Excellence does not have to be compromised when cost-cutting. When we are faithful over little, we will rule over much.

Isaiah 55:1-2 (NKJV)
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.

Luke 16:13-15 (NKJV)
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

John 12:5-6 (NKJV)
“Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

1 Timothy 6:10 (NKJV)
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rock & Roll

We will have occasions when we experience tumultous times. Ministries of all types experience growth, decline, prosperity, and lack. What we must realize is that the cycle of abundance and need is an essential part of life. Dance and movement ministries are not immune to these seasonal challenges. This is why we must pray for wisdom and direction from the Lord so that we move by the Spirit and not by the flesh.

The only One that we can rely on to never fail is the Lord our Rock. As long as we stay connected to Him, we will be able to survive every attack, shaking, transition, and setback. Dance ministries that overcome adversity together and strive to obey the Lord are often very effective and powerful dance ministers. We must never allow the enemy to bring division among us. He will deal with whatever comes against us and roll it away (remove it from us and bring relief), while leading us to the higher rock (place of safety).

We must walk closer with God more than ever before. When we keep our hearts, souls, and minds stayed on Him, our Foundation is firm and we can endure. Struggle should not hinder our ability to dance about joy, peace, and love. Spiritual movement includes both natural and supernatural involvement. When the world around us is shaken, we can declare with certainty that we shall not be moved!

Deuteronomy 32:4 (NKJV)
He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.

Joshua 5:9 (NKJV)
Then the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.

Psalm 61:2 (NKJV)
From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 94:22 (NKJV)
But the LORD has been my defense, and my God the rock of my refuge.

Jeremiah 51:25-26 (NKJV)
“Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, who destroys all the earth,” says the LORD. “And I will stretch out My hand against you, roll you down from the rocks, and make you a burnt mountain. They shall not take from you a stone for a corner nor a stone for a foundation, but you shall be desolate forever,” says the LORD.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Critically Speaking

Trailblazers often face the harshest criticism. When we are confident concerning our obedience to the Lord, we cannot listen to verbal assaults from people who disagree with dance as a ministry based merely on opinion and not the Word of God. We can learn a lot from those who accuse us of engaging in fleshly activity and inciting lust among the people. Our greatest defense will always be the Lord Himself.

We cannot be so stiff-necked that we do not hear what detractors have to say. Contoversy should incite us to know which areas we need to be more versed in biblically. If we receive negative reactions concerning our garments, we should examine if there is any truth to it and compare it with scripture. If our movement is offensive to most of the congregation, we must ask ourselves if the message that we are delivering is right for those particular people. We cannot seek to please people, but we can verify to make sure that we are not causing others to stumble.

Those who accuse us without merit will be dealt with. We must resist the urge to argue with every opponent to prove that the ministry of movement is legitimate. In many cases, the power of God manifested through us when we dance will be enough to bring people to repentance. There will always be those with hard hearts who will not receive us. In those instances, we must shake the dust from our feet and keep moving.

Psalm 31:18 (NKJV)
Let the lying lips be put to silence, Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

Psalm 109:3-4 (NKJV)
They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause. In return for my love they are my accusers, But I give myself to prayer.

Mark 14:4-6 (NKJV)
But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.

Acts 13:45 (NKJV)
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time and Place

We must be good stewards concerning our time. When first starting out in movement ministry, it may be a challenge getting a platform to share the message. Many try to suggest or outright ask for the opportunity to dance at an event. Others start out at the local church and are asked to dance based on being seen there. Waiting on the Lord to send us forth is the greatest way to spread the Word. It is much better to be asked to dance than to impose on others. There is plenty of opportunity to dance in the public instead of seeking platforms in church circles that may lead to fame and celebration of our works.

The opposite spectrum of lack of opportunity is having to choose between mutliple invitations. Some ministries make the choice to accept multiple invites even if they are on the same day or during the same time frame. This approach will often have the invited group to ask the host to dance early on one program and late on another so that they are able to dance at both events. The problem is that to the observer, the ministry is seen leaving early at the first location and arriving late at the next. Beyond the dance, our reputations are also an important reflection on the motives of the ministry.

There is also the temptation to accept every event that is presented to us. As we become experts at multi-tasking, we will discover that key areas in our lives will go lacking if we spend every weekend dancing and none with family, friends, and most importantly, the Lord. We must ask Him whether or not He has a reason for us to dance at a particular place and time. If we are not discerning regarding where we are sent or invited, we may find ourselves frustrated and exhausted, suffering through programs that are more about dance and competition than the love of Christ.

Romans 10:15 (NKJV)
And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Galatians 5:13 (NKJV)
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Colossians 4:2-4 (NKJV)
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Armed and Dangerous

The Lord works wonders through weakness. He is the source of our strength. When we are weak, the supernatural power of God steps in and carries us to the finish line. In the ministry of dance, we can work hard to build strong bodies, but we cannot rely on our own strength to sustain us. There will be times when we are physically exhausted, drained, and weak. In these moments we must rely on the Lord to strengthen our arms to complete the work.

When the Bible speaks of arms, it is often representative of strength, power, and victory, especially in battle. The Word ascribes wonder to the awesome power and strength of the arms and hands of God. In movement ministry, the use of our arms may be the most significant movement that people see. Depending upon the setting in which we dance, much of the viewing audience may miss what we do from the waist down, unless stadium or sloped seating is available. This in no way implies that we are not to make full use of our legs. Most of the motion seen will involve our arms.

When we understand the meaning of movement from a scriptural perspective, our choreography will begin to breathe life and "preach" as we marry the meaning of the words with the movement. We must always allow the Holy Spirit to direct us as we approach choreography. Trying to make all movement have a literal meaning will open the door for us to rely on ourselves. If the Lord gives us an unconventional way to minister a particular section of a song, poem, prayer, or passage of scripture, we will take confidence knowing that it is He that gives us strength.

2 Chronicles 32:8 (NKJV)
With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

Psalm 44:3 (NKJV)
For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; But it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them.

Psalm 89:13 (NKJV)
You have a mighty arm; Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand.

Isaiah 33:2 (NKJV)
O LORD, be gracious to us; We have waited for You. Be their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

Isaiah 40:10 (NKJV)
Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Miss Understanding

We each have a responsibility to gain knowledge concerning our functions as parts of the Body. In the structure of a dance ministry, each member must also have a strong sense of placement and be a vital part of the whole. We can do this by having communication and training systems in place for incoming ministry members, and ongoing instruction for the ministry as a whole. Although we may not all agree on the minor details, we must make sure that we are all speaking the same things concerning our commission as dance ministers.

Every ministry should have a vision or reason for being. Leaders and team members should each be able to state the goal of the ministry on a local, national, or international level, depending upon our Kingdom assignments. Ministry participants should also know the order of leadership and the appropriate steps to follow for dealing with personal matters, ministry concerns, and larger circumstances. When we miss the opportunity to gain understanding, we are on our way to oblivion.

If we are lacking understanding in focus, Biblical knowledge, or technical ability, we must pray and seek the Lord's voice concerning what steps to take. When we do not agree, we will not be in step with one another, and confusion will result. Much of the ineffectiveness that is witness among dance and movement ministries today is due to limited understanding personally, spiritually, and corporately. We do not want to miss anything that has been prepared for us due to our own ignorance. If anyone lacks wisdom, now is the time to ask for it from the Lord.

Proverbs 3:13-14 (NKJV)
Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold.

Hosea 4:6 (NKJV)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Ephesians 1:17-19 (NKJV)
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

James 1:5 (NKJV)
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

An Open and Shut Case

Although we dance for the Lord and are faithful to the ministry He has entrusted us with, we must realize that we must keep the doors closed to temptation. Many dance groups today are comprised of men and women who work closely together on a regular basis. It may seem as though there are seasons that we spend more time with our dance ministry members than our own families. As a result, we can become very close-knit. This can also present a dangerous open door if not monitored on a regular basis.

When working with a group of people consistently, we experience each others joys, disappointments, triumphs, and tragedies. Often what can become a moment of compassion can evolve into misplaced passion if we do not exercise self-control. Waiting on the Lord before leaping into relationships will give us time to understand the true purpose for our connection with one another.

Groups that contain both genders must be careful when traveling to ministry events. We must also exercise good judgment when selecting attire to wear to rehearsals, considering one another's weaknesses. Changing into ministry garments must be planned wisely when sufficient dressing room space is not available. Although the Lord may bring people together to His glory through meeting in a ministry, we must have the proper boundaries in place to protect ourselves and the ministry from falling into sin.

Psalm 50:23 (NKJV)
Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 (NKJV)
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.

Ephesians 4:21-24 (NKJV)
If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

1 Peter 1:13-16 (NKJV)
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just Wait a Minute!

Many beginning dance ministries make the mistake of wanting to hurry up and assemble a group of dancers to get moving as quickly as possible. The concept of studying the Word of the Lord regarding dance and movement and praying for direction seems foreign as the next big event approaches for the big debut. Dance uniforms are selected, songs are chosen, and the rehearsals begin without regard to what the Lord has to say concerning the matter.

Some people who desire to "praise dance" do so because of the feeling that it gives them when witnessing someone else minister. Possibly, someone on the special programs committee suggested that a special dance number be put together in two weeks for the fast-approaching Pastor's Appreciation Service. An upset dance team member may decide to leave the church dance ministry and form a "community" dance ministry that includes several dancers from the former group. We must not make a move without first waiting on the Lord.

When the Lord directs a thing, it will prosper. Though we may go through seasons of trial and face challenges, when we wait on Him, we will not be ashamed. If He leads us to begin a movement ministry, we must seek His instruction and obey Him at His Word. Our gift will make room for us. When we are ready to minister in motion, He will open up the door and create the right platforms for us. We need not call and ask anyone to dance. When we allow Him to do the work, He will open doors for us and give us favor beyond what we could imagine.

Psalm 25:3 (NKJV)
Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.

Psalm 37:7 (NKJV)
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

Psalm 37:34 (NKJV)
Wait on the LORD, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

Psalm 52:9 (NKJV)
I will praise You forever, because You have done it; And in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good.

Habakkuk 2:3 (NKJV)
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

He's Counting on Me

We must continue to be accountable concerning all that the Lord has placed in our hands (and feet!). If He has given us talents, He is concerned about how we multiply what He has given. When we are given a task to complete, He observes how we get the work done, including our motives and treatment of others along the way. If we have assumed a position of leadership over His people, we are responsible for how we care for them when they are with us. Righteousness counts with the Lord.

Even in the process of choreographing a piece, every step we include should count. We may try to make the count fit the words of a song instead of aligning the count to the Word. That dance move that we have been aching to do may not work right now. Sometimes there is great power in simple movement. What the Lord has to say is more important than any beat, rhythm, or instrument. We cannot obsess over physical perfection, but our hearts must remain pure toward the Lord for us to deliver movement with a Word that renews minds and heals the brokenhearted.

The days of taking the dance ministry for granted for us have come to an end. More than ever before, we must study, strengthen, and stretch both spiritually and physically. The cares of this world should not affect the fervor with which we dance for our Lord. It is time to make every day count in our lives and ministries. No more time to waste. No more procrastination. No more excuses. It's time to stand up and be counted!

Job 31:4 (NKJV)
Does He not see my ways, and count all my steps?

Romans 9:8 (NKJV)
That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NKJV)
Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV)
[Glory to God for His Grace] And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,

Monday, October 6, 2008

Unfinished Business

It is very exciting to embark upon new beginnings, but the real challenge is to finish what we have started. Often we may be inspired to dance to a certain song, have an idea for a new garment design, or deisre to host a special event in the near future. All of these concepts can be great, but if we are not careful, we can end up dreaming more often than we accomplish the goal. If we continue to advertise without delivering on the promise, we will appear foolish and be perceived as untrustworthy to our peers and fellow co-laborers.

Much of our unfinished projects can be tied to lack of prayer, insufficient planning, and over-ambition. We cannot second-guess everything that we do; however, with the Lord's direction and clear guidelines, we will be able to finish the work that we start. If we find ourselves starting choreography that never seems to end, we need clarity. When the workshop that we planned, advertised, and collected money for has to be cancelled due to lack of response, we need direction from the Lord. If we continue to have meetings about future activities and events and the key staff members and leaders are regularly missing from conversation, we need to wait upon the Lord.

Whatever the Lord has instructed us to finish, we must not faint. It's time to move forward to completion! If we have procrastinated or lingered beyond the time that we were appointed to complete an assignment, it is time to repent and get back to work! If we continue to repeat the same cycles, we will end up dizzy. When we walk according to the path that the Lord has directed for us, we will keep moving forward as we walk in obedience.

Joshua 11:15 (NKJV)
As the LORD had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses.

2 Chronicles 8:16 (NKJV)
Now all the work of Solomon was well-ordered from the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was completed.

Nehemiah 6:9 (NKJV)
For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.” Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

Acts 14:26 (NKJV)
From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tools for Success

The Lord will continue to give us what we need to succeed in ministry. We must constantly obtain the right tools that we need to advance His Kingdom. Our primary source of material comes from the Word of God. Through the Word we build our faith, establish a solid foundation, and take refuge. The work of our hands will not stand if the Lord has not commissioned the work.

Dance ministry resources continue to grow daily. Many proclaim to have divine knowledge of the mysteries of dance ministry and are eager to deliver that extra special book, DVD, or CD into our hands. True tools for ministry come from the leading of the Holy Spirit, and many times will be referred by word-of-mouth. We must be ever-cautious of those who are over-anxious to unload some precious resource at our doorstep. As we continue to build an arsenal of tools for Kingdom-building, the Lord will expose the validity of each of our works.

Our goal for building is not for ourselves. We must not use the gospel as a means to build our own houses (natural or spiritual), or lay up earthly treasures for our benefit. When we assemble a spiritual "toolbox," we must make sure that every part contained is useful for edifying others. If we are not careful when building, we will end up erecting monuments that only serve our own purposes.

Isaiah 22:22-24 (NKJV)
The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open, and no one shall shut; And he shall shut, and no one shall open. I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house. ‘They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the posterity, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers.

Jeremiah 23:29 (NKJV)
“Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

Ecclesiastes 12:11 (NKJV)
The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.

1 Corinthians 3:10 (NKJV)
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Return to Sender

We cannot assume that just because someone shares the same interests that we do that we have permission to solicit them. In the growing age of technology and social networking, there are many who are marketing themselves to the masses. Many in the dance ministry have taken the reins as self-promoters in cyberspace. While at first it may have seemed a minor inconvenience to receive "junk mail" in an electronic-mail format, the influx of free intenet marketing is beginning to take its toll.

Many dance and movement ministries are filling e-mail inboxes and social networking bulletin boards with announcements about the next not-to-be-missed event, conference, or highly-anointed service. It seems as though everyone is promoting a "destiny-driven, life-altering, never to be done again" type of gathering. Cyber bulletin boards allow the reader an opportunity to select which messages they desire to read. Saturating bulletin boards with the same event over and over reeks of self-promotion. Sending unsolicited items via e-mail daily can land us in the SPAM category indefinitely.

How do we avoid being bothersome or labeled as self-promoters among our fellow peers? People should want to keep in contact with us and vice versa. This is primarily based on relationship. We should ask permission to add people to our mailing lists or allow them the opportunity to unsubscribe without fault. We should not just gather every dance-related e-mail that we see and commence to spreading the Word. Getting the news out about events can be done properly, but if we spend our time reaching out to people without the proper boundaries in place, our reputations will end up in the junk mail category and our messages in the recycle bin.

Psalm 94:4 (NKJV)
They utter speech, and speak insolent things; All the workers of iniquity boast in themselves.

Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

2 Corinthians 1:12 (NKJV)
For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

2 Corinthians 12:6 (NKJV)
For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.

James 3:16 (NKJV)
For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wings and Things

Hollywood would have us believe that all angels wear glowing white garments and have enormous feathered wings. Some paintings depict angel children and men and women with flowing hair, halos, and cheerful faces. Many dance and movement ministries have adopted this same ideology and some have included the word "angel" in the ministry name. We must always be careful to properly apply the Word of God, especially in the visual sense.

Many of the Lord's creations have wings, including birds and cherubim. Even the Lord Himself is described at times as having wings. When we continually present the image of angels in white with fluttering wings, we have not confirmed the Bible on the matter. Actually, angels in the scriptures are not described as winged. Some angels wore white, some were accompanied by bright light, some appeared in dreams, and some appeared as mortal men. The biblical description of angels is specific and many times invoked fear in the hearts of those they encountered. What a sight it must have been to behold such a creation! There were also times that people were not aware until later that an angel had been among them.

Angels serve as messengers of God. Movement ministers also serve as messengers of the gospel through the use of scripture, visual imagery, and relative motion. We cannot be ignorant or inaccurate when portraying the living Word. Angels are not to be revered as more holy and sacred than our Lord. When we pray and seek the Lord in order to bring glory to His name, He will open our eyes and reveal His truth to us.

Judges 6:22 (NKJV)
Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the LORD. So Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face.”

1 Chronicles 21:30 (NKJV)
But David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the LORD.

John 20:12 (NKJV)
And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

2 Corinthians 11:14 (NKJV)
And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

Hebrews 13:2 (NKJV)
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Station Identification

Dancing for the benefit of the Kingdom can be a wonderful experience. If we are blessed to transition from dancing for the joy of it into becoming ministers of movement, we must realize that ministry is not all fun and games. We must be watchful and prayerful about the things that we allow to happen in the ministry. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves in a divided house.

Everyone that joins a ministry is not necessarily a member of the household of faith, even though they may try to claim belief. Any powerful ministry will be faced with infiltrators whose assignment is to damage the foundation on which it stands. Each of us must make it a priority to secure the best interests of the ministry for the Lord's work to be done. We cannot police others if we have not brought ourselves under submission to the Holy Spirit.

It is the responsibility of each of us to be watchmen. We must also be on guard to discern anything that can potentially destroy the unity of the ministry. The ministry that we are referring to does not only concern one dance ministry or church. We need to watch for the Body as a whole, and rally around the success of other ministries as well. If the dance ministry up the street fails, we have failed them as co-laborers. What affects one part of the Body affects the whole.

Leaders have a great responsibility to care for the ministry, but leaders cannot do it alone. Each of us must make sure that we are not allowing the enemy to bring in division, discord, disunity, or dysfunction. The adversary only needs a small opening to wreak havoc. As ministers of movement, let us take our rightful positions and give no place to the devil.

2 Chronicles 24:7 (NKJV)
For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken into the house of God, and had also presented all the dedicated things of the house of the LORD to the Baals.

2 Kings 11:5-7 (NKJV)
Then he commanded them, saying, “This is what you shall do: One-third of you who come on duty on the Sabbath shall be keeping watch over the king’s house, one-third shall be at the gate of Sur, and one-third at the gate behind the escorts. You shall keep the watch of the house, lest it be broken down. The two contingents of you who go off duty on the Sabbath shall keep the watch of the house of the LORD for the king.

Nehemiah 7:3 (NKJV)
And I said to them, “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house.”

Matthew 24:43 (NKJV)
But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Put Your Foot in It

We must be careful what we say concerning one another. When we have influence, the words that we say carry weight with those around us. Leaders must be especially careful concerning revelations made in the presence of impressionable people. Personal disagreements, dislikes, and preferences can grow into a larger offense if we are careless about how we conduct ourselves. What may begin as a disagreement between two people can quickly grow into a war in our midst.

Dance ministers are often in front of the congregation and assume influential positions in the church whether we accept it or not. We are recognized often, even when it is not brought to our attention. We are constantly being watched. Children and teenagers are especially vulnerable to the desire to want to be accepted and affiliated with people that are popular. When we engage in casual conversation, we may forget that what we say may be overheard by someone else. We can avoid this by maintaining appropriate conversation at all times. Regardless of who is listening, the Lord hears every single word we say.

This does not mean that we are robots and actors that cannot share our hurts, pains, and struggles. We should not turn offenses into a personal crusade to tarnish the character of others with whom we may no longer be in fellowship. Setting a guard over our mouths will also keep the door open for reconciliation to take place. When we are careless and operate out of our feelings instead of the Word, we will end up "putting our foot in our mouths."

Psalm 37:30-31 (NKJV)
The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice. The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide.

Proverbs 21:23 (NKJV)
Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.

Luke 6:45 (NKJV)
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Titus 3:1-2 (NKJV)
Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.