There is a growing sector of those who seek to capitalize off of worship arts ministries. While we can all creatively justify our reasons for doing something, we must always remember that the Lord is a Just Judge. When it comes to competition in ministry, we must be careful that we are not vying to claim any glory for ourselves. We are working for an eternal reward.
Recently, I was asked to serve as a judge for a Praise Dance Competition. This was the second time in a week that I was made aware of this type of event happening nearby. While this is nothing new, it is still disturbing to me nevertheless. One advertisement for a similar gathering proclaimed that the dancers were competing to defeat the devil. I could only shake my head in astonishment at the state of many dance ministries today.
If we are one Body, can we truly compete against ourselves? If one of our arms is significantly bigger than the other through weightlifting more on one side of our body, will we not be looked upon as deformed? This is the equivalent of competition in ministry.
No matter how "friendly" we aim to be while competing, it is human nature to try to be the best at what we do. As a result, we may exhibit ungodly behavior as the intensity of competition arises. In order to win, that may mean that our opponent may suffer some sort of setback (falling during ministry, flags and props that are not functional, etc.), be ill-prepared (unpolished choreography, less-than-spectacular garments, etc.), have less of a "fan base" (which makes it a popularity contest), or a multitude of other disqualifiers.
Would I judge the ministry of dance based on who is the most "anointed?" Is the winner determined by who has the most complicated choreography? Should I give an honorable mention to the group that has the best garment design? As I have previously written, not every invitation is to be accepted. While I can only answer for myself due to my personal conviction of advocating for the education and development of ministry through the worship arts, I will have to respectfully decline all such "opportunities."
New King James Version
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
1 Corinthians 9:25
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.