As I was driving in my car today, the words "Teacher's Edition" dropped into my spirit. Do you remember having had a chance to glance at the Teacher's Edition of a textbook in school? What was wonderful about the Teacher's Edition is that not only did it have the information given to the students, it contained the answers to questions asked!
What a challenge it is today to be a dance ministry leader! When someone accepts the challenge to lead, it is pertinent that we also have access to the right information and the answers needed to efficiently teach people. How many dance ministries are suffering today at the hands of ill-equipped leaders? More than we'd like to admit...
If given the opportunity to serve, leaders must not rely on someone else to provide the roadmap we need. We must each seek to know how to lead the ministry according to the Word. It is also practical to obtain experienced wisdom, but we must remember that what may work for one ministry may not exactly fit our circumstances.
In order to assemble the "Teacher's Edition" for dance ministers, we must include the following contents:
1) Charting the Course: Instructions
Provide clarity to your dance ministry team by providing clear communication (calendars, checklists, contact information). This can be done via email, through text messages, on paper, through online notification systems, or through all of the above. As it is often said, "Sharing is caring."
Is your ministry aware of requirements and upcoming dates far enough in advance to plan properly?
Are there general guidelines regarding ministry qualifications, expectations, appearance standards, conduct, garment requirements, etc?
Having a roadmap in place will minimize confusion, but not having one will guarantee roadblocks!
2) Lesson Plan: Information for the Student
Develop lesson plans to guide the ministry toward progress. For example, structured team studies will help the ministry be on one accord when studying the Biblical foundations of movement as a ministry (book readings, specialized workshops, directed group studies, research topics, etc).
Draft a plan to complete choreography before deadlines to assist us in knowing if we are using our time effectively or need to make adjustments (Are we projecting accurate completion times? Are we missing scheduled ministry engagements because we did not have time to complete the piece? Have we mastered the necessary technique needed to hasten the choreographic process?).
Forecast activities for the year and then establish regular checkpoints to see if adjustments need to be made (technique application, planned conference attendance, membership growth, etc).
3) Questions and Answers
Leaders should be more knowledgeable than the people we lead in our area of expertise. When a dance ministry leader has not studied or properly applied themselves to excellence, it will reflect on the ministry. Although the leader may not develop all of the choreography and select all of the garments, he or she should not be ignorant concerning these areas.
Pleading ignorance does not work for leaders! Each leader should make it a priority to become the "resident expert" and be able to provide accurate information to the team. (How embarrassing is it when dance ministry leaders are not able to provide Biblical references to dance beyond David? We've got to do better!)
4) Staff Development: Publisher's Notes
The Bible reminds us to know those that labor among us. Not only should we study dance ministry from a Biblical perspective, researching the progress being made by others today will help us to avoid "reinventing the wheel." Learning about other dance ministry leaders can both inspire us as well as teach us valuable lessons in what not to do.
In addition, we should take steps to get to know those we minister with, so that we may know how to pray and provide guidance unique to the people we lead. Exercising discernment will reveal to us if a situation is a behavioral problem or a spiritual one...
5) Giving Honor: Acknowledgments
It does not cost us much to be appreciative. Too many times, those who labor in ministry are encouraged to do a thankless job. Let not that be said of us. Dancers need to know that leaders are servants too! Taking the time to announce praise reports, birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones will make people feel appreciated and unified.
Beyond the movement ministry, we must show gratitide to our Pastors, supporting ministries, families, mentors, and other people who make what we do possible. In the forefront of all of this, we must not fail to give thanks to the LORD for making what we do possible!
Not only should we seek to be disciples, but we should be able to impart in a way that brings glory to God. We cannot take the mandate to teach lightly-- We MUST practice what we preach! Teaching others in the arts can be a challenge, but one that we can successfully navigate if we have the right reference guide: The BIBLE!
(New King James Bible Version)
Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.
You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal?
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.