1.8.17

Put it in Writing!



The Lord gave me this answer: “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance. ~Habakkuk 2:2 (GNT)

     Wow! It's been like forever since I've blogged, but I kept my promise to only post when I had something to say. I was appointed as dance ministry leader at church, so we have been working on getting our ministry revamped, up and running since the beginning of this year and are off to a great start.
     There is a lot of good information online and in books about how to get a dance ministry started in your church, so I won't restate everything, but I will share about the process that we went through. First, we approached our pastor and asked permission to have a dance ministry; he in turn referred us to the Minister of Music. After much prayer and several planning meetings to discuss the vision, mission, purpose and scope of the ministry, including our name, I was formally introduced to the church as the leader of the new dance ministry and we started sign-ups at our information table that included brochures, information flyers, streaming video and treats for anyone who came by with questions.
     Next, we e-mailed everyone who signed up to notify them of our start-up date with all pertinent information as to what to expect, what to wear, and what we would be doing at our first meeting. At our first rehearsal, we introduced the vision again, had prayer, scripture reading, and did a short warm-up and combination to get an idea of what people would do with movement they were given. We chose not to  have auditions for our ministry.
    This leads to the one of the most important parts of getting a dance ministry started, which is having a ministry handbook that clearly states all expectations, rehearsal times, dress code, code of conduct, and any other important information that you want dancers to know. They can refer to the handbook at any time if issues arise. Your handbook should always be reviewed by the leaders you work with, in our case, Minister of Music and Senior Pastor for approval, and any revisions are always to be checked in with them. The reason for this is, in case of a conflict, everyone has the same information and all resolutions will be fair and "by the book".
     It probably will take many weeks to develop your handbook, so take your time, make sure everything in it is biblical, practical, reasonable, and agrees with the vision and core values of the church you attend.  Make sure you are completely familiar with the doctrines and practices of your church so that you don't incorporate elements that are not part of their regime, although you can refer to other ministry handbooks to see how they are arranged, and the types of information they contain. Be comprehensive without being too lengthy.  Make certain that your handbook is written to accommodate basic reading and comprehension levels. If you need help in editing, ask someone to look over your draft before submitting it for approval and revisions.  You can also add clip art or pictures to give your handbook more eye appeal. In the back of your handbook, have two copies of your ministry agreement page, one signed copy for your files, and that remains in the book. If there are minors in your ministry, make sure that a parent or guardian also signs the agreement. Please note that a signature is neither a contract or binding legal document. It simply indicates that they have read the handbook, and agree to abide by the rules of the ministry.
    You will find that putting all expectations for your dance ministry in writing helps to maintain a safe environment and keeps a level playing field for everyone, including the leaders. In this way, all are held accountable to the same rules. So...put it in writing!
    Please enjoy the first ministry presentation from Resurrection Sunday by A.C.T.S. of Grace Liturgical Dance Ministry:

   

3.1.17

Happy New Year!

Happy 2017! I took a break from blogging, but I'm back! I promise to be more present this year. Here is a repost from last January. Keep worshiping Christ!

   If you won’t plow in the cold, you won’t eat at the harvest.
Proverbs 20:4 (TLB)
 I recently attended a program where someone I knew was going to minister in praise dance. We both knew that she had a love for dance, and was called to dance for the Lord, but had challenges with taking advantage of available resources that would help her learn more about what she was called to do. Her work and life schedule was extremely busy, so she bought a DVD to work on at home and never got around to it. Every time she was invited to a workshop or class, she was always doing something else...still she had a love and a calling to dance.
     At the program, she was beautifully attired and had prepared her heart with prayer. The music started, and then something went wrong. She froze. Not knowing what to do, she began moving randomly and nervously until the music finished. That had to have been one of the longest 5 minutes of her life!
     Afterwards, she realized what had gone wrong. She hadn't prepared herself  with knowledge beforehand. All of the opportunities she had to learn about her ministry weren't taken seriously. Although she meant well, the message didn't get to the people due to lack of preparation. That day, she learned that it takes more than emotion to bring a message in public ministry. We can all learn a lesson from that experience.
     In the first week of the New Year, let's prepare ourselves for what we plan to do. If a class is needed, please go. If there are no local classes or transportation available, many ministries offer DVD's for sale at reasonable prices. If funds are tight, There are short instructional videos on YouTube that can be watched for free. There's never an excuse for lack of preparation! Even on short notice, if you have been practicing already, you can minister a dance with God's guidance based on what you already know, that will bless people. If you are really serious about ministry, you'll find a way to prepare yourself to be effective, or wait until you can make the time commitment. You don't have to be a professional dancer to minister in dance, but it's necessary to know something about what you are doing, so that your message is clear. Very few people are able to do this without some type of basic knowledge of movement. But, if you want to learn, there is lots of information that is easy to find. (You can type in "dance ministry instruction" in your web browser or on You Tube, and many pages will come up). If you are looking for dance ministry resources, please look at some of the links on the blog page that may be of interest. Be prepared in 2016!

     Here is a wonderful example of what being prepared for ministry looks like: Please enjoy the 13:46 Dance Ensemble from Maryland!


   

29.3.16

Be Careful...

   

      By now, most of us in the worship community have heard the announcement from Israel Hougton about recent events in his life. The responses from many in the church range from support and prayer to downright condemnation, while others are not quite sure what to do. But I have news...God has already told us what to do.

     In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul speaks about the Israelites who followed Moses and the consequences of their actions that displeased God. They all started with the same spiritual food and drink, but somewhere along the way they started doing their own thing, which caused calamity to come upon them. After describing their fate, Paul reminds us that what happened to them were examples written down as warnings for us, and the modern language tells us to check ourselves if we think we are standing. In other words, if any of us feels that we would never do any of the things that the Israelites were involved in, think again...
  
 These things happened to them as examples for us.
They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

~1 Cor 10:11-13 (NLT)

     There is nothing that one individual has gone through at one time that hasn't happened to another. Only God knows why people make the bad decisions that they make, even when a way of the situation is always available. It's not our job to figure that out for anyone, but it is ours to learn from their mistakes. It's not our place to censor or judge them, it's our place to humble ourselves and remember that the same thing can happen to us. No rational thinking person wakes up one morning and decides to do something that will destroy their family, ruin their reputation, and bring their ministry down. There is always a path to destruction that starts at a blind spot. What's yours? 

     Avoid the temptation to speculate, tear down or have a "holier-than-thou" attitude when you hear about someone who has sinned. The enemy is always looking for opportunities to knock us down from our high place. He's looking for you, too. He's watching to see what he can use, who he can send your way to take you out and shame you. He hates the worship of God; He hates God and all people; He hates when people worship God. His goal is to steal, kill and destroy completely, including those who lead others to worship God. Don't help the enemy!

     Selah…

   









8.1.16

Be Prepared!

Happy 2017! I took a break from blogging, but I'm back! I promise to be more present this year. Here is a repost from last January. Keep worshiping Christ!

   If you won’t plow in the cold, you won’t eat at the harvest.
Proverbs 20:4 (TLB)
 I recently attended a program where someone I knew was going to minister in praise dance. We both knew that she had a love for dance, and was called to dance for the Lord, but had challenges with taking advantage of available resources that would help her learn more about what she was called to do. Her work and life schedule was extremely busy, so she bought a DVD to work on at home and never got around to it. Every time she was invited to a workshop or class, she was always doing something else...still she had a love and a calling to dance.
     At the program, she was beautifully attired and had prepared her heart with prayer. The music started, and then something went wrong. She froze. Not knowing what to do, she began moving randomly and nervously until the music finished. That had to have been one of the longest 5 minutes of her life!
     Afterwards, she realized what had gone wrong. She hadn't prepared herself  with knowledge beforehand. All of the opportunities she had to learn about her ministry weren't taken seriously. Although she meant well, the message didn't get to the people due to lack of preparation. That day, she learned that it takes more than emotion to bring a message in public ministry. We can all learn a lesson from that experience.
     In the first week of the New Year, let's prepare ourselves for what we plan to do. If a class is needed, please go. If there are no local classes or transportation available, many ministries offer DVD's for sale at reasonable prices. If funds are tight, There are short instructional videos on YouTube that can be watched for free. There's never an excuse for lack of preparation! Even on short notice, if you have been practicing already, you can minister a dance with God's guidance based on what you already know, that will bless people. If you are really serious about ministry, you'll find a way to prepare yourself to be effective, or wait until you can make the time commitment. You don't have to be a professional dancer to minister in dance, but it's necessary to know something about what you are doing, so that your message is clear. Very few people are able to do this without some type of basic knowledge of movement. But, if you want to learn, there is lots of information that is easy to find. (You can type in "dance ministry instruction" in your web browser or on You Tube, and many pages will come up).
     If you are looking for dance ministry resources, please look at some of the links on the blog page that may be of interest. Be prepared in 2016!



22.12.15

Christmas Blessings!

   

     At this busy time of year, I hope everyone enjoyed wonderful presentations of worship around the Christmas theme whether it was through Musicals, Drama, Poetry, Cantatas, Dance, Caroling, or Non-traditional Tradition, and that those who were observing were blessed. I had the most amazing opportunity to direct a children's play that was a lot of fun for the kids as they learned how to present the Good News of Christ in a creative way. They also learned that excellence as an expectation does not mean to never make a mistake, but to put enough time and effort into what we do, so that no matter what happens, we know what to do when mistakes happens (so that no one else notices) :-)
    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and we will be back in 2016 with more insights about worshiping Christ through the arts!

Blessings... 

24.11.15

Be Thankful!

This is a re-post from 11/24/11. Blessings!

 


...Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
~ Col. 3: 12-15 NLT


     We have so much to be thankful for every day. In spite of the many historical controversies surrounding Thanksgiving Day, thankfulness should be a part of every day if we have life. Even if everything around us is going completely wrong, we can still give thanks and praise to God:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.
~Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NLT)

       Being thankful doesn't mean that we are in denial about our situation, it is really about humbling ourselves and trusting God to work things out for us in His way.  We give thanks in the midst of the situation, (not for it) and believe by faith that He will give us wisdom, guidance, and peace until we get through it, knowing that He always has our best intrests at heart.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
~1 Thess. 5:18 (NLT)


        There are many who will say that they have absolutely nothing to be grateful for, and are angry at God for the way their lives are going. The Word says that people would be increasingly ungrateful in the last days..

...in the last days there will be very difficult times.  For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.
~1 Tim 3:1-3

     Don't be counted among the ungrateful ones! Give thanks and praise to God at all times. He's done so much for us that we can never thank Him enough. Have a Happy Thanksgiving today, and every day.


19.9.15

Giving Honor...Always!

              


I thank my God for all the memories I have of you. ~ Phil. 1:13 (GWT)
                      


     It's been awhile since I put up a new blog post, lots has been going on and my promise is still to only post when I have something real to say. Recently, a dear friend and fellow worshiping artist departed this life, and I had the opportunity to share some words at her repast after the service. She was a true gift from God and a friend in every definition. When we realize the power of friendship, we will hopefully learn to be more supportive of one another, more Christlike in our behavior, and more understanding of our differences. When that happens, there will be no room for competition...I believe that we wouldn't even want to compete with one another if we really realized the power of friendship. No, everyone will not be our friend, and we can't be friends with everyone. But, we can be kinder and treat others as Christ would treat them.

     Cynthia Manker was a prolific writer, actor, communicator, motivator, public relations and media specialist, and most of all, a true worshiper of Christ. She lived in the revelation of Ephesians 6:13 "...After having done all...Stand". Even when she could no longer physically stand, her spirit stood tall. She was a wonderful friend to me, and we worked together in the same drama ministry for six years. These are the words I had the opportunity to speak about her today:

     August 6, 1998 was not only my birthday, it was the day that God blessed me with one of the greatest gifts I would ever have, a friend named Cynthia. On stage and off, we were complete opposites in almost everything, in height, in taste, in animals: I loved cats, she thought they were sneaky, she watched TV, I got rid of mine.  She was the extrovert, I was the introvert, when I would stress out, she would see the bright side.   If there were a theme song for our friendship, it would be: "Count on Me" but I won’t sing. I called to cry on her shoulder many a night and she would listen and never once judge me, but wouldn’t hesitate to call me out if I was in the wrong.  Once, she talked me into being part of her clown act “Quacky & Company” at a church picnic, (she was Quacky, I was Company) and I went along, being the willing drama student that I was. It was my first and last time EVER being a clown but that’s another story. But for 17 years, we were in each other’s corner, at our best, and at our worst. We both loved the Lord, and watching The Hoarders because we were afraid of becoming pack rats. Our running joke was “Cynthia, find my show”. She was my friend, and I will miss her.

     Cynthia was a reader of my blog, and I'm glad we shared many ministry times together, as well as a great friendship. Today's blog is dedicated to her, to remind everyone to honor those who you work with in ministry, whether you sing together, dance together, mime, act, do music or visual art. You never know when you won't have those times again. So, love them, uplift them, and support them!

Blessings...