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: