31.1.10

The Ministry of Movement

“Dance is a spiritually powerful force! It was created that way for a pure and holy purpose. It is a mysterious but glorious gift, full of untapped treasures. It is an art form that has the ability to convict and convince at the same time, either for good or for evil. One short dance has the voltage to communicate on a non-verbal level a message that will change the course of one's life."
(Author Unknown)

If anyone knows the author of this powerful quotation, please let me know so that proper credit can be given. Words and movement are used to communicate thoughts, feelings and actions to others. Even before we learned to talk, we moved, threw objects or used facial expressions or gestures that others responded to. The God-inspired blending of words and movement has the ability to transcend the intellect and go directly to the heart of a captive audience. Movement ministers have the unique ability to speak volumes without  a word, telling a story that will be remembered long after the music stops. Dance ministry is a visual representation of God’s Word and the message being communicated should have an exact beginning, middle, and ending.

Movement does not have to be set to every word of a song; it is possible to interpret one sentence of a song in 5 inspired movements. The use of sign language and gestures can also be added to express the message. Understanding stage directions such as upstage, downstage, stage right, stage left, and center stage help in making the most of available space.

As movement ministers proclaiming the Good News, remembering that our messages should be so clear that they can be received even if the music is turned off will always create a clear visual expression that will leave a lasting impression on the audience.

30.1.10

Glorious Garments!

The proliferation of movement ministries over the years has been phenomenal. All styles and genres of dance are now being represented everywhere. The rapid growth of these ministries always brings questions about finding and wearing appropriate garments. Everyone I know has at least one story about dance or mime ministries dressed in ways that, well...let’s just say that they didn’t go to garment class at the conference! It takes time and planning to shop for ministry garments that exemplify God’s glory and beauty (Ex. 28:2), and are affordable. Contrary to the belief that says “it doesn’t matter what you wear as long as you are giving God the glory”, the garments we wear are part of the overall presentation of the dance.

Fortunately, there is a new book to help you learn about the ministry aspect of garments along with resources to guide you in obtaining garments for your dance ministry and budget. I highly recommend Garments of Glory by Jocelyn Richard, director of Visual Praise Ministries and Dance Studios in Augusta, GA. Jocelyn has done all of the “footwork” for you by creating a comprehensive downloadable e-book that is full of Biblical teaching and resource information. This full color ministry guide is available at www.thepraisedancelife.com, and is very reasonably priced. It will be an excellent addition to your dance library. So, pick up your copy of Jocelyn Richard's Garments of Glory today, and start looking glorious for Christ!

What is Excellence?


The word excellence means many things to different people. The term is used all the time when it comes to the ministry of the arts. For some, it is a subjective response to one’s personal taste, while for others, it is nothing short of perfection. Webster’s dictionary defines it as: the fact or condition of excelling; superiority; surpassing goodness, or merit.

 I would define excellence as being the best I can be at this moment, yet always looking for ways to improve. Excellence is not static, it is a continual journey. What is excellent for me today, should not be excellent next week, next month or next year; rather, whatever I am doing now, should give me latitude for next week, next month or next year. I should be able to look at myself a year from now, and see progressive change. As a wise person once said, either we are moving forward, or backwards; standing still is not an option. This does not mean that I cannot be kind to myself in the process, or that I am to judge others harshly, or reject them because they do not meet my standards, because in God’s economy, excellence includes kindness and humility (Gal. 5:22-23). Excellence requires focus, self-examination, and of course, hard work. It means encouraging myself when no one else seems to notice me, or when I don’t see immediate results of my efforts. Most of all, it means making the most of what I have, to please God and to share with others for His purposes.

27.1.10

A Clear Message

One of my favorite college professors once said: “Everything that you do in front of an audience must be true, unless it’s a lie”. That sounds like a riddle, until you think about it. As worship artists we are not performing in a traditional sense, but when we minister in public, people are watching and responding to what we do, or say from beginning to end. If we don’t really believe it, how can we expect them to? We still need to be conscious of how we use space (or the stage), our facial expressions, and of how we enter and exit the space. Too many times, dancers, mimes and actors in the church are moving around before the scene or the music begins, and when they finish, they “break” character because they are unaware of the basics of stage presence. The correct thing to do is to at the beginning of any work is to remain still before the music begins, unless you are starting in silence. If you are moving around it tells the audience that you are unfocused, and they will lose interest in your presentation before you even get started. At the end of a ministry presentation, you can either hold the ending position until the lights go off, or wait a few seconds after the music is finished. At that time you can then leave the space either walking, still in character (or dancing) out. Remember that even if you think the audience can’t see you, they may be able to see the last person who exits so keep dancing until you are well out of their sight. If we become pedestrian too soon, that can be very distracting to the audience. We are the visual representation of God’s Word, and everything He does, is done well. Let’s represent Him in excellence!