Do You Really Wanna...

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
~1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)

     When I have time, I enjoy watching dance ministry videos just to see what others are doing, or to be blessed by someone else's gifts. There are so many You Tube channels with hundreds (if not thousands) of  recorded footage that makes it impossible to view every one. No matter where the group is based, what music they choose to dance to, how much or how little choreography they use, or their skill level or age, the one thing that effective ministries have in common is that they all look happy to be dancing for the Lord. They dance with their entire being, they are not hindered or holding back. Their facial expressions are full of peace, joy, and reverence. If the song is intense, they project that in the same way. Even through the computer or tablet/phone screen, the intention of the message can be clearly seen and felt.

     I remember hearing a long time ago, that if you want to know if your ministry project is effective, turn off the music and watch the piece in silence. If it just looks like random movement with no direction or expression, you probably need to go back and rework it, because what you are seeing is the same thing that the people you are going to be in front of will see. I have watched far too many videos where the dancers have blank facial expressions, or have their lips folded in. The latter is especially true with teenagers who are at that self-conscious age, and although it is extremely challenging to get them to "come out of their shell", part of your rehearsal time should definitely include time in the mirror to work on the face, connecting with the message of the song, learning how to relate scripture to the song, and being comfortable in front of others, starting with self. Also, when working with teens, they as well as their parents/guardians need to be reminded that dance ministry is just that. It's not cheer, drill, competition or any of the things they see on reality TV, it's God's work. So, while they should always be welcomed to come into the group, they do need to understand the difference between each one, and if they are not ready, should not be forced to participate.

      One of the worse things you could ever do is offer any kind of ministry that is not effective, meaning that it only provides a platform for your group, but does nothing to help other people. In fact, that's not ministry at all, it's not even good performance.  In the professional arena, a good performance always leaves something with the audience. Have you ever heard the saying "Always leave your audience wanting more?" That means that what you gave was so fulfilling, they wanted to see or hear more of what you had to offer. In ministry, what you have to offer is the Good News of Christ, not your skill or your talents; although God will use that, it's secondary. What God is interested in is your heart, and once He has it, He can lead you in whatever ways that will benefit the people you are sharing with.

     Another trend that has become more frequent is a lot of dancers who dance to songs that they like, but lack the ability to effectively minister because they cannot carry the weight of the music. Remember, in dance, you are to become the music, not simply dance to it. There are some songs that lend themselves easily to soloists, other songs are more appropriate for two or more dancers, or large groups. Listen to the musical arrangement and orchestration. Do you hear a choir singing or multiple layers of music? It's one thing to turn the music on and dance to your heart's content at home, and quite another do to the same thing in a public worship setting. People may say "Amen" and praise you to your face, but once you dance out the back door...need I say more? Just because you respond emotionally to a song, does not necessarily mean that it is a song for you to minister at this time, or ever. Before going out to do something that will be remembered in cyberspace as a hot mess for years, please consider attending local dance ministry workshops where classes are offered on choreography, Biblical foundations of dance, musical selections, garments, and dance ministry etiquette. You can click on any of the ministry links or do a search on dance ministry conferences and workshops on your favorite search engine or social media website. Do you really wanna?

Please be blessed by the ministry of Zion's Daughters...dancing from the heart!