Competitive Praise...Really?

     Within the dance ministry there has been a growing trend to hold Praise Dance Competitions. While it is not my place to judge the spiritual condition of those who host or participate in these events, I do question the basis for their existence in the worship community. By definition, praise or liturgical dance is: (1) A dance divinely inspired by God for public or private worship; (2)  Dance done as a praise and worship tool to honor the holiness and supremacy of God as a vehicle of prayer, intercession, and witnessing.  As part of our personal relationship with God, praise dance is done to uplift and encourage others in their worship. There is no scripture in the Bible that even suggests that praise and worship is competitive; in the book of Psalms, the musicians, singers, and dancers were inspired by God to minister together in their praise to Him.

     In the secular arena, there are dance competitions in which participants vie for monetary prizes, scholarships, further performance opporuntities and exposure. They are judged on the basis of technical strength, showmanship, originality, and costuming. These competitions are exciting and fun to watch, but there are always winners, and those who don't place. There are many in the dance ministry who are extremely talented, but God doesn't esteem their worship any higher than of those who worship by only lifting their hands.

     There is a big difference between dance as an artform, and the artform of dance as worship. Both have their places in the world and although at times they may look similar, they are not. Competitiveness is what caused disruption in the heavenlies when Lucifer said:  "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:14). Isn't that just like the enemy to have God's people competing against one another? Once this happens, there is no more praise, just confusion. According to Ps.22:3 God inhabits the praises of His people... if His people are no longer praising, I will be headed for the nearest exit door!

     We can't be like anyone else, or observe what they are doing to become better than they are. It's impossible to compete with others without comparing ourselves to them. When we do this, we will either feel that we are superior to them, or that they are superior to us because after all, there can only be one winner, right? So, the next time you receive that flyer, e-mail or inbox invitation to compete with your praise, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who are the judges?
  • What qualifies someone to be a judge of praise?
  • What is the criteria for winning?
  • What makes one person's praise better than another's?
  • What is the prize for having the "best" praise?
  • How does one become a "loser"?
  • How does this promote true worship?                                                                                             
But the time is coming and is already here, when by the power of God's Spirit people will worship the Father as he really is, offering him the true worship that he wants. (John 4:23-GNT)

Enjoy this presentation by the Tribe of Judah:

 (1) Dancer's Array, Liturgical Dance Conference
 (2) National Liturgical Dance Network


Heather said...

Amen and Amen. I agree with you completely. Very well written. Be blessed!

Poetry of Motion! said...

thanks for reading and responding. be blessed and keep dancing for Christ!

Lynnea-Praise is what I do! said...

I have asked the same question.... Although some may mean right when they do this, it's so important to ask God for wisdom. There were many things that I did not know when I began dancing for the Lord and sometimes I cringe even thinking about some mistakes I've made! But thank God for Holy Spirit, that always reveals the truth!

God bless you sister, I enjoy your posts!

His Hem Ministry, LLC said...

Just yesterday, a fellow dance-minister and I were discussing the mean-spirited 'spirit of competition' and control that we have seen up-closed in dance ministries and among fellow worship-artists. God help us all!
Thanks for keeping this 'issue' in our forefront ...
Sis. Stephanie

dancingangel said...

I so agree. When I was the director of our dance ministry, I was asked many times by some of the young people if we could enter competitons. I'm so glad I followed my heart and said no. You are doing a mighty work for the Kingdom. Be blessed.

Jacob Shamon said...

Nice Information

praise dance

Poetry of Motion! said...

Thanks for reading!