#That Garment Conversation...Again

. . . Do not therefore let what seems good to you be considered an evil thing [by someone else]. [In other words, do not give occasion for others to criticize that which is justifiable for you.]
~ Romans 14:16 (AMP)

     There can never be too many blogs, books, online classes or conference workshops about appropriate attire for dance ministries. While there are many dancers who have invested time, effort and money to dress themselves in garments that are both beautiful and modest, there are still too many who wear clothing that is either too tight, revealing or doesn't fit well because it is too large or does not cover enough of the body. A few of the common reasons for this are:

     "It doesn't matter what you wear, God is looking at your heart"   It's true that God does look at our heart, but taking 1 Samuel 6:7 out of context to justify not wearing the proper attire when we dance isn't going to change what people see. We never want to be a stumbling block for anyone.

     "Dance garments are expensive" Wrong...some dance garments are expensive, but some are very inexpensive and well-made. In addition, there are ways to make beautiful coverings with 2 yards of fabric that don't even require sewing skills. The other problem with this argument is that some of us who complain that dance garments are expensive will spend the same amount of money or more on worldly concert tickets, hair weaves, shoes, and handbags. What is our real priority?

     "I don't need to wear pants under my skirt or dress if I have on tights"  For modesty purposes, ladies should always wear the wide legged palazzo pants under a skirt or dress. That way, we can be free to move without anyone seeing something of ours that should only be seen by our mates at home. Men (and some women) in a church service should not have to struggle to focus on God because they are seeing crotches on the platform! 

     "I can't help it if I have a lot up top, that's the way God made me" You can't control your genetics, but you can control how it is seen. Ladies, please wear proper undergarments that don't allow your bust to bounce up and down when you move. Make sure you wear pasties if you need them, or put folded tissue in the front of your bra. Some type of overdress or overlay should be worn over a leotard. The worship dresses that are made by the dancewear companies look may beautiful on children, but not so nice on women because they call attention to our bust. The body is not shameful, but once again, we don't want to call attention to our form, because the focus in worship is always on God. Anything that takes away from that is a distraction.

     "Those praise dance garments look plain and old-fashioned"  A long time ago, when dancewear manufacturers discovered there was a market for worship dance attire, they created garments based on their perception of dance, and of the church. The result was often drab, non-interesting, cheesy looking, almost comical items. Their stock consisted of ruffles, bib-tops, and dresses that looked like choir robes or togas, instead of the beautiful selection of garments now available. As people who were gifted to sew began to create dancewear that was colorful and modest, the amount of garments available increased tremendously. Today we can look anywhere online and find very nice attire for all budgets. It's not necessary to buy the most expensive garments, but it is important to purchase the nicest ones that you can afford. Even if you don't have a lot of money, you can create a worship dance top using 2 yards of 45" or 60" fabric, secured with safety pins on the inside and tied at the shoulder over a leotard. The same length of fabric can also be wrapped without any pins at all. 
(We can show you how to do this in detail in a future blog).

      A great reference is Garments of Glory, a downloadable e-book by Jocelyn Richard of Visual Praise Ministries in Augusta, GA (www.thepraisedancelife). Jocelyn has a wealth of information about garments and other aspects of the dance ministry from her many years of experience as a worship dance leader. Her e-book includes full-color pictures, historical references and a list of reputable and affordable dance garment makers. You can purchase and download it here: http://store.payloadz.com/details/843062-ebooks-religion-and-spirituality-garments-of-glory.html

     It can never be stressed enough that one of the main reasons that praise and worship dance is still not accepted in some churches is because of the way dancers are dressed. I was in a fabric store one day and an older woman began to lecture me on why she didn't like praise dance, and how disgraceful women looked in what they wore. She was so offended by their immodesty that she didn't even believe that anyone could do anything different than what she had seen. What a shame! Someone did not receive the message of the dance (if there was one) because of a preventable situation.

     As a member of the National Liturgical Dance Network, I want to share this best practice information with as many in the dance ministry community as possible, because once we learn something, we need to pass it on to others. Please feel free to share the this blog and slideshow I created with anyone you feel could benefit from seeing it. You can go to the video and share it directly from You Tube. The garments pictured are but a few of many examples of attire that is beautiful and appropriate in any church setting. The purpose of the slideshow is not to endorse any garment maker. You can go online and type in "Worship Dance Garments" or "Praise Dance Garments", and several options will show in your browser. If you would like any additional information about garments, you can e-mail me at: urbanartz212@gmail.com, and I will be happy to direct you to more resources. You can also contact the National Liturgical Dance Network, Foot of the Cross Ministries, Dancing for Him Ministries or any of the ministries and garment makers in the info section of the blog. We would love to help you dress for glory and beauty!

     I hope that I've posted something that can help the dance ministry to grow, and to be perceived in the way that God intends. 

Be blessed, and as always, Keep Dancing for Christ!


Remember Why...

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

     Resurrection Sunday, also known as Easter is fast approaching and many people are preparing to celebrate by shopping for new outfits, cooking elaborate meals, and planning fun activities for children. There will also be an array of pageantry, plays, musicals, and artistic expressions at worship gatherings around the world.

     As we prepare for Sunday service, whether it is a Passion Play, Stations of the Cross, dance, singing, spoken word, or any other art form, please remember to not get so caught up and consumed by the act of performing service that it becomes more important than the worship of Christ, or the people you are ministering to. Too many times we get excited by lights, staging, cameras, crowds, and sound systems that we forget how to speak to others and how to treat them. If someone forgets where to stand, or misses a cue, do we belittle them, or do we exercise the fruit of patience? Do we become so concerned with garments and costumes, that we disregard the person who is wearing them? This is not a show we are doing, it's the communication of the Good News for an audience of people who may have never heard or seen it. It's not for us to display our talents and skills, although that will happen. God is the director and producer of all that we do!

     Last of all. this is a busy time.  People have a lot going on around them...if something does not go as planned, please remember that what you have to say is never more important than the person you are saying it to.

     Be Blessed...and wise.

We Are Free!

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)

     On the day that is remembered as Good Friday, let's remember why it has that name...the day that Christ died on the cross in our place, receiving the punishment that we should have received so that we could be free. That's Good News! Whatever you do today, consider Christ and his life, not just on today, but everyday.

     Please enjoy this classic worship song by Morris Chapman, "We Are Free":