Lesson # 6 -When worship or praise dancers dance are they preaching?

August 26, 2008

When worship or praise dancers dance are they preaching?

This question was addressed to us and we will go to the Bible to answer this question. Our answer is yes as it relates to making a declaration and proclaiming the gospel message.

First we want to establish that dancing in NO way can ever take the place of audibly preaching the Word of God. Throughout Scripture we are given the example of preaching and teaching through audible means.

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they nave not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom.10:14)

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)

These Scriptures (and others) teach us how God intended for the Church to preach or proclaim the gospel message – by using our mouths.  There is NOTHING in Scripture that teaches us to preach the gospel message any other way than the SPOKEN WORD. In addition, Scripture gives us examples of methods adopted by certain ones. We find that prophets often demonstrated a Word from the Lord. However this demonstration did not take the place of the spoken Word. I believe it was used to amplify what was about to be said. People by nature love demonstration coupled with explanation. Why? Because it helps us learn and grasp the material better. When these prophets demonstrated the message, the words or the meaning of what they demonstrated ALWAYS followed.

“And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” (Acts 21:10-11)

In Ezekiel chapters 3 – 4, Ezekiel was used by God in demonstrating signs to the house of Israel (4:3), and the interpretation of what God did by way of demonstrations was told by spoken word to them.

Scripture teaches that there is a place for dance and/or demonstrations amongst God’s people in association with His Word. God gave many gifts to the church to use for edification purposes that are manifested in many different ways (1Cor. 12:4-6). Likewise, the way we communicate God’s Word can be communicated, demonstrated, explained or taught in many different ways. It is not how we do it, but what is important is that we do it Biblically for people to understand the message.

Sometimes as people we like to overemphasize things and make them out to be more than it really is. I call this over-spiritualizing things. As Dance Ministers we must understand that dance is a wonderful and powerful tool that we can use to comfort and encourage each other about the wonderful works of the Lord. We can even use dance, since it is a language, to amplify and proclaim through movement doctrinal truths. This is why I believe when we dance we are preaching as it relates to making a declaration and proclaiming the gospel message. We are declaring a message using using our bodies. This is done using various methods, but one common method is by using music. Our dance is usually dependent upon our music selection. As Dance Ministers it is important that we select music that is doctrinally correct so that our movements can preach!

Music selection is very important

When we dance we usually dance to music, this is why it is very important that we size up the music with the Word. Just because the music/song is labeled as “gospel music,” does not mean that it is doctrinally correct. If a song is doctrinally correct, the words of the song will line up with the Word (Bible) and it will deliver the message to the hearers the way God has ascribed (Rom. 10:17).

As Dance Ministers we dramatically act out or interpret the message with movement. Why?

  1. Because Dance Ministry (our demonstration) is a very powerful teaching and edification tool.  Demonstration coupled with an explanation, like I said before, helps us learn and grasp material better.
  2. Because we are relational created to relate. God created us to express ourselves toward Him and each other in many ways. One of the ways we express ourselves is through dance (Ps. 150) In our display of emotion, technique, life experience and knowledge of His truth we become the visions of God to the people. This means we serve as witnesses of His awesome work and when we dance, we proclaim to those we minister to that they are witnesses as well or can be (i.e an heir of salvation).

Therefore with excitement, love and joy we dance about the wonderful works of the Lord and we celebrate Him. Our dance amplifies God and teaches individuals by making demonstrations using our bodies.

Dance Ministers, Scripture teaches us that we are to preach the Word of God with our mouths. For those who are hearing impaired of course sign language is used for them because of their inability to hear. This by the way is a wonderful example of how demonstration speaks! However, for those of us who can hear, we hear the Word audibly. When we dance the message of the gospel it should always be accompanied by the spoken Word of God. In doing so we are in line with Scripture and there will be no misunderstanding or confusion about what the dance meant or what was declared through movement.

For example: If a soul has never heard the gospel message and the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is acted out in a dance or dramatic expression, they may simply think that it is sad story. How will they know that Jesus died on their behalf?

It is important to understand that every dance or dramatic expression is not done with music or words. Even if these are present in the dance (which is often limited in the song to words such as “he died for me”), still some may not understand. It is not enough to know that He died, but we also have to tell the lost WHY He died and the RESULT of it. We can not give them half of the gospel. Sometimes the dance coupled with the song is self-explanatory like “Lord we love you, we praise you and adore you,” but when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ- it MUST be preached using the spoken word.

Blessings,

Sonia Kong, PDCM

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  1. Min. Julian M.

    I dnt know how this got sent to me, but i dont think that dancing is a form of preaching in any way. It is a form of worship, but nowhere in the bible is it used to Preach to anyone. I additonally dnt agree with the Mime and banner waving that goes on now in the church. Jesus cast out the death and the dumb spirit, so why are they in the church not Giving praise with their voice? Making a Joyful “Noise”? I believe that these are just new ways, and devices of the enemy to bring more of the world in the Church. People liked to dance and twerk in the clubs (lol) so in order to compromise, they have brought their style of dancing into the church.
    Now please dont get me wrong, dancing in the church is aboslutly an approprate form of worship! I get down when the music is right, and the Spirit is moving, but i dnt agree with ppl, who have to set aside a time in the service, and make us (the saints) sit there and watch them dance and “perform” when i have the activity of my limbs and can dance for my self. Why do People want others to see them dance? Its not for people, but rather for the Lord, so why do we have to put praise dancing in the program?

    • Praise the Lord Min. Julian!

      Thank you for your honest opinion regarding dance in the church. I will address your questions/statement based on the Word of God.

      First I would like to say that dance in the church for years has been over spiritualized, that is, it is made out to be something it is not. When we dance, all we are doing is encouraging, comforting, and edifying the saints. That is it. We are using and giving back our natural talent to God to share with His people and to glorify Him. Everything that is on this earth (seen or unseen), everything that we have/posses and all of our abilities were created for Him and by Him (John 1:3). Some sing, some play instruments, some paint, some build and etc. – we dance. If those other art forms are acceptable, how come dance is not? I will answer that. It is because of a lack of knowledge,understanding and personal preference.

      Dance is actually one of the ways in which the Bible teaches that we should praise the Lord (Psalms 149:3) and it was done in times of celebration. As far as worship is concerned, technically, there is only one divine way to do it, and it is to be done in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). Everyone can praise the Lord, but everyone cannot worship the Lord.

      You said: “I additonally dnt agree with the Mime and banner waving that goes on now in the church.”
      I respect your personal opinion and you have every right to it.

      You said: “Jesus cast out the death and the dumb spirit, so why are they in the church not Giving praise with their voice? Making a Joyful “Noise”?”

      The dumb and deaf spirit that you are referring to has nothing to do with dance or praise, but every thing to do with a foul spirit (Mark 9:15-26). This foul spirit hurt the boy that it possessed – tearing him up, making him foam at the mouth and etc. Jesus cast the spirit out of the boy, not the church. Your implication that this spirit was cast out by Jesus so that the church can praise Him is not biblical (not sure if you were trying to be sarcastic, or funny, or honestly just did not understand the scripture in context. I hope I gave clarity). As it relates to making a joyful noise (singing or audibly praising the name of the Lord) is not the only way we are taught in scripture to praise Him. We are also taught to clap our hands (Ps. 47:1). There are many ways we can praise the Lord.

      You said: “I believe that these are just new ways, and devices of the enemy to bring more of the world in the Church.”

      Given all of the scriptures in the Bible about the ways we can and should praise the Lord, dance being one of them, it is not the devil bringing anything into the church. If anything, the devil copied off of God. It was God who started all things first. Not the devil. Just because the devil has his perverted and corrupt way of doing things does not mean that it is wrong or unacceptable to God when we, the children of God, offer Him praise with the ability that we have.

      You said” People liked to dance and twerk in the clubs (lol) so in order to compromise, they have brought their style of dancing into the church.

      It really does not matter if people like to dance in the club or in front of their mirror. When Christ becomes our savior then everything changes. We become new creatures (2Cor. 5:17) and we serve the Lord now with our whole heart and with everything we have. Just because some danced in the clubs does not mean they have to stop. They are not “compromising” anything. What has changed is the type or style of dance they used to do. They no longer drop it like it is hot, swing their hair back and forth or whatever the dances are today. If they want to go in the corner and dance before the Lord then who are we to say no, when God has clearly said YES. If they want to form a group and dance a message with a song to encourage the saints, then who are we to say no? Especially if the leader of the house has no problem with it, has allowed it, and it is done decently and in order. Who are we to be contest it? It seems that you personally have a problem with it. If your opinion and feelings about this is so strong and if they are dancing at your church and you don’t like it, then I suggest that you talk to your leaders about it and let them explain it to you and you to them – why you have a problem. Reason together so that everyone can have the same mind and rejoice in the Lord together and serve each other with whatever gifts are in the church.

      You said: “dancing in the church is aboslutly an approprate form of worship! I get down when the music is right, and the Spirit is moving, but i dnt agree with ppl, who have to set aside a time in the service, and make us (the saints) sit there and watch them dance and “perform” when i have the activity of my limbs and can dance for my self.”

      We should bless the Lord at all times with or without the music- when the music is “right” or not. Our praise should not be predicated upon music. The Holy Spirit by the way does not “move” to make anyone do anything. What is “moving” is the joy of the Lord on the inside of each and everyone of us and when we think of the goodness of Jesus we respond by clapping our hands, leaping for joy, dancing, singing and so forth. This is the emotional side of us responding to God and there is nothing wrong with it. The Holy Ghost is sent to do a spiritual work. He came to guide us into all truth (John 16:13) to reprove (Jn. 16:8), comfort (Acts 9:31), commission and direct and so much more, but not to shout and dance us. Praising God in any form is of our own volition.

      You said: who have to set aside a time in the service, and make us (the saints) sit there and watch them dance and “perform” when i have the activity of my limbs and can dance for my self.”

      The choir has a time set aside in the service to sing. I am sure you can sing for your self. Is the Choir “performing”? See, it is not about us and what we like or don’t like. God knows what we need and how to give it to us. Who are we to say a form of ministry is not of God? If your pastor has put it on the program, get with it or leave. No one is forcing you to watch or be a part of that ministry. If you see something you don’t like, and if it is going against the bible, then scripture teaches us to disassociate ourselves with those who are going against the gospel and doctrine. Is that what is happening or is it just something you don’t like?

      You said: “Why do People want others to see them dance? Its not for people, but rather for the Lord, so why do we have to put praise dancing in the program?”

      No one knows the motives of someones heart, only God. You may think that, but they may have a sincerity to minister (serve) the body of Christ with their ability to encourage and comfort wit love. Yes dancing is for the Lord, but praying is also and yet we gather to pray together to encourage one another. Praise is for the Lord, yet we gather together in His name to fellowship and worship and praise Him together. All of this is a comfort and encouragement. Why is dancing any different? I cannot tell you how many times I have been down and overwhelmed with life, then someone begins to open up their mouths, lift their hands, or do a dance… and it was like the sadness broke, and I began to praise God for them and with them. It was like… I felt whatever they were going through. Then I began to praise God for myself. Praise is a powerful thing, no matter what form it comes as long as it is biblical. It is okay not to like something, but if we choose not to like something that God’s Word says is acceptable and our leadership has allowed it, then we are stepping into rebellion.

      If your heart is hardened, seek God. Talk to your leadership and talk to the dance leader at your church so that you can come to an understanding and be for them and not against them.

      Praise the Lord and I pray that as you seek God, He will increase you with knowledge, wisdom and understanding of His Word.

      PDCM

  2. Min Lynn D. Dykes

    I agree with you PDCM. The Word of God says ” My people perish for a lack of knowledge. Thank you for sharing the knowledge and word of God to help those who do not understand the ministry of dance.

  3. Thank you Min Lynn D. Dykes and PDCM.

    Let us not get caught up in the division the devil is continueing to sow in the dance ministry, but as we take hands in taking the gospel to the nations through dance, let God be glorified. let’s continue in the race set before us.

    Much peace and love.

    Min Raynita N Robertson

  4. Amen Amen Amen Amen Amen
    Nicely spoken with love,truth and scriptures to back up what needed to clarify. I pray she received and further her studies in dancing for the Lord which started way back in Genesis When GOD Hovered over the water he was dancing.Hovered means to stretch out in an attitude of covering. Genesis 1:1-3

    Miriam the prophtess and other women dance using a tambourine a dance of victory when GOD set them free from Pharohs horses,chariots and horsemen that went into the sea. Exodus 15:19-20 plus more scriptures in His Words ( Bible ).Amen

    • Hi Annie!
      Thank you so much for your comment and encouragement. Dear Sis. I beg of you to help me with something (I am clapping in my heart really hard right now, I need a different perspective)…I am very curious of how you would explain God dancing in Genesis 1:1-3. I have read a lot of teachings on this (and I was recently asked about this scripture in relation to dance) and from my studies I can’t bring myself to agree with the teaching. What is your perspective on it? and what other scriptures can validate it? I want to learn and rightly divide God’s Word so that I can grow and grow others in the knowledge of the truth. Thank you so much and I look forward to your response.

      Blessings,
      Sonia

  5. Chiquista Proctor

    Hi Sonia, a great resource that I love to use to study the scriptures is http://www.biblehub.com as it allows you to pull up the scriptures in KJV and then access an online Strong’s concordance to see the Hebrew meaning for words in the Old Testament and Greek meaning for the New Testament. In Genesis 1:2 the scripture reads “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Spirit = Ruwach (breath, wind, spirit) moved = rachaph (flutter, move, shake) with that understanding think of when you see something caught in the wind and how it moves, dips, dives, flutters, dances in the atmosphere. This is the same image of Holy Spirit demonstrated as went forth creating the atmosphere and dwelling place for G-d most prized possession, US! There are dance terms all throughout both the old and new testament for dancing. In Zeph. 3:17 it says “The LORD your God in the middle of you is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will rest in his love, he will JOY over you with singing. JOY or Rejoice in other translations in this scripture means Giyl = to spin round (under the influence of any violent emotion). The L-rd is so excited about us that He gets off His throne and dances and sings over us. I hope this helps, if not I would love to share more.
    Min. Chiquista Proctor

  6. This discussion is worthy of note, in that it further brings the body of christ to light.

    We will thrive.

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