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?
- 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.
- 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.
Sonia Kong, PDCM