New season

In the latest Network Leaders ‘cyber-chat’ session, ICDF network coordinators reflected on some topics relating to Christian dance. Sharon shares her thoughts about a ‘new season’…

As I visit churches, teach and chat to people, I see an interest from dancers and non-dancers to dance for the Lord: to dance at home privately just for the joy of it in worship; to dance their story for the world; or to dance just because it’s in them. I see little girls dancing during worship in churches – too young to ‘know better’. I see older ones, guys and girls, dancing to the side at churches that allow it and I wish they had centre front.

I talk to ladies who tell me they dance in their imagination during worship, and I imagine the Lord able to bless His children to dance more and more around the world with His heart and His joyous, passionate freedom. Beyond just dance, I also see more people launching out artistically and with flags and banners, in inspired prayer, and with more signing to bring in the deaf community. There’s a new season starting for Christian Dance.

— Sharon (Fitness, Well-being & Movement Meditation Network Coordinator)

Combining Church and exercise!?!

Maybe we’re an odd bunch in this network. Christians who are also really into fitness and exercise *and* who want to combine the two! We could keep Christianity in the church, and exercise in the gym, but actually, bringing the two together has lots of benefits.

The WHY of a Christian fitness class:

  • We can bring a positive and godly approach to fitness – so often fitness becomes more about appearance than health, even becoming highly competitive and obsessive. But we can focus on valuing each other as we are and inspiring each other towards maintaining a good level of health and fitness for greater purposes.
  • The health benefits! – fitter and more energetic Christians bring that energy to their faith-life.
  • We can provide classes that are affordable, using our church halls or just meeting at a nearby park – equipment isn’t necessary for a fun and effective workout.
  • There’s the added blessing of fellowship with others with  the shared goal of being a healthier Christian – we can support each other and pray for each other.
  • The class can also bless our spirit with contemplation on Scripture – there is lots of different ways of including Bible verses in the class to fuel and nourish our spirit whilst we move and stretch our bodies.

Doesn’t that sound like plenty of reasons to have Christian fitness classes?

So, for now, those of us who share my excitement might be an odd bunch, but I reckon that it wont be long before others catch on and we’ll just be normal and commonplace because all the churches have fitness classes or groups. We don’t have to be all weird about it. Soon enough, we’ll be moving, chatting, puffing a little and rejoicing about being a more fit and fired up church. ICDF

If you’re going to the ICDF conference in Ghana next month, I’ll be looking forward to seeing you there, and you’ll be very welcome at my workshops.

For more information about this network, go to: http://icdf.com/en/networks/fitness-well-being-and-movement-meditation.

 

Faith-based Fitness Programs Trending

Some churches have their own gym! Some churches have yoga classes!  Other churches might take fright at even the mention of exercise at church but a growing number of churches have Christian fitness classes.

I don’t know what it’s like in your country, but I see around me here in Australia a growing interest in spiritual solutions for the troubles of life. Perhaps that’s why yoga is spreading around the world – people love the blend of exercise and spirituality. Christian exercise classes offer the best combination with the Living Word of God and His presence together with a balanced workout and the fellowship of other believers.

As Pete McCall, Personal Trainer, writes in this article, 10 Fitness Trends to Look Out For in 2016 ,  he rates faith-based fitness programs as the number 2 trend of the year! He predicts that programs in churches and other religious centres will become mainstream:

Faith-based communities are gathering places where people come together based on shared values and beliefs. . .

David Jack, the owner of the ActivLab studio in Phoenix, is adamant about the role that spiritual well-being plays in creating the right physical well-being. “If an individual is a member of a faith-based community, he or she is already a member of a community that can provide an environment for community, emotional, mental, spiritual and physical growth. Fitness, wellness and health play an integral role in helping every individual honor their own faith. As people improve their faith and their fitness it helps promote stronger families and communities. Activate the best, magnify the good.”

Faith-based exercise programs won’t replace traditional health clubs, but they will become more popular as people who share the same spiritual beliefs come together to improve their physical well-being.

The church is in the perfect position to make the most of this trend. I’m excited, because David Jack is so right. We want to honor our faith by being fit and well, but we need our spirituality and the support of others to succeed with our fitness goals, because it really isn’t easy, is it?

A Christian fitness class can be any type of movement, but the key ingredients are the people that come together to strengthen and encourage one another with the Word, with love and with faith, as only believers can. Let us spur one another on! 🙂

Lastly, just a quick mention for now of the three types of Christian fitness classes that I teach with their logos below: PraiseMoves, Mira Dance & CaraMayan. I’ll share more in my next blog post.

Blessings,

~Sharon Ereaux

 

God is On the Move

From the Networks cyberforum:

“Like the choreography of a beautiful dance, the different ministries of God’s dance partners in the church are working together to bring God’s plan to fruition. God wants to dance with us.” (Brian Johnson – ‘Come Dance with Me’)

Dance is still quite new to me, having only started contemporary classes two years ago at the age of 34. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone here amongst ICDF family, in starting dance at a later age. I’ve been encouraged by remembering though, that the first thing I ever wanted to be was a ballet dancer. I was only three and I would look at the beautiful ballet picture books we had on our shelf that had belonged to an aunty who died long before I got the chance to meet her. She had loved doing ballet until she became unwell with leukemia as a young teen.

At 12 I tried Jazz ballet classes with friends, but it wasn’t my kind of dance, I realise now and I think also that I’d lost any natural mind-body connection for movement that I’d had. I was very much an in-my-head type of person. So it’s been a rewarding journey to get back in touch with my soul-body-movement connectedness.

I wasn’t going to share about the past to talk about this topic, but it’s so relevant to the present really isn’t it? In my dance and movement journey, I’m really feeling good about it all. My metaphorical dance with my Lord and Bridegroom is just really taking off, our partnering is closer, the music faster paced and more joyous.

After years of illness and fatigue and years of gradually getting back into life’s many facets, like studying, teaching classes, a new marriage, new responsibilities and socialising without a cloud of anxiety, I feel like I’m managing fairly well and that the fruitful future that I hoped for during so many years of pure struggle, doing just the bare basics of life, has arrived. It feels good. And I’m dancing with the Lord, letting Him carry me and lighten my steps. He spurs me on and lifts me higher than I could ever go without Him. He energises me and it’s glorious. I am clumsy at times, and I doubt at times, but I look to Him as He leads me through each transition.

I’m excited, because as I weave my dance into the larger work of ICDF, I find that my dance is in step with many others, though we’ve only just met. Our dances amplify each other’s and the combined effect creates reverberations that carry through the ground below our feet and out to those around. Those who see it are captivated and their hearts are captured by the joy and hope of it, the wordless message of new vibrant ‘spiritual energy’ Life! The rhythm speaks the message that every heart longs to hear: God is on the move. He’s a good God and He is moving to bring life and truth and healing and every good thing to His children that they would be a glorious bride. Joyous and fearless!

Amen   🙂

If only I could dance what is in my head. 😉

Ministry as Service: What are we serving?

I love to think of ministry as service, as administering what is needed. I wonder: what are we serving? Like waiters serving cups of tea, we’re serving real things of the Spirit. I can minister best when I’m full to overflowing with the loving and powerful presence of God.

I want to start to imagine the where and how of dance ministry.

How can we do more of it? Where else can we dance?

How can we easily spread it and multiply it for churches in our area?

How can we package it for churches and for outreach?

How can we mobilise more teams to travel for dance and movement ministry?

~Sharon Ereaux

From Anorexia to Wellness: Being Comfortable Within My Own Skin

How did I come to be coordinating the network for Fitness, Well-being and Movement Meditation to Scripture? I think if I was God and I was choosing someone to have a ministry in fitness and well-being, that I would choose someone who was doing pretty well in these spheres. Quite likely I’d opt for someone who already showed flair and who had a good track record. However, we know, don’t we, that God chooses those who are weak. This way, we can know for sure that it’s by His mighty hand that we become what we are in Him.

You see, when it comes to fitness and well-being I was doing quite the opposite. Now I promote a compassionate connection to our bodies, to feed them well on the Word of God. Not so many years ago, I was starving my body and depriving my soul. I didn’t know how disconnected I was from myself and from my God who longed to heal me.

From age fourteen I was on a slow slide into Anorexia Nervosa. I battled my body, fighting hunger and ignoring my soul’s deepest cries for nurturing. I reached my first very low point at age twenty. I specialized in depriving myself of food and often water as well. Fear and hatred compelled me as I set up food and my own flesh as my enemy.

I was sabotaging my own fitness and well-being in a desperate attempt just to feel OK in the world and within my own skin. Anorexia though is a torturous world and it only made life worse. Some Sundays at church I was too depleted to stand up and too breathless to sing in worship. I felt far from God and rather alone in the world. Some days I’d cry in frustration because I wanted to eat well, but I couldn’t let myself for the harsh constraint I felt within me. I came to realize that Anorexia itself wasn’t my actual problem and the gift it gave was to bring me face to face with my own deepest hurts and insecurities.

The good news is that I found another way to feel OK about myself and about life. The good news is, Jesus and I put myself in His hands. After years of ups and downs, I presented myself to Him, with the mess I’d made of my life and I chose His way. He’s been patient to heal and restore me. The world had nothing that could heal my heart. Our God is the only one who offers true Shalom well-being.

All this is why I am passionate and excited for this ministry of connecting deeply and bringing the living Word of God into our very soul. We breathe and stretch and let in the Spirit of Truth that brings freedom. What a way to come to know our wonderful Lord more and more!

To stay in the loop, just ‘follow’ this blog.

To join the network, email me. sharon.ereaux@gmail.com

~ Sharon

Sharon Ereaux Aug.2014

I don’t plan to always put up photos of me, but I thought this one shows freedom and joy and comfort within my own skin. 🙂

Zingy and Zesty: Fitness, Well-being & Movement Meditation

Fitness, Well-being & Movement Meditation. (F, W & MM.) Those are three harmonious ingredients for a fabulous network.

If I were making a cocktail drink, this would be a mighty good one. It would be delicious, nutritious and zingy! Fitness, plus well-being, blended with movement meditation.  Sharon blog may.2014

I’ll tell you why it’s delicious: The Word of God is delicious to my soul. Especially when combined with dance or exercise since then my body feels good moving in agreement to the Word. I’m lengthening limbs, opening out my chest and drinking in the blessed meanings. The Word of God is deliciously thirst quenching.

I’m absolutely sure that it’s vitally nutritious too. Why? Because when I’m moving to Scripture, I’m engaging with the Living Word. He’s my daily bread, the air I breathe. He’s the deepest need of my Spirit, the One who sustains me. I move and feast on Him.

About eight years ago, I was struggling through life. I was depressed, anxious, unwell and overwhelmed, a young mother in a very troubled marriage. I had grown up going to church and reading the Bible. I knew that the Bible spoke of “life to the full” and being an overcomer. I knew that Jesus spoke of peace and rest, but I had no idea how to get those good things in my life. All I felt was heaviness, grief and despair.

How do I get all those good things of God to be a reality in my life? That’s the question that has led me onwards.

Today I’m a new person. The Lord has taught me and guided me. His Word has come alive to me and I know His power to heal and restore. I’m a flower that’s now opened up and a butterfly, emerged from its chrysalis.

And that’s why I know that this network is zingy & zesty. It’s the spice of life, the excitement of powerful & godly transformation! There couldn’t be anything more personally exciting than growing more alive with my Lord.

Do you want to be a part of the network? We’re keen to take this to the world! There are a number of great programs already available and many are creating their own approach.

~ Sharon Ereaux

FWMM Network Coordinator : sharon.ereaux@gmail.com


Photo credit:

Image courtesy of KEKO64/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net