Trained vs. untrained dance in mission

In the latest Network Leaders ‘cyber-chat’ session, ICDF network coordinators reflected on some topics relating to Christian dance. Linda shares her thoughts about ‘trained vs. untrained dance’…

I always say that if the “heart” was God’s priority choosing David as King, it should be for us too.

There have been times when I have been more blessed by a worship leader who is slightly off key, or by a dance worshipper who is clearly not as trained, because the Holy Spirit has swept through the worship to touch hearts. It is a beautiful mystery only God knows and acts the way He does, but I love those moments …. especially as I still dance at my age, and that is not typical or expected.

I wonder if the difference is that when God moves in a church setting, and we all are one in Spirit and focus, He will always use anyone powerfully!

The emphasis on training might be suitable in a public setting for reaching unbelievers. People can be drawn in by the high level of technique that they have seen on TV and stage, and discover participants are Christians and have a higher message — perhaps bringing together skill and message makes it more powerful?

— Linda (Missions Network Coordinator)

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Restoration of Ministry

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’)

I was thrilled and terrified to be asked to join the Compass Dance Academy, where I presently am Director as I had been 18 years out of dance when I became a Christian, after being told ‘Christians don’t dance!’

You all know how ridiculously out of shape and ability a few weeks out of dance make you feel…..but 18 yrs?? Don’t be silly……but God! I am now dancing weekly with young twenty to forty year old teachers…and not too shabbily either, though I can hardly believe I do. I hover upstage as much as possible, but technique from the seventies is just flooding back to my body…albeit not quite so “develo-ped” in level or “jeted” in elevation. Still, God is beyond good to restore to me the years the locusts have eaten, and I am sooo grateful. Hopefully God will give us a bigger studio space next year as we are busting at the seams with 250 students and climbing.

But wherever the dance leads in 2016, I follow our Bridegroom trustingly for I know I will not bump into a wall or other dancers in the “ballroom” of life, but surrender to His redirections or harder technique willingly.

How can I be a full-time dance Missionary?

How can I be a full-time dance Missionary?

Well you CAN….that’s the point!

I meet so many trained dancers, and semi-trained dancers who are delighted to hear there is an alternative to the extremes of only being on the stage or dancing just as a hobby.
It is a strong Christian who can survive and even OVERCOME the stresses and immorality of the Professional Dance circuit. Some see it as their “Mission field” but it is near impossible to be free to attend Church and continue growing as a Disciple of Christ. I applaud those strong enough to do so.
dance feet 004 500kbBeing a Dance Missionary is becoming more and more an option. I see my Mission Organization (OM International) growing in awareness, and desire to facilitate Artists on the field. We have OMArts teams in: Ireland, UK, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Kosovo, Turkey (TACO), South Africa, Costa Rica, Ships, and Brazil, with on-going short terms in Portugal, Hungary, Czech Republic and elsewhere, at present. More leaders are opening their minds and hearts to the idea as they see effective evangelism through art and relationship creatively evolving.

Short-term Mission trips are numerous in OM, but full-time is also becoming quite prolific. Incarnate is a 3-month training in Italy. It is a great place for a dancer to get foundational training in Biblical Arts, Spiritual Formation, Missions, Short-Term Placement, etc. to all the more well-prepare them for a career in full-time Mission in the Arts. Dancelink has produced one full-time Dance Missionary for every year that it has existed since 2006. I believe God is producing a tsunami of artists in our time, and artists of all generations are joining together joyfully and creatively to reach the lost souls of mankind, who frankly seem to fluctuate between the fear of the “Terror” developing in every Continent….and Cynicism/Despair.

Wherever I go, art arrests people in any situation or environment….yes even in war-torn areas…

IF Artists dare to stand amidst ruins and perform…..

we dare!!

Many avoid or run from dangerous situations…I have….but when one finally discovers deep within that no place is really safe, except “loving not your life even unto death” THERE is where total peace and safety truly reign.
I have been in dire circumstances and seen God move powerfully, for the Media never really represent an area accurately. Once we come to terms with “going into all the world” no matter where that may be…THEN….we begin to see those living in the reality of “greater works than these shall ye do.”

Of course we don’t go blasé into places where angels fear to tread….unless God says so. We only do the things He tells us to, for THAT is “safe.” John 14: 31

I take well-trained and less-trained dancers, and repeatedly see them blessing each other, as professionals humbly assist and develop others’ technical ability as well as their own, and the lesser-trained overcome seeming humiliation, and persevere to “catch up.” It is beautiful…to see a dance piece choreographed for varying abilities, and each one “preferring others in love.”

Once a dancer has experienced at least one short-term Mission trip, the door is opened for pursuing long-term opportunities.

Whatever gift(s) God has given you, He has given so you can worship Him through it, not yourself.

Whatever gift(s) He has given you, are given so you can direct people to Him through it, not yourself.

The applause was never meant to boost our ego at all, but to make HIM famous.

Get that…and you get it all.

I used to come off the professional stage feeling empty and addicted to limelight. Now, I smile as I take off my costumes and makeup….knowing someone is going to be in Heaven because I danced!

Linda Wells

ICDF Network – Missions coordinator    &
Director of Dancelink and Compass Dance Academy

[Photo taken by Johanna Cardinal with full permission of dancers / participants]

Why is dance so effective in missions?

Visual communication can assault the heart, even bypassing the mind.

Sadly, Hollywood assaults us with immorality and occult spirituality. BUT if this comment is true, then we make no apology for assaulting people’s hearts with truth and purity.

Visual Communication is powerful communication cross-culturally, and years learning language is unnecessary, if long-term workers are present for translation one on one after presentation on stage, in parks or in town squares.

EVERY culture appreciates and understands Artistic expression. Prejudices and barriers fall to the ground, and relationships form effortlessly. Muslim cultures are seemingly the most responsive to art and friendship…..go figure!

~ Linda Wells

ICDF Network Coordinator “Missions”