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Can we dance in the service?; If OK, how?
Topic Started: Sep 7 2007, 11:57 PM (3,204 Views)
daego
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Feeb
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Hi, I am Daego from China. We are discussing one topic, can we dance in the service? Most of Chinese Chrisytian will say no. They think the service should be serious.

I wanna know what you think.
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HelenaZF
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"more is more"

Welcome to ZFF, Daego. :)

Not every church embraces dance as worship and praise, however the scriptures speak much about using our bodies to express our worship to the Lord. Dance is a part of doing so.

When one comes to an understanding that we are 3-part beings: body, soul, and spirit, then it is logical to say that it is just as important for the body to be offered in worship as our songs and our spoken praises. (See Romans 12:1.) I think that is quite serious. So maybe thinking that dancing before the Lord in the service is not "serious" is a false understanding of what holiness and seriousness really is.

How does one dance appropriately in the service? By using movements that glorify God rather than draw attention to the dancer. By expressing exhuberant praise that encourages others to also praise. By interpreting songs that demonstrate attitudes of worship to the Lord. I know that is a very general description, but worship dance can take many forms, often related to regional and cultural practices. There is not one "right" way to dance appropriately in the service from a technique standpoint. However, it is very important that the attitude of the heart of the dancer is one of worship, surrender, and submission to the church authorities.

Now, I've answered your question, let me ask you: Do you dance or wish to dance as part of your worship in the service? What has prompted your question?
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daego
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Thank you so much your reply. I agree with you totally. Can you show me some video about dancing in the worship?

We never dance in the service except once. At that time I was deeply moved by the dance - tears came to my eyes. I had never had this kind of experience before.

A sister with her partners danced when they celebrated finishing their new church and giving to God. But a pastor said in a service after that it was not suitable. He condemned dancing came from lust.

This sister came and asked for others' opinions in our BBS.

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HelenaZF
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I am sorry your friend was criticized for celebrating their occasion with dancing. Although dance can be mis-used in the way the pastor describes, it is wrong to condemn all dancing as lustful. Dance is a gift from God and can be perverted by the enemy....but it was not invented by the enemy. It was invented and instituted by God. In fact, God as the Trinity, "dances" with Himself. One of the Greek words used to describe the Godhead is perichoresis (litereally 'going around') which is a picture of the Trinity moving in a dance with one another. We get our modern day word "choreography" from this concept. The Psalms also talk about the "dance of mahanayim" (dance of two companies) which refers to the heavenly dance that goes on in union with earthly dancing. The Psalms are full of references to dancing before the Lord.

Have you come across this topic yet? "Video of Dance & everything"
http://zionfirefriends.com/index.php?showtopic=1557

Restored to Glory offers some dance videos for sale on their site:
http://www.danceministry.com/index.html

We are preparing to leave for a dance ministry conference shortly, so I don't have time to research more for you at the present time. Perhaps another ZFFriend will post up a video or two that you could access.
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DeanZF
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daego
Sep 9 2007, 08:01 PM
I was deeply moved by the dance - tears came to my eyes. I had never had this kind of experience before.

A sister with her partners danced when they celebrated finishing their new church and giving to God. But a pastor said in a service after that it was not suitable. He condemned dancing came from lust.

Hello Daego and welcome to ZionFireFriends. We are glad that you have joined us!

You have asked one of the more difficult questions that the church in the United States and around the world have faced. Actually, it goes back even further than that. Remember that King David's wife, Michal, was also offended by David's dancing before the Lord. She seemed to feel that dancing like that, "with those common people", was beneath the dignity and office of her husband the king of Israel. David the king had his priorities correct, however, and told Michal that if she thought that was foolishness, he would continue to be a fool before his Lord and God.

In today's world, people's concept of what is right and wrong seems to be more important than what God's Word says about things. That's true both in the church and among unbelievers. In our country, we hear that God hates divorce and yet divorce among Christians is about the same as it is for people who do not claim to believe in God or His rules of life. We hear that God says sexual union is for married people only and yet we have many children born with no earthly father to claim them, into single mother homes.

And in our world, we read in God's Word that dance is an expected way to honor Him, to celebrate Him, to honor Him, and yet we hear people say that it is of the devil or out of lust and sexual perversion! Maybe those people read a different Bible than I do! :)

God invented this thing called dance. We read in John 1 that ALL things were created by Him and that NOTHING exists that was not created by Him! Rule number 1 is that if God creates it, who are we to call it unclean or improper?

Not all dance is pure and noble. Yes, some dance has been "stolen" by the enemy and twisted into something sensual or even sexual. That sort of dance should not be found in our church services. I can agree with any pastor who is correcting that sort of incorrect behavior, but if the pastor sees ALL dance as incorrect behavior, I have to take that pastor to the Word of God and ask just where it is that God has condemned all dancing. In the psalms (part of God's INSPIRED Word, not man's!), we read in the last psalms that we are to praise Him with the dance. In Romans 12, each of us is told to present the entire body as a living sacrifice of worship. Our WHOLE body. And there are always Jesus' own words about loving our Lord with all of our strength, our heart, our mind, and our soul. What better example of using all of our physical strength is there than dancing before Him as David danced?

If your sister danced modestly and with a pure heart before our God, there is no shame and I feel the pastor was out of line. If the pastor incorrectly spoke to her, he spoke with the same mindset as Michal. Pray for him for revelation of God's truth, but don't dance there until there is a change of heart. To do so would be disobedient to the pastor and disrespectful. Your dancing will have to take place elsewhere, either among other believers who understand and encourage the worship of the psalms, or even at home in your own "secret place".

It's also a great aid to prayer for some people.

I hope this helps, Daego. God bless you!
Blessings!

Dean
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Dave
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Hi Daego,

I can commend everything that Dean and Helena have said to you. They are wise and experienced people who are a blessing to many.

Let me just add a few comments of my own.

Historically, Christians generally believed that dancing was wrong. They had looked at dance in the “world”, found it to be immoral, and concluded that it was a sin to dance. This view was taught or passed down to generations of believers who accepted it as one of the behavioural norms that are part of the evangelical subculture.

Whilst this mindset is no longer universal, there are still many people who hold it, and even greater numbers who have been influenced by it. I suspect that the pastor who condemned the dancing in your situation has this view.

But there are four major problems with this approach:

  • Firstly, the reasoning is not correct. The world’s dancing is not all immoral. I have studied at several secular dance schools, and I never encountered anything that was even remotely immoral. Many other people have had similar experiences.

  • Secondly, our approach should not be based on the worst examples from unbelievers or its potential for abuse. Why should we let the world’s behaviour define ours?

  • Thirdly, the methodology is isolationist. There is no interaction with the dance community and the views of Christian dancers are not considered.

  • Fourthly, it ignores or dismisses the biblical references to dance. The bible is studied by people who are opposed to dance and seek to justify their view.
I think it’s helpful to compare dance to, for example, books and music:

  • In years gone by (and I’m sure you can relate to this), many books have been written that have been highly destructive. But no Christian would say that this means all books are wrong, and few Christians would say that all “secular” books are worthless or immoral.

  • We see that the Bible mentions music many times, and we want to use music to worship God. But the bible is not a music textbook, and there are many types of music today. Whilst we may sometimes disagree over musical styles, we would never say that all music is “sinful”.
Dance does seem to get treated differently to everything else. The reasons for this are more cultural than biblical. I would encourage you to study the Bible and see what it does say about dance. Dancing to the Lord is mentioned more times than being born again is.

The Bible is silent on the specifics of how we should dance, but I think a useful verse to consider is 1 Cor 14:40, where Paul says "But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way". Although this verse comes from a famous passage on spiritual gifts, the context is gatherings for worship. I believe it does give a principle that we can apply to everything that happens in our church services, including dance.

Dance in church must be done in a fitting and orderly way. It should both glorify God and encourage the congregation. The people who watch the dance must be able to understand and relate to it. The style of movement, costuming, and music should all be appropriate and not cause undue offence. But there is huge scope for variation within these guidelines, and what is right for one church may be wrong for another.

I can probably find you some videos of dancing, but can you say a bit more about your church situation. For example, what type of church is it, what are your services like, and what style of music do you use. Also, what sort of dance are you interested in?

I am thrilled that Christians in China are dancing for the Lord, and I’m pleased you’ve taken the trouble to share your questions with us here.

Many blessings,

Dave
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daego
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Thank you. I can't view that video. Too slow for me.

I am so glad to hear your opinions and I totally agree with all of you. Many Chinese Christians think dancing is OK but not suitable for the service. They need a serious and quiet service. King David's example is just an exception for them.

I don't want to debate this issue with them any more. I think the African people may like dancing more than Chinese people and maybe they will dance during the service to praise God. Maybe it is a culture problem that causes some Chinese Christians insist their opinion about dancing is right. I just want to see the actual outside world. That's why I googled and found here.


:) :tallit:
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DeanZF
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Daego,

You are correct that culture can affect how we do things. A great concern for me is when culture overrides scripture. Culture can be a guide certainly, but when the inspired Word of God is so specific, culture may need to move over so that God can speak through whatever methods He might choose. Just as you described in an earlier post how it spoke to you, it also speaks to others. POSITIVE messages, not messages of lust.

Yours is a difficult situation, so we'll be praying for revelation for your pastor and congregation.
Blessings!

Dean
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daego
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To Dave,

I really appreciate your reply. Although I also believe dance is a good gift from God. Your reply is clear and useful for me. YOU ARE very patient. I am sorry I cannot meet such an attitude when discussing in our BBS. I am an administrator there but now I want to flee from there.

I was once a choir director in a small town church. Most of the members are young workers nearby.

By the way, I am living in Shenzhen, near Hongkong. There are a lot of factories and thousands of young men and young wemen here. They work day and night to earn about 1000 RMB yuan($125) a month.

Now I leave that church, where we had a very happy time. I have no education on music. Before becoming the director, I was just a member of the youth choir in Shenzhen city church.

Although only a few knowledge I have on music, I tried to lead the choir to enjoy in the praise. Most of them also had few education on music. But I could heard the angel's voice among them.

(to be continued)


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DPWT
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daego
Sep 12 2007, 06:26 AM
To Dave,

I really appreciate your reply. Although I also believe dance is a good gift from God. Your reply is clear and useful for me. YOU ARE very patient. I am sorry I cannot meet such an attitude when discussing in our BBS. I am an administrator there but now I want to flee from there.

I was once a choir director in a small town church. Most of the members are young workers nearby.

By the way, I am living in Shenzhen, near Hongkong. There are a lot of factories and thousands of young men and young wemen here. They work day and night to earn about 1000 RMB yuan($125) a month.

Now I leave that church, where we had a very happy time. I have no education on music. Before becoming the director, I was just a member of the youth choir in Shenzhen city church.

Although only a few knowledge I have on music, I tried to lead the choir to enjoy in the praise. Most of them also had few education on music. But I could heard the angel's voice among them.

(to be continued)

HI! Tina here:

Seems like I've missed alot of good stuff here.

I'll pray that the same encounter you had with the HOLY SPIRIT during the Dance will be giving to the Pastor. Until it becomes that Sweet Smell we all know He want allow it.

Thank YOU! for being apart of what GOD is doing in my LIFE for HIM!
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HelenaZF
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I see by your post, daego, that God has used you in your church in a way that is accepted there...through the music ministry and choir.

This may be an avenue the Lord has given you to bring some "dance" into the service in a non-threatening way. By this, I mean that the choir could be taught to do some movements as they sing. It doesn't have to be on every song, or anything complicated: it could be swaying, clapping while turning side to side, or lifting their hands in a choreographed way.

You say you have left that church, but if you find yourself working with a choir that way again, perhaps your pastor would be open to that kind of physical expression from the choir members? If introduced gradually, it would not be quite so shocking to the congregation as bringing in a dance troupe.

Just a thought to consider. :)
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DeanZF
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HelenaZF
Oct 5 2007, 09:01 AM
...if you find yourself working with a choir that way again, perhaps your pastor would be open to that kind of physical expression from the choir members?  If introduced gradually, it would not be quite so shocking to the congregation as bringing in a dance troupe.

What Helena shared is so true! And you might even consider doing those movements to some special piece of music that your congregation does not know, maybe in conjunction with a missionary or evangelism theme. So many cultures are so very expressive in their movements that their songs are almost a translation of the movement language that is the real message! Or if the theme of the day was something to do with the Hebrews or Jews. Again, that culture is full of movement. Miriam celebrated the crossing of the Red Sea by organizing a dance! :twirl:

As Helena said, just a thought. Training is not the all important issue. It's more about how God can use you, either through training, in spite of training, or in an area where there is no training.
Blessings!

Dean
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