3 things to remember as a dance ministry leader

I often get asked what I consider the most important things when as a dance ministry leader. That’s a really difficult question to answer. However, I have picked out three things that underpin leadership journey and how I lead UC Grace and what I would recommend you think about as you explore leading a dance ministry.

Don’t feel like you’re a dance ministry leader? Whilst you might feel you’re not ‘leading’ anything specific. What I share can be applied to sharing Jesus with others, leading church groups and helping family members. It’s totally up to you how you choose to apply it.

Connecting to the holy spirit. Group of ladies chatting in a circle.

One – Connecting to the holy spirit

For me, connecting to the Holy Spirit, is the most important things as a dance ministry leader. I want the focus of the session to be about the capabilities of God, not mine. The best way to learn how to connect with the holy spirit as you lead, is to practice. To practice and to trust!

I choose to say some simple words in my head. They generally consist of ‘Father God help me’, or ‘please remind me this is about you and not me’, or even ‘this isn’t working God what should I do’. Most often, the answer is to wait, to pause!

Try it yourself

This week in your conversations or time of leading, choose to pause and put into practice welcoming the Holy Spirit into what you are doing. Does it make a difference? Please do let us know!

Two ladies reaching our their hands palms together pressing on.

Two – Acknowledging your struggles

Part of being a leader is sharing your strengths and your struggles. Choosing sometimes to make yourself vulnerable. You’re just as much a human as the people you maybe sharing with, therefore struggles are normal! I often find that it’s through an experience that I have that I then want to share. It comes from a place of encouragement and allowing others to see how they could move on with something they might be struggling with.

In the spirit of sharing. One thing I have been struggling with recently and working through is comparison. Comparison that what I am doing isn’t good enough or that it’s not a proper job or I’m not qualified to do it. It was during a recent zoom call with a lady in Canada that it reared it’s ugly head again. I knew God said, stop, as soon as my mind went down that rabbit hole. Stop comparing. But on the inside all I felt was unqualified to do the role. As the call went on, God interjected and revealed that the skillset I have is different to the other person.  It can’t even be compared to. It is beyond comparison as we are all unique.

That’s what we need to remember as a dance ministry leader. We are all unique. Do not compare your abilities, journey, struggles etc against anyone else. It’s just between you and God.

But the journey we have been on as leader, the stories we have can help shape someone. Therefore don’t be afraid to acknowledge your struggles not only to yourself and God, but also to those that you teach and share with.

Try it yourself

What have you struggled with recently? Is there a struggle that you can share with someone this week, that could encourage them?

Anna Gilderson standing at the front of a workshop leading a dance ministry

Three – Being clear and consistent when a dance ministry leader

In my early days of leading I found that I was quite wishy washy with my delivery. I couldn’t articulate very well what I wanted to happen and would seek assurance from the group that I was teaching through asking them lots of questions.

This tottering or wavering most likely came down to a lack of confidence, knowledge and experience. But as I have journeyed with leadership since, a reoccurring theme is the need to be clear and consistent with the subject that I am leading in.

Many many years on and I have learnt the art and way to deliver clear instructions, demonstrations, stories and communication between attendees and myself.

Consistency allows for a regular pattern to develop where attendees can feel safe in knowing the shape that the session with take. It also means they understand boundaries and I can be accountable for what is delivered.

If I restarted again ‘clear and consistent’ would be a tag line as I planned and delivered from the beginning. This doesn’t mean everything has to be planned to letter. It means that you take the time to understand the make up of the group that you are teaching and the best way to delivery to them.

Try it yourself

How do you feel about being clear and consistent when you lead? Is there one you struggle with more than the other?

What are your key things as a dance ministry leader? God has put inside each of us unique ways for us to lead. Sometimes to understand and grow that can take time. Our Christian Dance Leadership Programme provides a safe space to develop and grow your leadership skills. Head here to find out a bit more about it.

Pinterest blog title image.
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Drawing closer to a creative God

Have you considered the possibility that you are wired by a creative God, to think and be creative? 

This might sound strange and uncomfortable, if you would consider yourself as someone who doesn’t have a creative bone in their body.  Are you someone who would say “I’m not creative at all”, “I can do a bit of this and that” or “Yes I am creative”?

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:28

Dancing against the evening sky soaking in a creative God.

Where do you see a creative God?

I took this picture recently at a UC Grace workshop.  The sky, the birds that evening as well as my friends movement to a worship song were so awe inspiring, it caused me to stop what I was doing and take a moment to take it all in. 

Our heavenly father made all of this.  From darkness he made the world come into being.  You and I are made with the very same hands, in this very image.  We have a creator God, who made the fish, the sea, the birds and the stunning sunset and so much more.   He creates on mass, with an abundant quality, God doesn’t do things by halves.  God is the greatest creativity guru of all time and paints a canvas with the sky and the sea and so much more. 

How does that make us creative?

So if that’s true, perhaps he has wired you and I to possess something of this life-giving creativity ourselves.

Being fruitful and multiplying means ending up with more than you started with.  Perhaps God may have blessed you with an ability to dance, write, cook, be an entrepreneur, design something from scratch, build something out of wood or metal, sing, be a speaker….or perhaps you are yet to discover the gifts God has given you.  But I want to say to you today, He will have given you gifts to create something.  Gifts that He wants you to enjoy and develop, and also share with others.

Quote by Phylicia Rashad

How can I respond to knowing we have a creative God?

Consider doing some or all of the follow to help respond and explore this:

  1. What has God has blessed you with creatively?  An ability to dance, write, cook, be an entrepreneur, design something from scratch, build something out of wood or metal, sing, be a speaker….or something else?
  2. Write out the blessings that come to mind.
  3. Display them around your home as a reminder and encouragement of what God has given you. 
  4. Ask God to reveal a new way to share and bless others with these gifts today.

This has been written my Emma as part of our Scripture Prompt series. Scripture Prompts are weekly emails that share some different and creative ways to engage and go deeper with scripture. To find out more get in touch here

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Letting God’s spirit bring us closer to God.

This weeks scripture prompt explores Genesis 1.1-2, looking at how we can apply various aspects to our day to day life. One particular phrase in the verses that stands out to me is ‘the spirit of God was hovering over the waters’. Even as the world began, God’s spirit hovered and was with us.

God's spirit in the clouds at Studland 2021

How has God got my attention?

God works in different way, and, as I have walked through a tough season the past month I have witnessed different ways that God has caught my attention and called me to listen.

The first being the sky and clouds that we walk under each day and the second recognising the presence of God’s spirit.

The outside has always been a special place for me, it’s a place that calms me and focuses my attention on what needs to be focused on.

I have found that in those moments when I am struggling with life and need refreshment, I take a step outside. The depth of my faith comes from interacting with much of the outside world . Even as I write this, I am looking out the window and focusing on the trees behind the house opposite. How the wind is moving them in the breeze. The visible display of an invisible power. The exact way that God’s spirit works, weaving it’s presence in our lives.

Above those trees are the clouds. Fluffy clouds with darkness round the edges, a glimmer of baby blue at the top and bright white and sun poking through. This image that I see is a display of God’s glory and an open invitation to recognise how God moves in my life.

Letting God’s spirit infiltrate

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1.1-2

As I’ve been reflecting on Genesis 1.1-2 and my approach to life circumstances I began writing what was on my heart and writing what God was saying. The result of this was a heartfelt poem that I can impact others and encourage them with what they might not see, feel or hear God’s spirit.

Just remember, regardless of how we may feel, God will always be there!

You’re always there – Poem written August 2021 by Anna Gilderson

When the road never seems smooth and the waters never still.

When the wind relentlessly batters every aspect of your being.

He fights.

As your head feels turmoil and your eyes feel heavy.

As the voices speaks louder and the tussle grows stronger.

He is there.

So many things run through your mind

So much tension in your shoulders and,

So much sadness in your eyes.

You’re trying to fight.

Trying to defeat those arrows.

But the tiredness is overwhelming.

The relentless battering of emotions.

The silent tears that roll down your face.

You know he fights for you.

You know he is there.

But it’s hard. So hard.

You pause.

After all you tell everyone else to pause.

You hold that pause for a little bit longer.

‘I’m here.

Stay with me.

Be in my presence’

Pause.

‘Hear me.

I’m here.

Stay with me.

Be in my presence’

Pause.

Louder now.

‘Feel me.

I’m here.

Stay with me.

Be in my presence.’

You breathe.

Inhale through your nose, deep and cold.

Closing your eyes.

Lifting your chest,

Dropping your shoulders.

You breathe deeper.

The air hits the back of your throat

You feel it travel down the neck to your chest.

You keep breathing.

Staying in that moment.

In that pause.

As God’s spirit hovers within you, around you.

He fights for you.

He is with you.

You’re always there – Anna Gilderson
Letting God's spirit bring us Closer to God.
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Dance Ministry – 5 Worship Dance Choreography tips

Sometimes we can feel like we are stuck in a rut with the way we worship dance, sometimes feeling like we are always doing the same thing. God doesn’t think this, He loves all the movement you create. That being said, there is nothing wrong with choosing to explore and push the boundaries of our movement to deepen our conversation with God. Here are 5 simple ways that you can grow your worship dance choreography.

I love association when it comes to teaching. So rather than using boring words I’ve gone for imagery and something to visualise. The Bible and worship are full of imagery anyway so it makes sense to use it to understand and develop your worship dance choreography. So, let’s break these 5 tips down.

Exploring your dance canvas outside.

Painting your canvas

Painters often only have a 2D canvas to work with, but as dancers our canvas is 3D, 360 degrees, often we can forget this. The easiest way to explain this is, imagine there is a giant glass box, bigger than you and you are put within it. Your ‘performance’ space, or area to dance in, is not just in front of you. It in front, behind, to the side, up above and down below. It is everywhere. Not only are you aware that you have all this space as your canvas, but also any observers that see you will recognise a depth in your movement due to the different facings that you focus on.

Golf ball to beach ball

Size plays a massive influence on the movement that you create. Just like painting your canvas it impacts on the visual eye and the energy of the dance, as well as the story. Minute finger movements to large whole-body movements each tell a story. Think through some of the movements that you have done recently, have they all been the same size or have you varied your approach to a movement?

Speed, size and shape explored through worship dance choreography.

Sloth to leopard

Speed can be something that we are afraid of as dancers. However, it is something that creates an ebb and flow in our dance, drawing both yourself and observers into what is happening. What speed naturally dominates your movement? A consistent continuous one? Or do you find yourself picking your moments with which to be fast or slow?  What your body demonstrates with speed engages the dancer and observer on the journey that you are on. Whether that’s taking the same movement and doing it at different speed, or have different movements at different speeds. Scripture poses a great opportunity use this worship dance choreography.

Dancing as a group outside exploring speed and shape with worship dance.

Cricket to fly

I am sure by now you can work out what cricket to fly might mean!! Both are creatures that move and travel about in different ways (and speeds). You’ve got the cricket that travels ground through jumping and clinging to things. Then you have the fly, who flies (!) about chopping and changing direction. Just like when you paint your canvas you change the focus and facing of your movement. Travelling and moving across your space is important. You create patterns and shapes with the movement across the floor and jumping, twirling, sliding, twisting, running and more provide a way to move across that space. Cricket to fly is a fabulous way to immerse yourself in worship dance choreography.

Monkey

My last tip is about expressions, focus, quirks. The extra bits that help tell the story, express the song or reveal the meaning of God’s word. All these other bits are important in worship dance choreography to cement the journey, exploration and performance. Monkeys are great at showing up in different ways what’s needed, bringing in that extra little bit of flare.

Give your whole being to worshipping God.

Applying the use of these tips into worship dance choreography

Not sure how you can build out a sequence? Here are 5 applications from the worship dance choreography tips above –

  1. Look at a piece of scripture (e.g. Psalm 36.5-7) identify different levels, changes and focuses within the verse. How can the things you’ve noticed help you to paint your canvas?
  2. Looking at same scripture, identify the words that connect to size. How can they transpose to movement?
  3. Take the movements you created for size and choreograph two variations of it and different speeds. What do you feel the speeds demonstrate?
  4. In what ways can you lengthen and grow the movement sequence that you have at the moment? Go back to the scripture, what other things stand out for you? How can you add them into the sequence to show travel?
  5. Finally, pause! Think about the worship dance choreography tips AND the scripture. What else can you add into your sequence to show what the scripture is saying. Think about the journey you are showing and the story you are creating from the scripture.
Hold on to Me choreography from the Prayer Dance Trail outside 2021. How many worship dance choreography tips can you spot?

I’ve only skimmed the surface with how you can use these 5 worship dance choreography tips. If you want to know more check out the membership and mentoring options with UC Grace here.

This blog post might also be useful for you – 3 Ways to explore Worship dance choreography with Philippians 3.14.

worship dance choreography tips.

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Scripture Prompt – The meaning of Matthew 14.2-4

This blog post is written by Emma Swinden, one of Scripture Prompt contributers.

During Scripture Prompts this week we explore the meaning of Matthew 14.2-4 and how we can apply it to our day to day life.

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 18.2-4
Child exploring puddles

How does the view of a child change things?

Is there something Jesus wants us to learn through the humble eyes of a child? 

Imagine how a child might put on their wellies on a rainy day and approach a puddle?  How might a child see that puddle? As something exciting to jump in and make splashes with perhaps? 

My 6 year old son has a love/hate relationship with water.   I am reminded of the ear-to-ear grin on my son’s faces as he charges with utter joy into puddles on rainy days.  I am also reminded of how he can thrash around in the bath, resisting the hair wash.

My role as his Mum is to speak encouraging words to him, try my best to be calm when his emotions rage and even sometimes lift him out of the bath to keep him safe until he calms down.  And he does calm down.  We talk about how I’m trying to help him so that he doesn’t get a yucky itchy head and that his part is to surrender so it can be over with quickly. So he can return to playing with his rubber duck.  It’s a team effort!  Then he wraps his wet arms around, saying, “I’m sorry”, in acceptance and love.

There’s something very humble going on when a child needs help with something or when they delight in a puddle. 

Being child like jumping in puddle for Meaning of Matthew 14.2-4.

The childlike faith of Jesus.

Relate these two scenarios to the child-like faith Jesus asks of us when approaching Him and we may ask, how can I be more humble in God’s eyes? 

Now I’m not saying that submitting to something you don’t want to do (even though it’s good for you) or getting soaked in puddles is everyone’s idea of fun. But perhaps there’s an area of your life where you can experience this kind of childlike humility.  Where you let God be in charge of things and take care of you, or where you can choose to see the delightful, perhaps less obvious, adventure He has placed before you.  Where you can humble yourself and relinquish control and find love, acceptance, understanding and delight?  God wants us in a position where we can be His child and become the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Putting into action the meaning of Matthew 14.2-4

Thinking about some of these themes why not step out and begin to explore that in movement and prayer. You can try some of the following:

Create a movement or shape with your body which acknowledges a desire to humble yourself, in child-like trust, to God. This might include thinking about levels, the focus of your eyes and the size that your body is.

You can also consider whether there is anything you need to lay at Jesus’ feet and say sorry for today. Talk to God about this and receive His forgiveness, using words, movements or during a time of quiet.

You can explore more about scripture and movement by reading another Scripture Prompt blog – The meaning of Psalm 5.12. You can also check out our Deeper Scripture membership.

Splashing in puddles

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Scripture Prompt – The meaning of Psalm 5.12

Imagine being worried about stepping forward, not sure what experiences it would bring or how it would impact your journey. Now picture that with shield in front of you! How does that change your perspective? I want to share in the blog today 3 ways to dive deeper with the meaning of Psalm 5.12 and consider how we can apply it to our lives now.

Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favour as with a shield. Psalm 5.12

1. How does righteousness fit with the meaning of Psalm 5.12?

People will independently decide what the meaning of righteousness means for them. But in this verse it can viewed as a quality that is within God and therefore within us. It’s the depth of how you approach something morally and justifiably.

Look at your life now, do you life a righteous life? That question sounds heavy doesn’t it, but if you think of it another way. What efforts are you making to live, give and receive in the way that God would? Due to being made in God’s image, we have that righteous quality within us, as it is within God. But, because of the fall of Adam and Eve we have the choice with how we use it.

Take some time to reflect and see if there are any changes that you can make in your life so you better represent this quality that God has give you.

2. What’s the impact of choosing to put a shield on?

There are many layers to the meaning of Psalm 5.12. First there is the layer of righteousness and whether we recognise and live out that quality that God has.

The second layer is an acknowledgement of how blessing comes out of being righteous. By this I mean that if we choose to live a righteous life, we are choosing to live out that quality that God has given us. This results in us recognising those moments in our life where we see God move and give thanks. It’s a personal relationship that recognises this blessing and how it affects others. It isn’t a one time thing, but something that is part of a cycle.

Part of the meaning of Psalm 5.12 here is recognising that God’s blessing, his favour is all around us. It’s a shield that can protect us as we move forward, in safety on our own, or as a group.

Have a listen to Blessed be Your Name by Matt Redman and ask God’s favour and shield to surround you and those that you know need to be aware of that now.

3. How can you apply movement to the meaning of Psalm 5.12?

My final thoughts about the meaning of Psalm 5.12 is in relation to movement. Movement triggers memories, the memory of the movement that your muscle created which offers the association of how God can carry and protect us.

To finish there are two words from the verse that I’d like to encourage you to explore using movement.

Surrounded

Shield

For both words think through the images they create and other words that you might use to describe them, including your feelings. Both will have a very personal meaning to you. Do the movements long enough that your body knows them, feels them and can initiate what’s coming.

Going forward, I hope because you’ve taken the time to look at the meaning of Psalm 5.12. Next time you have the ability to associate movements to the words surrounded and shield you can remember they brought you closer to God. You can identify when you’re not being righteous and be intentional with your choice to bless and seek favour others.

If you want to read more ways to explore scripture and movement, check out these blogs.

This was blog was written as part of the Scripture Prompt series. If you wish to find out more about scripture prompts contact us.

Surrounded with a rainbows flag exploring the meaning of Psalm 5.12
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Intercessory Prayer – What is intercessory prayer?

Prayer is a personal thing, how each of us do it will reflect our character and the unique way that God made us. In many places the Bible talks about prayer, but today I want to focus on what is intercessory prayer. A phrase sometimes people frown at or misunderstand and consider that intercessory prayer is something some super holy people do. The reality? We are all intercessors! I hope to share with you today how you can be encouraged about intercessory prayer and understand what it is.

Let’s start with prayer itself.

Prayer is our ability to talk to God, to invite him into our day to day lives and express what is on our hearts. It’s recognising that you’re just having a conversation. But this conversation is with someone who not only cares about you deeply but wants the absolute best for you no matter what.

Prayer is something that is also put on a pedestal, and we are led to believe that we need to do it, say it, act it in a certain way. It took me many years to recognise that prayer is about how I live my life with Jesus, not how someone else does it. The Bible gives us the tools we need, most importantly the Lord’s Prayer, as our anchor and springboard to create our prayers. When we can grasp how simple prayer can be in our life, we can begin to understand about what intercessory prayer is.

Two people facing each other joining hands in intercessory prayer.

Do you pray for others?

The dictionary describes the word ‘intercessory’ as having the function of interceding. Interceding is about acting or interposing on behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble. Think about when you pray, what do you pray for? Are praying for anyone else at all? Then you are interceding and creating an intercessory prayer!!

Ezekiel 22.30 is a great place to look at this in more detail. It says –

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.

Ezekiel recorded these words from God. God went looking for someone to stand in the gap for sinful Jerusalem. This is a brilliant example of what we can do in our own lives. Do you need to step into the gap when someone else can’t?

I love thinking of this as an image of shields. God’s armour is there to protect and ground us. The shield may offer some protection on its own, but when it joins with others it’s a mighty force. As we step out to pray for others, we are strengthening that shield and choosing to put on God’s armour.

Stop wondering what intercessory prayer is. You are already doing it. Those times you say you’ll pray for someone; you’re stepping in and strengthening that defence. Don’t be disheartened, be encouraged that you are already an intercessor!

A group of dancers reaching with their arms up all close together.

How can I deepen my understanding of what is intercessory prayer?

For this last bit I wanted to help demonstrate ways that you can be an intercessor when responding to scripture.

The Psalms are packed full of references to prayer. As this month we are focusing on the Psalms, I wanted to share some verses that specifically reference prayer and how they could help you be an intercessor!

Psalm 4.1 – Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

The key themes here that you can pray into someone for are – comfort to know that God is there, peace and trust that God will carry them through their distress.

Psalm 66.20 – Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

The key themes here that you can pray into someone for are – praise that God had heard their prayers and that God’s love is bigger than they know.

Psalm 141.2 – May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

The key themes to pray for someone here are – that the Holy Spirit will have the freedom to work in the areas that it’s needed and that the person will be thankful with how God is working.

I do hope this encourages you in your prayer life and stepping in the gap for others. Some of these blog posts might also be useful to you.

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Jesus for Kids – 5 Top tips for Teaching Flags and ribbons for Children’s Worship

One thing I am passionate about is passing on the joy of moving and dancing with flags and ribbons to children. However, I am keen that they understand scriptural references and know that they are choosing to pick up a vehicle that can be used to talk to God, to communicate, worship and share their heart. In this blog post you’ll find 5 top tips for teaching flags and ribbons as part of Children’s worship.

Indoor group during children's worship using flags.
Moving Rainbows | Guildford

How does using dance and movement with children encourage them on their walk with God?

From a wide-angle perspective dance encourages growth of self-esteem, beliefs, accomplishments and other skills. It also releases children to live their life in a way that they want too and will be of value to them. However, if you zoom in, dance and movement provide a safe space for children to learn to channel their emotions and communicate to God when words maybe difficult. Additionally, it also provides opportunity for children to learn the Bible, resulting in the ability to put movement and actions to words, helping with memory verse remembrance and themes and topics in the Bible.

Children outdoor dancing with flags.
St Albans Holiday Club

Please recognise that you will have your own unique way of teaching – because God made you that way! So, what I put forward are simply suggestions, they are things that I have learnt along the way and have found helpful when teaching children’s worship in particular.

There is too much to say all in this post, so make sure you check out my post about What the Bible says about Flags and Banners to help with any background information you may want to know.

Here are my top 5 tips for teaching flags and ribbons for children’s worship specifically:

1. Have clear intentions and boundaries

Boundaries – However well you know the children you will need clear boundaries in place. These include things like, the flag stays rolled whilst you’re teaching or talking. You put your hand up and count back from 5 when you want the children to be still. They sit down or put their flag down when you’re talking. You make it clear what happens if they continually don’t listen. They understand their dance space and where they can go when they move.

Intentions – This is about letting parents and children know what they are going to be doing during the session. Depending on the context of your workshop or class, this is important. Although it might seem obvious, you will need to say they will be worshipping, praying, reading the Bible and dancing for Jesus. If it’s not a ‘normal’ event i.e. church, Sunday school etc. But more like a youth club, holiday club, you may have some unchurched children there (awesome), we just need to still be respectful of their back ground.

2. The more help you have the better

No brainer with children! When ever you think you have enough you don’t! Regardless of how well behaved you think your children are, they will use a flag as a sword or poke someone on purpose. It’s new and exciting. So it’s best to accept it will happen rather than consider it won’t!

Due to this, extra hands are your best friend as they can help police what the children are doing with the resources. Helpers are also useful when you are teaching, they can dot them selves amongst the children. So, even if the children can’t see you, they can watch a helper (provided you’ve primed the helpers with what you are doing!). Should you split into group work, helpers can assist those groups and children that might be finding the task hard.

Children's worship with flags.
Mothering Sunday | Emmanuel Church Guildford

3. Restrict numbers for some children’s worship workshops

It sounds quite harsh doesn’t it? But honestly, when you are teaching flags and ribbons you don’t want a packed hall. Not only will you have to fight above the noise to capture attention and teach safely. But the children won’t be able to enjoy the full effect of moving and dancing with a flag or ribbon if they don’t have the space within which to do it.

If you do have to do a big group, my suggestion would be to split the group in two when ever it comes to actively moving as a smaller group can access the space more effectively.

Therefore, when planning your numbers think in realistic terms about how many bodies you can get in your space to effectively delivery an excellent children’s worship workshop.

4. Demonstrate, teach, practise, repeat in chunks

Chunking is something that I will talk about in another post. But essentially break down what ever you want to teach them into small sections and then do this:

Demonstrate – the children WATCH you do the movements

Teach – you TALK through and DO the movements with them

Practise – you go over what you have just done – with a partner or another helper

Repeat – constantly go back and re do what you have just done.

All children learn differently, all children learn at different paces. Doing it as above, will allow children who learn differently to still be able to access what you are doing.

5. Pick one song and memory verse they know.

With children, less is more. Don’t over plan. Pick something simple, that will allow them to be TAUGHT something and then allow them to CREATE something. That’s primarily why children love to dance and move with flags and ribbons. There is a freedom they don’t get in other activities.

Children also love to realise that they know the answers already. So, whatever song or scripture you pick try to ensure that it’s already used as part of the children’s worship in the groups or at school. Familiarity encourages children to bloom and will help breed confidence. If you’re asking questions about topics or themes they may already know this will do just that.

Children's sitting down listening to teacher explain scripture.
Family Advent Fun

Let me know how you get on with any children’s worship workshops.

There will be more hints and tips on teaching children and why we should invest in them. So, make sure you check back regularly.

If you’ve got a heart to teach children but don’t feel you have the skills and confidence to move with flags and ribbons yourself, why not get in touch about running a training day at your church. You can get in touch with me here.

These blog posts might also be useful for you –

If you want to be the first to heat about any teaching children’s worship resources I create. Head here and sign up.

Children's worship pictures, holding flags and ribbons in different workshops.
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Dance Ministry – Prayer Dance Trail FAQs

Prayer dance trail logo

Got a question about the Prayer dance trail? Then check out the questions below. If you still have questions then please do get in touch.

How long are the sessions?

Online sessions will last between 60 and 90 minutes, this will provide flexibility needed for discussions.

The in-person session will be 2 hours.

What happens if I miss an online session?

You can catch up afterwards as the recording will be uploaded into the learning portal.

What will we cover during the first online session?

This first session will be introducing the trail, what it looks like, how you will do it and laying the foundations of creating your own trail. We will begin to unpick how to pick a topic and what you need to think about relating to that topic during the course of the trail.

The trail will be challenging, so we will also talk about some of the challenges and excitement that it can bring.

I will share ways you can start movement and what can inspire you during your journey. Between the 1st and 2nd weeks you will encouraged to start creating some movement yourself as well as firm up the finre details about the trail that you are going to take.

What will we cover during the second online session?

This session gets exciting as we dive deep into what movement on the trail looks like. I will share a topic and how I have developed it – this will be available for everyone to use if they wish.

You will also find out ways that you can document your journey with the trail. Between the 2nd and 3rd session you will be encouraged to actually do the trail, and not just once! Always coming back to how God can impact you through this trail and your prayer dance journey.

What will we cover during the third online session?

The final session will offer a time to draw together how your prayer dance trail went and the impact that it has had on you.

Reflection, praise, worship and moving forward will al feature.

Are we supposed to be dancing outside during the online session?

Not at all! You will need access to notebook, bible, pen and workbook during the sessions. Of course if you want to do the session outside you are most welcome, but we won’t be moving for the whole session. Don’t get cold!

What do we do between each of the online sessions?

At the end of each online session Anna will explain what you will need to do between then and the next online session. You will be encouraged to complete that so you can maximise your experience and learning during the course.

If we want to listen to the session again will we be able to access it?

Yes of course. All online sessions will be recorded and uploaded into the learning portal for you to watch again at your own pace.

Will I need to record myself moving at all?

No. You will not be required to provide ‘evidence’ of your dance trail. But equally if you wish to record and share with us, you are most welcome.

If I wanted to record some of my movements and share them how would I do that?

Recording – The easiest way to do this is with two devices. For example, I use my tablet or computer to play the music I want to dance to and I use my phone to video my movement. I have a tripod to help me with recording but propping it up against something works just fine too!

Sharing – if you have the recording on your phone, you then have the ability to share into any whatsapp groups, upload to facebook/ social media or email. Most videos would be too large to attach to an email directly. So a file transfer service like www.wetransfer.com works well for this.

What is the learning portal?

The learning portal is an online space where everything is uploaded for you to access. It’s main address is https://community.ucgrace.co.uk/ . If you have previously brought the 40 day dance and movement devotional, you would have purchased it here. Just log in as normal. Can’t remember your password? Then request a reminder.

Hope this has helped. Don’t forget you can find all the other details and how to book here. Don’t forget there is also the blog post Creating Prayer Dance Trail that gives a more in depth idea of what is involved.

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Intercessory Prayer – What is prayer movement?

Have you ever been asked to do prayer movement? What have you thought about it? How did you respond? Sometimes hearing those two words together can raise an eyebrow, but the reality is everyone who prays already uses prayer movement. Let me take a few moments to explain what I mean by this.

How do you come to pray?

Often when we come to pray there is certain things we always do as we come before God. That might be closing our eyes, opening our Bible, bowing our head, going on our knees, opening our arms out, raising our hands and so much more. They are all things that people do for prayer to come into the presence of God. To draw closer to him and be ready, and they are all movements.

Just take a pause here and think about the last time that you prayed. Think about how you readied yourself. How you took yourself through that moment and how you drew closer to God. Write it all down or remember all the little things that you did. How you did it, what did you respond to the most, what is really important when you pray?

prayer movement kneeling

Everyone moves when they pray.

I watch people and they say I’m not a dancer and I’m not a mover and that’s fine I hear you, everyone is different. However, everyone moves when they pray and that’s really evident probably from the things that you have written down. Or through observations as you see others come to pray.

How often do you just pray without ANY change in the state of your body? Or put another way, how often do you talk without any expression? Not often hey! Even as I am writing this (or speaking into a microphone) I’m moving my hands and making facial expressions.

Very rarely can we come before God and pray (or worship!) in a bland way putting no expression, no motion, no movement in it. The reason is because God created us, he created us to live and move and have his being. To respond to him.

‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17.28

In many places in the Bible it talks about laying hands on people when they pray. Why? Because God moves! As we choose to use movement and prayer together, we are acknowledging that God will move. That the atmosphere will change.

At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.’ Luke 4.40

pausing in prayer sitting on a chair

How can I be more conscious about my prayer movement?

As we come before God we use our whole body. Every single bit of us because it takes our focus, because we have an intention about what we are creating. We are creating a conversation, an open door, an opportunity for change.

I talk a lot about intention within dance and intention with prayer movement. At the end of the day if you don’t have any intention with what you were doing it’s not going to reflect your true heart.

Here are 3 things I want you to consider as you go onwards with your prayer movement:

1. What do your hands do when you pray?

2. How is your body when you pray?

3. Where is your focus?

As you become more aware of answers to these questions you can begin to think about what you are wanting to declare through your prayer and what that could look like with movement. For example, if you are praying about someone’s heart and mind. You can place your hands on your head and then hands on your heart. Alternating between them as you feel led whilst you pray.

Raising hands lifting up a prayer.

In conclusion, can prayer movement be defined?

Yes! But how you define it, comes down to you and the impact it has on your life. For me, and UC Grace this is my definition…

Prayer movement is your body’s reaction to drawing closer to God. The external display of an internal feeling and preparation for a conversation. It’s nuances that only you and God know. Fleeting moments when you choose to acknowledge your connection and conversation with God. The reality of moving through life sometimes 100 miles an hour but still always doing the same thing when you choose to pray. To have that conversation and allow intention into the time of response with God.

Going forward…

Will you realise where movement fits into your prayer journey? Keen to explore it in a more informal way? Consider joining prayer dance bites that allows short, focused sessions looking at scripture, our reaction in movement and our prayer from it. You can find out more here.

The following blog posts are also good starting points –

Most of all, relax and enjoy where your prayer movement takes you.

Don’t forget you can also join the mailing list here to keep up with all that happens with UC Grace.

A picture for pinterest about What is prayer movement?
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