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.

Dance Ministry – Creating Christian dance choreography for Biblical character Esther.

During this month we are looking at the story of Esther, how her character and story can play a key role in our day to day life, particularly during this season. When you look into the character of Esther there is so much to learn, as dancer, it seemed simple to put that into a dance. In this post I want to share with you how I created Christian dance choreography for her character. The sticky points I came across and how exploring Esther has given me a greater understanding of what her story is all about.

Understanding the background.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have spent a long time in Esther exploring the story, and how it impacts on my journey of faith. Throughout this deep dive I came up with the following descriptions that were part of her story.

Brainstorm about Esther's character.

Creating a mind map of what stands out to you about a character or story allows you to begin exploring movement, pairing phrases and look at the emotion that the phrases create. This acts as a starting to point create your Christian dance choreography.

As you can see above, after the mind map, I then created a list of 6 key words that I felt spoke to me the most about Esther’s journey.

Creating a refrain to ground your Christian dance choreography.

Often in a piece of choreography there is a refrain or motif. This is something that creates a general thread throughout the dance. It keeps reappearing sometimes the same, sometimes different. But it offers a chance for expansion in emotions and dynamics.

For Esther I felt it important that the refrain was based on preparation and the word nervous. Two things that gradually grew over the time of her story. Often when we are preparing, we need to be deliberate, lift our head and eyes to see what is coming… even if we don’t want to! Part of Esther’s preparation was various beauty products for her body, only then could she go in front of the King. That must have been a very nerve racking first visit.

Preparing to wear the crown of Queen Esther.

When you watch the video see if you can spot the refrain and the movements Esther carried through her journey. Creating your refrain is a great starting point for developing your Christian dance choreography.

Developing the character descriptions.

Once the refrain was created, I knew that the rest of the movements needed to be padded around it. It’s one of the things I love about creating Christian dance choreography. There is no set way of doing it. But this process that I’m explaining, is probably my favourite way.

Demonstrating the other things that Esther’s story took her through – boldness, walking with it all, stepping out, trust. Requires thinking about the emotions, anything visual that stands out, shapes, dynamics etc. Take each one at a time and see which way your body wants to move.

Using a jump in Christian dance choreography.

The one I struggled with the most was ‘walking with it all’. Esther chose, despite her background and how Haman was acting to still keep moving forward, to keep walking. As a singular dancer I found this quite hard to explore. In my mind to develop the Christian dance choreography I want to move in and around groups of people that might choose to step in my way.

Instead, I explored it by trying to create continuous flowing movements that moved me around the space, with pauses and changes of direction as needed.

Piece together and find the emotions to complete your Christian dance choreography.

I chose to explore pairs of words when I filled out the choreography I had around the phrase. Pairing boldness and walking through it all as one. Then step out and trust as another.

All of these phrases intertwine, but they tell a story of emotion, challenge, pause and growth. Primarily I moved without music. I found that this didn’t inhibit the movement I created. You have the choice to create movement with inspiration from the music or to focus in on the theme.

Reaching into the plan that God has for Esther.

The music placed behind the Christian dance choreography for the character of Esther is there for background purposes.

I had so much fun (not only because it was snowing) settling in and dancing this. I hope you enjoy it!

Fancy exploring more about Christian dance choreography? Check out these posts 3 ways to explore worship dance choreography with Philippians 3.14 and How to adapt choreography to use worship flags in Christian dance.

You can follow more of my dance and choreography journey on Instagram @uc.grace.

Pinterest graphic for  Christian dance choreography.

Jesus for Kids – Priniths excitement at stepping out to teach children Worship Dance.

In 2019 Prinith joined a UC Grace training day that focused on teaching children dance and movement with your faith. It provided tools and tricks to enable an encounter of Jesus for kids using worship dance and movement as the stimulus. I caught up with Prinith to find out the impact that this training day had on her teaching children and engaging them in worship dance and movement.

One Big Rainbow feather fun – UC Grace

Q – Why was it important to develop your skills in teaching children dance and faith?

“I am a Tots Helper at my church, which is great because it means there is no pressure to be in charge, but I am allowed to lead little bits as I wish. I’m also really encouraged to dance at my church. One of my friend’s kids, before she knew my name, knew me as the ‘dancey lady’. Therefore, you have an impact by modelling it and I wanted to be able to equip our kids because dance is a natural way for them to engage in worship.”

“I’ve done Movement in Worship’s training the trainers course and within the Springs Dance Company apprenticeship there was a teaching module. But to adapt that for children, was interesting and what I really wanted to learn through attending the Jesus for Kids – teaching dance and movement training day.”

Q – What did you learn through attending the Jesus for Kids – Teaching Dance and Movement training day?

“Just how to create activities so they would learn through having fun. But also thinking about things, like how can a warm up lead me to the end point. The big thing that I learnt was the idea of exploration, like ‘here you go, let’s do this, let’s go through this’, whichever age you do it with, it will work for. They explore. But then you get to the end goal, having done all this exploration. That’s the key learning that I’ve taken from UC Grace – let’s explore this, let’s play and then we’ll get to the end point eventually.”

“I found it really useful on the training day, that we actually put into practice what we were learning and started using it straight away. For example we had a theme and we worked in pairs, came up with an idea and then delivered it.”            

Family Advent Fun – be a role model. UC Grace
One Big Rainbow exploration time (under 5s)

Q – How have you put into practise what you have learnt since then?

“I remember talking to my CDFB regional coordinator and she really encouraged me to put it into practise as soon as possible, which was a really helpful tip. If you do Anna’s workshop, you need to put it into practise as soon as possible, to cement what you’ve learnt and keep it fresh.”

“I led our tots session on the parable of the lost coin, it was great fun because we ‘sparkled and shone’, we ‘whistled while we worked’, and we hunted for it to James Bond music, which the adults loved music wise but went over the heads of the tots! What was also really good was, we have a little boy with Downs Syndrome, who decided that the craft activity (which was rubbing coins), was not for him. Instead he played ‘lets hide the coin, lets find the coin’ under the sofa. Which just proved that teaching children through movement taught them the story. He knew that we were looking for the lost coin.”

Q – What impact has it had on the children in your church?

“My church is a multi-site church, so there are children that don’t go to the same site as me, but they still seek me out to dance when we have our meeting together. There was one little boy last autumn that sought me out, and wanted to dance in the worship with me, because he’s known me and he’s seen me teach them, he’s seen me model it. He’d watched too much strictly, there were all kinds of moves, including slides across the floor! Then more recently, there was girl that was watching me dance. I had taught her movement at the church weekend away,but didn’t think she’d taken anything in, but she came and followed all my dance moves perfectly and danced with me, it was amazing, I have a huge soft spot for that little girl now!”

Drama, Dance and Craft. UC Grace

Q – What is one golden nugget that you go back to every time?

“Exploration!”

“Teaching children is probably the most exciting workshop I have ever done, and I’d encourage anyone who wants to grow in their teaching skills to seek training from UC Grace.”

Prinith de Alwis Jayasinghe leads the Movement in Worship Birmingham Base and goes to Churchcentral West in Birmingham.

Moving Rainbows session with youth helper

How can I find out more about Jesus for kids – Teaching dance and movement?

There are several options to learn more about sharing your faith using dance and movement with children. We regular run in person training days – full details available here on the website.

By the end of the 2020 there will also be the chance to do an online course. Additionally a comprehensive written manual is due for release in 2021. If you wish to be the first to hear when our online course launches, the written manual is available, as well as other events in our Jesus for Kids training then head here to let me know your details.

Creative activities painting
Creative Prayer and craft activity time at Little Rainbows – under 5s.

Worship Flags – 3 Steps to Guide You

Worship flags resound with people in different ways, everyone will have different preferences, whether you are a seasoned worship dancer with flags, or someone new exploring and curious to see what it’s all about.

During this blog I want to share just 3 steps that can help guide you when using worship flags. If you want to find out more detail about why flags, dance and worship go together and what the Bible says about it, check out Flags and Banners – What does the Bible say, for more info.

UC Grace Summer Tour - St Neots. Nakai flagging

Make and Model

There are many different styles of worship flags and you can get very technical with it. But let’s look at it simply.

MAKE

The shape and weight of fabric will create a different ebb and flow when you dance with it. The type of stick that you use also affects this.

For example, I teach with rod dowelling sticks, and rectangular size metallic lame of varying sizes. I use this style as it’s the easiest to teach beginners with and offers a ‘safe’ start which every participant can connect with. It also enables further skills to develop and be practiced as your knowledge of dance and movement in worship grows.

However, wing (or rounded edge flags) which tend to semi circular in size and often fitted with some form of flexi rod poles, are lighter in weight, but need more co-ordination and skill to master movement in continuous flow due to their size and shape.

The type of fabrics used for flags varies, but is often one of the following – metallic lame, silk or organza. Each fabric has a different weight and therefore the effect created with movement alters.

Sue with Fan Veils at Going Deeper 2019

MODEL

Model refers to the “look”. Different colours can create different meanings. When you choose to step up and dance with worship flags you will be drawn to a colour, colour combination or picture.

There are generalised meanings attached to colours (see below). But remember, God speaks to us all individually and therefore the reason you are drawn to a specific colour might be different to someone else.

Worship flags are spectacular is size, shape and colour. What would be your ‘ideal’ size and shape?

Holy Spirit fire Flag

Move with your WHOLE body

Your body is your vessel, you know its limitations and the movements it loves to do the most. When a worship flag is picked up generally one of two things happen.

The first being you stand still on the spot and wave, creating patterns in front of you and above you with your arms and the flags, perhaps with a little ‘bop’.

The second being, you ‘move’ across the space as you would normally without the flag.

Neither option is wrong, thats the beauty of how we come before God. Individually made, created for a purpose, letting God lead our hearts.

Dancing Free 2020 - flag workshop

For you created my in most being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139.13

But my encouragement to you would be to move with your WHOLE body. Look at your worship flag as an extension of your arm. This is a hard concept to grasp initially as it can seem very awkward to do.

When I first teach newbies to flag the main thing that I want them to recognise is that their body already knows movement, the flag is an extra layer to share more about God and go deeper into worship. As your body already knows movement, let it lead you. Let it find the rhythm, hear the lyrics and see what others do.

Pause with your worship flag

Pause, to breathe, to acknowledge the reason why you are stepping out with a worship flag, to ask God to lead you with your movements. Pausing is good, whether, before or during movement.

It allows you to ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in your conversation with God, to pray a blessing on others through the movement that you share and to enter into the time of worship with your whole heart and not just a portion of it.

If you would like to explore more ways of using worship flags then reading Adapting Choreography to flags in worship dance, maybe useful for you.

Drone footage from UC Grace Summer Tour 2020: St Neots

If you’ve not joined the UC Grace journey yet, we would love to have you join. There is lots happening even through this time of change we have experienced. Get in touch for more info, or look on the website.

Holding a flag high. An image to use for pinterest.

Worship Dance Ministry – Five Reasons to join us on Tour

Well what an awesome start to the first ever UC Grace summer tour! Taking time to go and visit where you are, has been lots of fun. Plus a brilliant experience for my worship dance ministry. Here’s what we are doing during our tour sessions, some feedback from what we have done so far and how you can be involved if you can’t make any of the sessions left. There are still 5 sessions to go and we’d love for you to join us in Ipswich, Farnham, Nottingham, Leicester or Guildford.

Joining with others in your worship dance ministry.

It’s been a funny season, gathering online, speaking to each other on video and dancing on screens. Many of us are craving the opportunity to gather with others in person and ‘just be’ together. That was one of the primary reasons of how the crazy idea of the tour came about. There is only so much dancing we can do behind a screen, and with it still not being clear when we could gather in an indoor space. Outdoors was the next best option.

The tour has given me a chance to visit different areas, meet lots of new faces and catch up with those that have been on the UC Grace journey a while. Additionally, it has been a source of encouragement not only to those that attend, that they are not alone. But, also for me teaching, having the privilege to catch up, chat, teach and share stories in person.

We all felt we wanted to meet up again and dance outside for the joy of it, the witness of it, the community of it, and connection to God in it.

Tour participant 2020

 If you’ve been part of the UC Grace lockdown journey since the beginning you will know about the dancing army (you can read more here). The army that has grown in movement and dance exponentially since lockdown. The people that are choosing to claim their faith through dance and movement and stand firm in the conversation it creates with them, God, and with others. The tour is providing an opportunity for those people to gather in person and witness to those around them.

Exploring God’s word

Witnessing through the declaration of God’s word, out loud, outside. Two things that can be very daunting together. God’s word is an essential part of any workshop with UC Grace and any worship dance ministry After all, the Bible is our go to, our manual for life. So common sense would say that it needs to be our foundation about why we move, and what we can grow from. It also provides an excellent opportunity to take hold of the truths God has said.

Quote from worship dance ministry tour participant - I found the exercises that you set really helped me to explore spiritual truths in a new way and to not feel that I could only dance in public if it was all pre-rehearsed.

Each session of the tour has an over-arching theme – Grace for the Moment – based on 2 Corinthians 12.9. We then explore 3 different sub topics throughout the course of the tour – Sufficient Grace, Letting Gods power lead and Sharing our weaknesses. Each sub topic takes us back to the word each time. Ensuring that as we move and step out in dance and movement, we are doing it with God’s word as a stepping stone.

Break down fears using Worship Dance Ministry.

Dancing outside brings a different perspective to how you deliver a session and also how dancers interact with exercises and the space around them. I acknowledge that for many, dancing outside is uncommon. More often not done at all, due to the perception that you will be judged about what you are doing.

On tour my heart is for you to explore moving outside in a safe and supportive way. I provide a series of exercises that will guide you through stepping out in an outside space. Offering you the chance to explore both on your own and in groups. If you belong to your own worship dance ministry you could try doing too.

Freedom to be outside, looking at dance from different points of view

Tour participant 2020

Just like in my normal indoor session, participants do as much or as little as they are comfortable with. But those that have attended have shared how liberating it is to move outside, in God’s creation and worship.

Learning skills to Pray

Prayer is part of our communication with God, as dancers and movers often when words fail us movement takes over and allows us a chance to continue a conversation with God. I’m very passionate about equipping dancers with the skills and experience to prayer dance. To dance and move their prayers rather than speak them.

It gave me a process for dancing out a prayer for someone.

Tour Participant 2020

Each session will give one of those opportunities. The chance to pray for participants themselves and someone else using movement.

I was amazed how God spoke to me and how others responded to what I had to say.

Tour Participant 2020

This usually flabbergasted participants, how people who don’t know their story and what’s happening in their journey, dance a prayer for them. The result of what they shared was pin point relevant. Often seeing the physical result of a prayer can be emotional, so participants only share what they are comfortable with and talk about what they felt if they want to.

Happy Endorphins through moving outside.

Who doesn’t love happy endorphins? The ones that get released when there is just pure joy deep down inside! At each location we finish with a time of open worship, a time where you can just move, soak, reflect and do whatever you are led to do. It is during these times that often members of the public stop to see what is going on and simply observe. But because we are focused on God and nothing else, the presence of the public doesn’t hinder. It releases more and allows the Holy Spirit to do its thing!

I really enjoyed watching the other dancer’s worship

Tour participant 2020

One thing I teach regularly during my workshops is the understanding that dance is interpreted in different ways by different people. God made each of us unique, the reason that we may step out to dance, might be perceived differently to those watching. I encourage everyone to recognise, that as they are blessed by movement, others who see their movement are blessed too. That’s how movement moves mountains, it’s how the dancing army covers ground, as blessing, upon blessing is shared.

There are still spaces at all of the tour locations left –

  • Ipswich – Wednesday 5th August – 7.30pm
  • Farnham – Saturday 15th August – 9.30am
  • Nottingham – Saturday 22nd August – 11am
  • Leicester – Sunday 23rd August – 11am
  • Guildford – Wednesday 26th August – 7.30pm

Booking is essential, so please visit our Tour page for more information and to book. Can’t make any of the locations. Why not join us online for Prayer Dance Bites.

If you’ve not joined the UC Grace journey yet, we would love to have you join our worship dance ministry. There is lots happening even through this time of change we have experienced. Get in touch for more info, or look on the website.

Dance Ministry – Discovering your purpose – 3 things to think about

It’s so hard sometimes to be clear about what we do and why we do it, life can take over, we can get stuck in a rut and we think it’s obvious to others about what we do. The reality? That we get so consumed in other things that discovering our purpose is not clear to us or those around us.

Do you know your purpose or call?

This applies to our whole life, not just if you have a business, or a job, or specific life circumstances. Leading through life without knowledge or direction can leave you feeling bewildered and lost. Discovering your purpose, not only gives you focus and direction, but also challenges you to pursue certain things, sets a standard, and encourages you to keep going, when lets face it, life just seems all too much!

“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8.30 NIV)

In Prayer Dance Bites the other week we asked the questions ‘do we listen to Gods call?’ and ‘do we listen to find out what it is? Listening and responding are two very different things, often we choose only one, as that’s the easy route. But God wants our best for us, he will not leave us where we are forever, taking the time to seek His will and listen for his call will bring you much joy and help you to shine. If you’ve never sought Gods plans and purposes for you, maybe now is the time to do that. (Find out more about Prayer Dance Bites here, and if you want to listen to this particular session head here, to watch it). What ways could you be discovering your purpose?

What do you do when you know your purpose?

Do you display it so others know clearly what it is? If not, why not? God will always give us more than we need, as we choose to trust in Him, His hope and love will overflow and display what is in our heart, whatever colour that may be!

“May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15.13)

Discovering your purpose can help you to ‘display your colours’

You may have noticed that the UC Grace logo is full of colours. For me colour is utterly important in our walk with God. Colours allow us to experience a depth and breadth to our relationship with God. They help to identify where we are at on our journey and where we may get to.

A good example of this is thinking about your journey through lockdown and Covid-19, your feelings emotions, actions and reactions. It may have felt very bleak, or dark, speckled with moments of joy, fun and laughter. It may have been a long hard slog, but one you embraced and kept climbing with.

At UC Grace we help you to journey through whatever colour or circumstance you are in, using dance and movement to help you through it. Part of that may involve help with you discovering your purpose. There is never a right or wrong way to approach your personal journey with God. Because, it’s just that, personal, between you and God. UC Grace acts as the vessel to help you get there.

How does UC Grace display its colours?

Essentially by demonstrating our love and passion for dancing, Jesus and movement. The nitty gritty of how we do that is all over our website, with many ways to connect. Over the coming weeks I will expand further those areas and show you how you can be involved and grow alongside us.

I’m taking part this week in a #showup challenge with Maddy Shine, looking at how I display what UC Grace does and whether it’s accessible for everyone to find. I know I’m going to learn lots and be mind boggled at the same time. But like I said at the beginning, it’s good to challenge ourselves to keep going.

I want to leave you with some key things I’d love to share about UC Grace (in a nutshell!!).

What do we do?

We teach people to go deeper with their Christian Faith using dance and movement, and teach dance leaders to do the same!

Where do we do it?

  • Nationwide – where there is a need and where we are asked!
  • On location as regular workshops in Surrey, Hampshire and Essex.
  • Online – training, workshops and resources.

Who can access us?

Men, women and families are able to take part in our events, some events target a specific audience and that is always made clear on the booking page. Churches and organisations can also access us for training, guidance and resources.

What is my motivation?

To enable people to grow close to God whilst sharing my passion for my faith, dance and movement. Building a network across the country for people to be part of. You can read more about why I do what I do here.

10 Years Growing and Releasing Dancers

As I stepped out in January 2010 to begin work in schools and share with churches, I had no idea about the journey that God would take me on. I’ve learnt a lot along the way, it’s not always been easy, but God has been consistent and faithful throughout all of it.

That’s the most important thing that I hold on to, that God has always been there, he has carried the purpose of UC Grace, and I have tried to be obedient to that. Sure, I’ve made stumbles along the way, but my desire remains the same, to take people on a journey of a deeper conversation with God using dance and movement .

The further into 2020 we have gone, the clearer it has become, not only how important it is to be in relationship with others who desire to use dance and movement as their language to God, but also to encourage others to encounter dance and movement to deepen their journey with God.

Putting this video together, brought lots of memories back, so many different children and adults that I have had the privilege to teach, encourage, share, and grow in their journey. Sometimes that led to further dance, other times it acted as a stepping stone for them to continue on the journey that God has for them.

My prayer as I continue to grow UC Grace from 2020 onward’s, is that I will rest and lean into what God has planned. That pausing is okay, silence is okay, from out of the silence God will speak more boldly, more extravagantly. To have the courage to try new things, and trust God with the outcome that comes from them.

So whether you have been part of the UC Grace Journey from the beginning or you have joined us more recently. Enjoy the watching the video, where I share a bit more about the journey, relive some highlights from the past 10 years and share some testimonies.

If you’ve not joined the UC Grace journey yet, we would love to have you join. There is lots happening even through this time of change we have experienced. Get in touch for more info, or look on the website.

Keep moving and trusting in Jesus that the plan he has for you, is the one that you are destined for. God will get you there, you might want to take some twists and turns but Jesus will always been there, pick you up and carry you when needed.

1000 Reasons to dance for our King

I am so excited to share this project with you.

It particularly seems so relevant now as so many of us are dancing and moving more than ever have before. 1000 Reasons to dance for our King, is a project about acknowledging all those reasons that we choose to dance for our King, what pulls at our heart, the emotions we bring and experiences we have, the answers to prayer.

I know not all of you dance, but I expect at some point you have been impacted by dance in some way, that is also a good reason to dance for our King. In a time when when everyone needs to be encouraged, when people want to witness the effect that God has on people, when people are asking questions. Let’s be deliberate in understanding why we are moving, what initiates us and takes us on the journey. From there, we have the opportunity to be equipped to share and explain the gospel in a more comprehensive way.

So, my question to you, will you join me on this journey? I know that why you dance today, will be different to why you dance tomorrow. Or how dance impacts you today, will be different to how it impacts you tomorrow. Over the next few months and the month previous, the journey each of us will go on will test our faith, movement and resilience to stand firm with our faith, lean into God and dance for our King. Check out the video below to hear more before the project.

Comment below or drop me an email and let me know if you’re up for it.

Then as you dance and move over the next days, weeks, months, pop me a message  and share your reason why you dance for the King. You can do this via email (click here) or phone.

Please do share this with anyone you think would love to join this movement. The #dancingarmy is growing at an immense rate, it is awesome to see God move and witness people choosing to #dancealittlelouder.

Build God’s Kingdom – Change the Atmosphere

Happy Easter!

Today we celebrate our risen King. Let’s dance somewhere not seen before. Let’s build God’s kingdom and change the atmosphere.

We begin by joining in the 3rd day after Jesus died, the day that he rose again. The two Mary’s found an empty tomb. And an angel told them Jesus was risen just as he said he would. Go and tell the disciples the angels said.

Skipping forward to after the encounters we hear how Jesus then gives us the commission. Let’s read it in the message version. Matthew 28.18-20.

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.

I will be with you… He says it, claim it, Jesus will be with you.

As I prepared for today I asked God to be specific about what I could bring on a Easter Sunday like we won’t have again in our lifetime. What could I challenge you, encourage you, show you as we celebrate, remember and share this awesome day of risen King.

He turns our mourning into dancing

Our weeping into joy

Our pain in to laughter

He calms the seas

And he stands, always with us.

At the beginning of the commission it says ‘go out and train everyone you meet, far and near in this way of life.’ (The Message)

Ponder these questions –

  1. What could ‘train everyone you meet’ mean?
  2. What ‘way of life’ in your life could you demonstrate to others?

This is the churches time.

The Rend Collective song, ‘Build your Kingdom here’, speaks of “change the atmosphere”, of building God’s kingdom in amongst whatever is happening in the world. You know my passion of the impact that dance and movement has on those around us, as we witness Gods word and action. We have seen change through responding to the call to stepping out and responding in dance and movement.

So my final questions to you is –

Are you ready to change ATMOSPHERE?

Take a flag, streamer, ribbon, piece of material, anything you are comfortable with. Step up and change the atmosphere in a place that is near to you.  Watch the video and see a snapshot of my heart from the song ‘Build your kingdom here’. Let’s dance louder with our movements to the song. Stir the atmosphere as you move to the chorus particularly.

This is part of our Prayer Dance Bite programmer. We meet 3 times a week to move, dance and pray using scripture and other themes. You can check out more info here.

What does the UC of UC Grace mean?

As more and more people have asked me this over the last year I found myself having to think really hard about what the ‘UC’ was for. I knew I had written a sentence that encapsulated it, but what that was I couldn’t remember. Not because there wasn’t ever a reason to not remember, but because in the beginning it was front and centre in my mind, as I set my name and started my business. But as time has gone on the ability to recall those details has been harder, there’s been shifts in my aims, my logo design and branding, as well as the ‘info’ that I display about UC Grace. Plus, the reality of life and just being busy!

How UC Grace began in 2010

Let’s open the door…

But, there always comes a point when you need a spring clean, a bit of a shake through to remove bits of info that have served it’s time and that’s what happened with the ‘UC’. The logo changed to the letters and wording beneath it changed, I revamped the website, once, twice, many times, I rebranded, I acknowledged by values for the business and the way I wanted to push forward. But the reasoning behind the name was always there, it’s just been hidden behind different layers.

The logo in 2011

So, let’s revisit our roots and share in more depth how the ‘UC’ came about, the biggest thing to recognise first, was that it was a 2 fold development (see Golden Whirlwind for info about why I teach).

So what was the starting point?

In the early days as I sat with my notebook writing down lots of different names, I settled quite quickly on the word Grace, acknowledging that as part of our Christian walk, grace was so important. I realised that I wanted people to ‘see’ grace in dance, in our movements, actions, connections and relationships. So initially all I had was ‘you’ ‘see’ and ‘grace’. Deciding how to coax that into a name was super hard. The development of single letters happened quite quickly ‘uC’. Notice the little ‘u’ and the big ‘C’. That was pivotal as I felt it showed where the emphasis needed to be. The idea of opening up our eyes, seeing things that we wouldn’t have seen before, releasing something, and, so began the next stage.

We we entered 2012 there was a slight change, feeling that I needed to put ‘dance’ within the name and encase the tagline to a more succinct one with just my key words.

Defining what the ‘uC’ was about, working out what would create the foundation. I settled on it encompassing these words –
uncapped
unceasing
unchanging
uncover
uncontrolled

The addition of dance didn’t last long. By the end of 2012 I’d reverted back to just ‘UC Grace’

This became the saying that best described what the ‘uC’ was about, and it sat beneath the name uC Grace.

You can see the progression of the logo in these pictures.

As I moved forward with the company, another 3 words were pivotal in under pinning our tagline

– encouraging | growing | releasing –

these enable us to put Gods word front and centre in the company.

Encouraging – each person to grow into who they are meant to be

Growing – each person in their skills, knowledge and confidence God has given them

Releasing – each person into their dreams, ministries and journeys God has for them

The last change before the major rebrand was this. The debate about whether I didn’t dance in my title had trundled on, so I wanted to add an image that would explain a bit more about the company was rather than putting dance.

But what does it all mean?

Let’s go back to the ‘uC’, where I had the little u and the big C. You might notice that now the little u is a big U. At the beginning of 2018 I undertook a rebrand of UC Grace. Initially it was just going to be an update of my logo, but after a few months of thinking and praying I realised that UC Grace had changed so much that it deserved a logo that would reflect it’s true heart. Big and bold YOU SEE GRACE, grace in our everyday, the way we think, move and act. Colour displaying individuality, fun and integrity to Gods promise. The dancer with a ribbon displaying the ability worship in different ways (You can read more about ribbons here). A yellow ribbon, to demonstrate JOY. JOY of movement and remembering someone who danced with such joy for Jesus throughout her whole life, Lyn.

Lyn Cave. The joyful dancer.

What ‘UC’ is going to be important for you going forward?

We all see different things in life, that means we see the importance of things on a different level. Take a moment to think about your present life, what areas might you need to see things differently? What areas might you need grace?

This is what the UC is all about!!

Going forward UC Grace is committed to demonstrating and sharing Gods word through dance and movement. The saying below is what developed in 2010 when I started UC Grace. It encapsulates so well what it means to generate a deeper conversation with God through dance and movement. We hope it connects with you and encourages you in your journey.

We’d love to connect with you further, so why not sign up to our newsletter where you can hear more about what we are doing and how you can get involved. Head here.