Types of Worship – Creativity in Worship is naturally part of what you do.

Creativity surrounds us, wherever we look, people, landscapes, businesses, things that go, plants, food, music and so much more each have an element of uniqueness about them. If, creativity is around us all the time, that must mean that it has some influence on how we live our day-to-day life. If God inhabits our day, one must assume that creativity is part of our day too. This week I want us to consider how creativity in worship is naturally part of what you do. How can creativity, worship and our conversation with God blend into our everyday?

What’s the deal with Creativity?

You just need to look around you and see with amazement the things that God has created. He takes great care with what he makes, being specific and knowing every detail, creativity in worship shines through everywhere.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, Genesis 1.14

This act of creation shared with us, means we see stunning clouds and sky by day and amazing stars at night. Each one deliberately put there. Part of Gods plan when He ‘created’.

The English word create stems from the Latin word creare which means to make, bring forth or produce. Everyday each of us will do those things – make, bring forth or produce.

Take a moment now and write down everything you have done with your day so far.

Drawing and Pausing close to God.

Creativity allows the possibility to explore something different. It challenges your perception about what you see and do, and how it could be done differently. It isn’t one size fits all. It’s the willingness to explore and acknowledge even the little things.

How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139.17-18.

The little things such as the grains of sand and ALL our thoughts were important when God created us. He took the time to lean into those small details. Think about the small details that occur day to day for you, do you recognise them and thank God for them?

Let’s look deeper at worship.

How do you worship? What is important to you when you worship? What does it involve? Spend a few moments noting down the answers to those questions.

I have always seen worship as part of my everyday routine, as I begin conversations with God, I am entering into a time of worship. An acknowledgment that what I am doing is for him. Often worship is only considered as singing, or time together on a Sunday morning. But it is much bigger than that. This verse in John sums it up well.

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4.24 (emphasis mine)

In a nutshell according to this verse, entering into a conversation with God in any form is connecting with his spirit. Connecting with his spirit is part of creativity, resulting in creativity in worship. It’s like a perpetual cycle, one thing cannot happen without the other.

Forgiveness at the cross in worship

But how does creativity in worship go hand in hand?

As we draw to the end, I want to take some time to share and help you recognise that what you are doing already in your journey is using creativity in worship. You might also find some other things that you want to try.

Put a pause in.

Let’s look right back at Genesis again and remember that even through all that God was creating. He recognised the good bits, stood back to look at them and paused. This was a specific action that he put in at the end of every day. He chose to pause.

‘God saw all that He has made, and it was very good.’ Genesis 1.31

Perhaps for you, the biggest challenge in your creativity in worship might be putting in a pause, a full stop. To see what God has done or is doing. As you read on in Genesis God talks about how he chose to rest and bless that day.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2.2-3

Sitting in Gods creativity by the sea.

For me this verse isn’t talking about ensuring there is a full day of rest in your week, although lets face it that would be lovely! It’s talking about how God made the active choice that to connect with his spirit and what he had done he needed to pause. And choose to bless what has been done.

Day to day putting in a pause (however big or small) and choosing to acknowledge God will enable you to draw closer to him. As you build confidence, your conversations, movements and actions during that moment of pause will become more intentional.

Write it down, draw it, move it out.

God made us all unique, that means how we choose to record our journey will be different.

You could write it down in prose, poem, song, story. Draw it in intricate detail, or any way you like. Or, move and dance what ever is stirring on your heart. That could be as simple as standing still, kneeling down or raising hands. It could also go deeper and involve a complete movement dance.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29.2

In our worship give God glory. What that looks like for you will be different to your friend. For example, although I love to move, part of my worship is also creating this blog post. It’s cutting out material patterns, it’s eating food! They are all things that can remind me of God’s greatness and how He is part of my conversation daily.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12.1

As I remember those things I acknowledge what God is doing, I praise Him and thank Him and chat with him. This grows my creativity in worship.

Growing plants outside as part of creativity in worship.

Create delight in the mundane.

This is a favourite of mine. It’s about the intentional choice to involve God in those things that you have to get done day to day.

Yep, you’ve guessed it! The cooking, cleaning, packing, folding, washing, drying and more that can encapsulate the majority of life. The stuff that has to get done and often we don’t want to spend time doing. So why not bring God into the occasion?

  • Listen to a sermon or song as you iron, wash dishes, fold clothes etc.
  • Pray for someone every time you make yourself a drink – you have a list up on the wall.
  • Give God praise as the kettle is boiling. Remember that God wants his passion to bubble up inside us.
  • As you clean focus on the sin Jesus washed away, what do you need to say sorry for?

I could make a big list of things. This is all creative, it’s all worship. Action and intention creates a reaction.

As a starting point for you, why don’t you list, things that you know you have to do day to day down one side of the paper. Then on the other side of the paper write one way that you can interact with God through it.

This is your personal way to grow your creativity in worship! Let me know what you create!!

lory to God - dancing outside with a silver flag worshipping God.

You are creative!!

A final note to finish with, is a reminder that you are creative. What ever it is that you do there will ALWAYS be creativity in it. God is all around us, so he’s all around your creativity and what you create. Cheering you on, giving you your best.

Whether that’s –

  • Writing blog posts, reports and documents.
  • Folding clothes
  • Creating dance and movement
  • Sewing
  • Washing up
  • Playing with children
  • Teaching children!
  • Building, drilling, or cutting something
  • Planting, growing and sowing things.

There is creativity within you. You can make the choice to include it in your conversations with God.

Would love to know how you’ve got on with this. If you fancy reading more about movement and worship I recommend you reading this post 4 Ways of Worship bringing intimacy with God and Three things that can impact dance to worship.

Not part of the UC Grace journey? Jump on board, we would love to have you. Sign up here.

Pinterest graphic with beach view and field dancing showing creativity.

Closer to God – Encountering God through prayer and movement

Following on from my blog post How can I start to Prayer Dance, I wanted to take the time to be more specific about ways that you can begin moving and encountering God through prayer and movement. What’s important to remember is that all movement day to day can be a part of your prayers. It’s the intention that’s behind the movement when you do it.

I want to break it down into 3 easy movements for you to explore at your own pace – stand, sit or kneel and lie down. Each of these are postures that can be made before God, during your worship and prayer time. The reason these movements work well is because it encourages a 3-dimensional view of your prayer. Looking forward, behind, around you and up above, it changes your perspective to what you are praying for.

Let me break it down a bit –

Standing and praying to God.

Standing

Standing itself is an action, think about all the different ways you can stand and whether they are always static. For example, we very rarely stand completely still. Often, we are swaying slightly, shifting from foot to foot or walking/ moving forward.

The intention behind a standing prayer is the decision to look forward to what is to come. Accepting what’s happened behind and choosing to seek God with the future or ways to move forward. It’s noticing what happened before to get you to where you are now and striving forward to see what will come.

Kneeling and praying

Sitting (or kneeling)

Sitting often requires an acceptance of the situation or moment that you are in. It might also involve an exhale of breath and the release of tension.

The intention is pausing in the current whirlwind to see where you are. Allowing yourself to be in the present, notice things around you. People, conversations, God. To choose to take big breaths for that moment.

Lying down encountering God through movement.

Lying down

Lying down forces, you to look upwards, to lift your face to what’s coming down, receive, accept and look at all the areas you couldn’t see from the other perspectives!

The intention is surrender, turning your face to God to receive his spirit, to listen to his voice and give to him the things that you have been holding onto.

But how will these movement help me with encountering God through prayer?

Let’s put it into practice…

Before we add an intention to your movements, get familiar with the movements and the space you’re in. Work your way through the different postures making note of what you see and how you feel. Often there is one that feels more comfy.

Now decide what you want to pray for…

Sometimes, if you’re a pen and paper person it can be useful to write down the things that you might want to pray for in each of the different postures. Or you can wing it!

Then move it…

You can work your way through the different postures speaking out your prayers in each place, pausing to listen to God.

Or if you are a mover and dancer then you can step out the things you have written into some simple movements or hand gestures.

Remember

The intention that you bring a movement can make it a prayer. So even if you’re washing up and scrubbing something clean, you can choose that movement for example to be a prayer…

  • About removing bad words said against you or someone else.
  • For new things to come when old stuff has gone.
  • To see the goodness amongst the craziness of life.

Intention in the action creates the prayer.

Praying with God outside.

– –

If you’re interested in learning more about prayer, dance and movement then there’s a free PDF download you grab here.

There is also weekly prayer dance bite session, where we look at scripture and how that reflects in our life at the moment and adding movement to do. More information about this can be found on the Prayer Dance Bites page on the website here.

Jesus for kids – Toddle Tales share about Bible stories for children

This week we meet the lovely Lauren from Toddle Tales. Lauren shares a bit about herself, what Toddle Tales is and why it’s passionate about sharing Bible stories for children.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello, I’m Lauren, and I am a married mum, with two gorgeous boys, who are 6 and 2. I used to teach music before I had the boys and I love dancing, singing and watching series on Netflix!

What is Toddle Tales?

Toddle Tales is the re-telling of Bible Stories for children, particularly the under 5s. Although, since lockdown ages up to 10 years old have also been enjoying it! All stories are made up of narrative and songs. This helps reinforce the story and these songs are written to the tunes of nursery rhymes. Before lockdown I did live sessions which were very interactive. The children got a chance to join in with the songs with either dressing up, performing actions or holding puppets. Since lockdown I have ventured into producing videos. Which have been reaching lots of different ages groups and I know have been very useful for parents when they want their children to engage with something Biblical on a Sunday.

How important is the Christian faith with Toddle Tales?

The Christian faith is important to Toddle Tales, because that is what drove me to create it in the first place. It was when I was working for a company called Molly Moo Cow, going into nurseries and singing and telling stories. God gave me the idea to do this for Bible stories.

Using the skills that God has given me, I have created another way of telling the Bible to children, in a way that is accessible. It is early days for Toddle Tales, and I have no idea what the future holds…but that is what faith is, trusting without knowing what will happen.

Lauren teaching Bible stories for children using Mary and Joseph.

Why is it so invested is it so invested in teaching Bible stories for children?

Toddle Tales is invested in children because as Whitney Houston put it “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way” (Yes, I love a bit of Whitney). But of course, before Whitney sung this, the Bible teaches us to

“Train them up, in the way they should go.” Proverbs 22.6

Toddle Tales is just another way of teaching the Bible to young children, in the hope to engage them from a young age and plant seeds in their heart.

Can you share 3 tips to encourage parents in their conversation or teaching with their children about God?

OK so I sometimes struggle with this one myself(!) What I do try to do is best described with three words – pray, dance, and joy!

Pray

Actively choose to pray with them before they go to bed. Currently its just me who leads prayers as my eldest son struggles a bit. We thank God for the day and ask for a good night’s sleep with no bad dreams and that we would have a good day tomorrow. I feel it’s important to identify the things we are thankful for as well as look ahead to what is to come. Often, it’s very short to keep their concentration. But it’s still demonstrating to them how we can have a conversation with God regularly.

Dance

We do a lot of dancing, so I put on worship music and let the words of the song permeate into their souls. Waymaker is a firm favourite at the moment, but often we will find a compilation on Spotify and see what comes up. Adding in songs that they want to as they go. I try to give them a sense that all music works with movement and talk about them having a dancing spirit and how God loves it when they dance!

Finding the joy!

My older son gets very cross and his personality gets him stuck in the “it’s not fair” thoughts and attitudes. So, I have recently tried a new tactic of singing “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart song” Yeah, you know the one I mean, it gets stuck in your head!! But I have found that cuts through his mood. He tries not to smile, but I can see it helps him to break free. He even started singing it the other day in CO-OP (really loudly haha). I suppose what I try to do is rather than drum into them about God. I bring God into our every day, through creative means, as we all know that children learn best through creativity.

Energetic Lauren sharing Bible Stories.

Finally, Lauren, what is the thing you love most about Toddle Tales?

The thing I most love about Toddle Tales is creating the stories and performing them. Since lockdown I have also ventured into producing videos, which I have also loved doing and the feedback I have got from them, has also been worth it too.

– –

So great to hear about Toddle Tales and some of Lauren’s heart. If you want to know more about Toddle tales you can follow them on Facebook here and check out some of their videos on YouTube here.

If you’d like to read more about sharing with children, check out this blog post here from Prinith’s experience teaching children worship dance.

Pinterest graphic Toddle tales sharing Bible stories for children.

Worship Dance Ministry – God sustaining us through movement

Movement encounters our emotions in whatever form it takes – dancing, singing, sport, cooking – are just a few. They all involve movement and all provide ways to keep sustaining us when it gets tough. God is there to give us more than enough, all the time. But do you recognise that God sustaining us, enables us to share his word better, to love our passion greater and to pause letting our hearts get better? That thing that helps to sustain you, is a passion, it stirs your heart.

Sharing a passion…

This month we’ve been chatting a bit about passion, what it means to us as individuals, and what it might mean for the plan God has for us. I shared this week during my talk, Passion in a Suitcase some of my journey and scriptures that have enabled me to keep going no matter what.

I speak about how passion isn’t necessarily a specific activity it’s something that stirs your heart, it’s something that causes you to want to do more of it. That could be to do with a physical activity, it could be an emotion, it could be your workspace, it could be where you live, or it could be something to do with your family. If it stirs your heart it’s a passion! What’s stirring your heart today?

Today I want to look back on a fabulous dance day in 2014 and draw your attention to a dance that we did called ‘Can’t Stop Singing’. The song itself speaks about how God is more than enough. That God sustaining us, is Gods whole heart. Regardless of circumstances, regardless of what we feel, God is more than enough.

I feel it demonstrates some of that hidden passion inside us. It drew on emotions to explore the words and individually encounter the grace that God gives us. We moved in groups and recognised that moving together and saying that the Lord is our Redeemer over everything can bring so much joy.

The day was titled ‘Sharing a Passion, Generating Creativity.’ It allowed opportunity for God to work amongst the participants and see each of them grow closer to God with their faith.

I led the day with Joe Littledyke from Soul Survivor Watford. Whilst we were planning we had a real sense that the day was all about joy and celebrating. Celebrating that God sustaining us, always has done, will be, and that he is always there.

Bringing out our passion from darkness to light.

Lights on… Lights off… Let’s worship

The venue that we had the privilege to move in for the dance day, was equipped with various lights on the ceiling to change the lighting atmosphere. Normally we all worship with the lights on. But sometimes to bring out our passion, we have to begin in darkness and grow into the light.

During some of our time dancing that day we experimented with different lights. Chasing, jumping, growing and retreating with them. As God spoke to us over the course of the day participants recognised that the lights helped to portray and feel a real sense that God was there.

As we built the dance to the song ‘Can’t stop singing’ we experimented further what the lights could do and the impact they could have alongside the words of the song and the movements that were created.

For many, the moments of darkness put them into a sense of suspense. Suspense at not knowing when they needed to burst out and declare their movement. But suspense that God has called them to step out of the darkness and into the light.

God sustaining us is More than Enough

God will always give us more than enough. That was the key theme throughout the song ‘Can’t stop singing’. It cheers us to keep singing, moving, and trusting that God will give more than enough, to sustain us through the season that we are in.

Think about your season at the moment. How is it going? Are you giving yourself a chance to step out of the darkness and into the light declaring that God is more than enough? What does it mean to you when you say ‘God you are more than enough’.

As I say them I release the things on my heart back to God. Knowing that he knows my heart and what I need. Psalm 347.4 says ‘God gives you the desires of your heart.’ He will always supply what we need and give us more than enough!

I pray that as you watch this video, you will have a sense of the joy and celebration that God sings over your life. May you realise that God is all you need right now to sustain you. That he will carry you through this season, enlarging your territory and strengthening your foundation.

Be blessed!

You can hear the Passion in a Suitcase talk I mentioned at the beginning by heading here to purchase your copy.

What is the cornerstone of your faith? Is a really good blog post that encourages you to root yourself in some key scripture. This will enable us to see God sustaining us through seasons that are hard.

God sustains us through movement - being the light in the darkness.

Closer to God – My journey of advent prayer dance

If you follow me on social media you will have seen me posting daily throughout advent, an advent prayer dance. As advent comes to an end I wanted to share my journey of where it’s taken me over the 24 days. Prayer dance initiates so many people’s conversations with God. I delighted having the opportunity to be intentional, persevere and draw closer to God during this season.

Smiling with intention in advent prayer dance

Intentionality

In a month when I knew life would be very busy, I knew I had to be intentional about my prayers and communication with God during this advent season, choosing to a advent prayer dance everyday was very special. Prayer dance is something very close to the heart of UC Grace and has been the soul of 2020 as we have kept people moving for Jesus.

This wasn’t just about being intentional with DANCING a prayer, but being intentional about WHAT I was going to pray about. Whilst God gives us the freedom to move how we wish. If there is no intention behind what we are doing then it can be hard to see Jesus at the centre.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.

Romans 12.12

My intention was to share some of what God was saying during this season, identifying daily different things I could pray for. Which, through sharing with you would encourage, grow and ignite you during this season.

A goal of mine at the beginning of 2020, was to be intentional about incorporating movement into my daily life. At the beginning of the year I didn’t know what that would look like, and I probably should have been more specific – considering goals are supposed to be specific!

But 2020 has brought a new dimension to my movement, as it’s got closer to the end of the year I was prompted to share this with you. The advent dances offer glimpses into how I have been feeling and things God has laid on my heart.

Persevering to Jesus in advent prayer

Perseverance

This year more than ever perseverance has been important. In family, personal, spiritual and work life. Much of what we knew was turned upside down over night with the pandemic. With the majority of stuff still nowhere near what it once was or will be.

Perseverance during #adventdance for me has been about still choosing to move when I was tired, sad, or fed up. Those times that I made the effort to move through the emotions drew me closer to God. At the end of the day we to make the choice – 

To read about Jesus

Learn about how he lives

Ask him to help us in the tough times

Say thank you when we see him in the big stuff

OR

To live Jesus

Demonstrating to others who He is through how we live

Praying continually regardless of circumstance

Seeking joy and thankfulness on a daily basis

Prayer dance often puts you out of your comfort zone, challenging where God is in certain aspects of your life and your attitude towards others. But, it enables you to persevere through all circumstances, and dance when words are not sufficient to talk to God.

The days when I pushed through with advent prayer and still danced, peace reigned!

Kneeling closer to Jesus in advent

Closeness to God through advent prayer dance

Often people say pictures speak 1000 words. There’s detail, emotion, depth, growth and so much more when you look at pictures. But look at movement and you see someone’s heart on display.

You identify what they are feeling at that very moment and there’s an invitation for you to come and take part in what they are experiencing. As I shared these advent dances I was sharing what my heart was going through that day. There were days which were hard, but worship brings such a delight. Instead of letting the day dictate my feelings, I stepped out and followed through with the choice (intention) I had made to still dance (persevere). Through this I drew into God’s presence and stood by his side as I moved.

Reaching the end of my advent prayer dances, I really wanted to share with people something that God was saying I should do over the Christmas season, and that’s smile! Yes, I have a husband deployed and I always knew that this Christmas would be a different one. 

However, it’s now a different one for everyone in the country (little bit of comfort there). Despite many feeling like ‘Christmas is cancelled’. God says smile :-), I am here. Seek me, find me and draw close to me in the way that fits you.

We are all individual and how we choose to draw close to God during this time will be different. My journey is movement… what’s yours?

I’ll leave you with my #adventdance day 24 SMILE

Music – Smile, Sidewalk Prophets.

If you want to read more about prayer dance and how you can encounter it for yourself, head over to read How can I start to prayer dance?

To check out all dances from #adventdance head over to my Facebook or Instagram page.

Pinterest picture of advent prayer dance pictures.

Types of Worship – 4 ways of worship bringing intimacy with God

Many of you will be part of churches that will be tackling current world situations differently as a church body. You might find what they are doing encouraging, or you could be frustrated. One thing that has struck me more and more, is the state of worship for Christians. In the UK singing isn’t allowed in churches, I’ve spent time asking God what it means for worship going forward. For those that are dancers and movers you may naturally have fallen into a different ways of worship. For others you may have found this season harder. I want to share 4 ways you can look at worship differently that bring an intimacy with God.

Worship is such an important part of our life as a Christian. Often we can get caught up in the regularity of how worship is delivered in church. The perceived notion of only one or two ways that we can connect with God through worship. However, the Bible shares that it’s much more than that. More than going to church and singing. Worship should encompass our whole life as a Christian.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

John 4.23

But do remember, God made each of us individual, therefore these 5 ways might not work for you, but I hope they inspire you to discover amazing ways you can interact and worship our amazing God.

Serving

God delights in nothing more than when we offer our time to be with him. This can be in a variety of different contexts, church, home, community and more. I want to focus on serving at home. In this scenario, serving in our home provides opportunities to reveal your heart as you go about your day to day.

We know how tiresome the mundane bits of life can get – washing, cleaning, cooking, being a parent (yes, come on, let’s be real with each other here). But our attitude and communication within these displays our true heart to God. If we approach something that needs doing with an intention for God, we are choosing to worship God as we do. During those moments of washing the dishes, hoovering the floor or splitting up a sibling argument. Choose to have God in centre, create conversation and intent as you serve around your house and see how this can be part of your ways to worship.

Creation

We live in an amazing world, with wonders around every corner, if you choose to seek them. Acknowledging what we see around us should be part of our conversation with God. Our way of revealing the things that inspire us and give us all sorts of emotions. Prompting prayers, praise and thanksgiving.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Romans 12.11

When you are outside, start to notice and pay attention to the things that you see. This time of year we will walk around and see bare trees, coloured leaves on the floor, and muddy puddles. There will be wind, rain, frost, autumn sun and lots more. These are all things that God created, and as you look at the detail you can see life and wholeness. The chance to see God and worship him through the things that he has made.

Words

Words as ways of worship may seen abstract. But inside each of us is the ability to formulate sentences. Putting thoughts onto paper in songs, poems, stories and speeches.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

Psalm 29.2

The Psalms is a book that is full of worship for God, full of words, images from words, poems, songs and more. Why not see how you can write something as part of ways of worship to God.

writing as ways to worship

Art

A picture paints a 1000 words… Art is broad term, the meaning behind the word here, is creativity is the visual sense. Putting what you feel God is saying onto something that can be seen. Think of some of the qualities that you love most about Jesus. If you painted them as you thought about them, exploring their meanings, feelings and expectations. You’re drawing Jesus into your journey and worshipping him whilst you do it.

artwork saying breathe in worship
art work exploring roots

This lovely piece of art work was built upon throughout the course of weekend. It was Emma’s response to what was discovered during the dance sessions. What she felt God was saying and what she wanted to bless others with as they moved and danced around it.

How intimacy fits into ways of worship.

I’ve saved the best till last. This is the most important thing when we worship God. It isn’t about everything else that we think we need in order to enter into God’s presence and worship him. It is about choosing to be intimate with him.

‘First be intimate with me and then more will come.’

By intimacy I am referring to the decision to seek God no matter what is going on. To have an on-going dialogue with him or make the effort to. It’s about being real and genuine about how you are feeling and the impact that life around you is having on you.

dancer arms out in worship

In the ever-changing landscape of Christian worship at the moment, sung worship isn’t accessible like it was. We must make the effort – and have the realisation – that just singing is not worship. Worship is much bigger than that. It begins with being intimate with Jesus and making the choice to seek his presence and see different ways of worship.

Think about your relationship with God currently. Then think about the previous 4 points I have made about interacting with worship. In what ways can you have a more intimate relationship with God?

As we finish, let me take you right back to what I said at the beginning. God made us all individually, we are unique! Therefore, how you choose to be intimate with God, how you choose to worship will be unique to you. You don’t have to fit into a mould, you just have to rest in the Father’s embrace and know that He is there for you.

If you want to read more about dance as worship check out the blog post Dance Ministry – Four ways we can raise a Worship Dance Army.

If you’d like to find out ways that you can join us and explore worship dance head here.

Pinterest ways of worship

Types of worship – Three things that can impact dance to worship

The interaction of worship is different for each person. Everyone’s understanding of drawing closer to God in worship will be different. Part of this is recognising the types of worship that people connect with are individual to that person. I want to share 3 things that have impacted me using dance to worship.

It’s all in the MOMENT. God gives each of us ‘moments’ in our lives. Moments to be ‘in’ and respond to.

How did it start?

I am often asked how I started to use dance in worship. The simple answer is, as a child I had the freedom to copy someone else and was encouraged to grow and explore with movement. Adults are such role models to children – watching and doing provided a way for me to draw closer to God – my faith grew beneath the surface.

Think about a seed and its roots, often we wait a long time for the seed to sprout. Underneath the surface things must happen first. Roots are crucial to the seed for it be anchored in the soil, they also help to obtain the right nutrients and conditions for the seed to flourish. For many years roots were anchoring within me, ready to give me the nudge when I needed it.

From an early age I realised that people connected with worship in different ways – through singing, playing an instrument, writing poetry, doing art, moving their body and much more. Some people assume that worship is just singing in church, it is so much more. Everyone has the chance to explore types of worship that suit them.

Two worship dancers holding hands exploring types of worship.

What is dance to me?

Dance for me is a way to connect, engage, share and journey with people in their faith, a stepping stone to something deeper. God always amazes me with the way he shows up and ministers to people during workshops and dance days. He cannot be put in a box and you have to be willing to expect the unexpected.

Using dance to engage with one’s faith is about putting an action to a thought, feeling or word. Allowing God to move through you and speak to you through that. It is the language I use to deepen my conversation with God, respond to the Holy Spirit and reveal Jesus to others.

Therefore, for me, dance and faith are one. I feel Jesus, experience him, and get carried on the wind by him.

So how can fusing dance and faith together act as one of the types of worship?

Fusing dance and faith together ignites a passion, brings a purpose to your faith and a freedom to the journey you have with God.

Passion…

Can be such a big word and mean so many things, but when you worship you are choosing to share in something that is powerful and special to you. I have this phrase ‘Passion in a Suitcase’. For quite a while my circumstances meant I had to move around with where I lived and the things that I did. Each time my passion was not lost but put into a suitcase. How I unpacked it when I arrived at my new destination always depended on God.

Our passion can be used in different ways, it is the ignition to what will come after which often provides the act of choosing to bring out something that is within. Dance and movement offer that opportunity and an interaction to explore how dance can bring passion to types of worship.

Purpose

Is choosing to put use dance to communicate with God using the solid foundation that comes from the Bible. Just as our faith needs to be rooted in the Word, so does our movement.

The Armour of God is an amazing symbol of the ‘equipment’ that God gives us to worship and follow him. By choosing to raise our arms whilst singing in praise and worship, kneel in response to the words of a song or bow our heads to pray. We are making movement and putting purpose into our journey.

Dance in worship need not be flamboyant or to a professional standard. Instead it is strong and contagious and part of our everyday actions. Just like worship is part of our day when we praise Him for the glorious skies, thank Him for our safe journeys, cry out to Him in pain. We are all already dancers in our own right. God created us to move (Acts 17) and we all move in our own individual way.

Using the word ‘dancer’ might be too strong for some of you. So instead consider a phrase my husband likes to use ‘I don’t dance, I move well’. For him having the association of being a dancer is too strong. But he will happily say that he moves well and enjoys doing so when he does. Perhaps for you, this is the preferred way of looking at it; moving well and moving with God.

Single lady worshipping with a yellow and blue ribbon.

Freedom…

God gives us freedom to demonstrate our journey how we need to. He also gives us the Holy Spirit, to enable us to grasp a deeper understanding of walking with Jesus. Faith and dance stimulate a different perspective on your relationship with God. Offering a safe way to explore other types of worship.

A simple exercise you can try is to think about ‘passing on the fire inside’. Think about a ball of light that is inside you wanting to grow, a tiny little flame. Flames are not always big to start with, they grow. As you imagine this flame glowing and growing inside you, how does it encourage you to start moving your body in reaction to this?

The Holy Spirit is always inside us, sometimes it is a still small flame, other times a raging fire, but we’ve got to be willing to let the fire grow and move in our lives as God would want it.

Group of dancers using ribbons in worship.

I want to leave you with a testimony from a dance day. It’s from a gentleman who is musical and plays in a worship band, who bravely came on the dance day having done no moving before. He had been feeling for a while that he wanted to move and do something much more in worship…

“It was very moving to dance as I wanted to worship music, meeting with God, moving my body freely for the first time without fear of judgement. Like strolling in long grass beside a river with God. It made me cry as I felt free to use my body to bring glory and praise to God for the first time.’

If you’d like to understand more about how worship dance can impact your life have a read through 1000 Reasons to dance for the King. There also opportunities to engage in our events, head over to our events page.

Don’t forget you can also join the mailing list here ?

Closer to God – How can I start to Prayer Dance?

Our heart within UC Grace has always been to encourage, grow and release those it connected with. How it has done that over the past 10 years has evolved alongside the people that have joined our journey. But a feature in many of our weekends and events is prayer dance.

Put simply, prayer dance is just dancing your prayers without the need for words, letting movement tell the story instead. Sometimes this can be influenced with music, other times music isn’t necessary to capture and share what God is speaking through the movement.

This can take you completely out of your comfort zone. But in this post I will walk you through a few ways that you can get into a rhythm of trying this. These suggestions can used for any type of prayer you need to make – personal, corporate, family, friend etc

Prayer dance being explore within a group.

Write it, learn it, dance it

Think about one thing that you would like to pray for currently. Write it down into a simple written prayer. It’s important to use key words that describe what the issue is, any emotions involved, and any encouraging words. Don’t make it complicated.

Next take the time to learn that prayer off by heart, to begin ingraining it so you anticipate what is coming next. When you speak, you naturally emphasise certain words, start to recognise the words that you are emphasising. These are your movement starting points.

Begin to put specific movements to the words that stand out to you in your prayer and practice them one after the other.

You now have a prayer dance! You have the choice to speak the words out loud and move the prayer at the same time or simply move it. Often our prayers are repeated, you now have a prayer dance that you can repeat. Then expand and alter as time moves on.

Let a song be your prayer dance

Words in songs can be very powerful, often you might find yourself either picking up on one or two key phrases or become enveloped in the song completely. Worship songs bring a different layer to our prayers. Many are written as heartfelt prayers, words directly from scriptures or specific words from God. This can be a natural way dance your prayer.

Autumn has set in around me, which meant that this morning was one of those lovely sunny autumn mornings. Brilliant sunshine, bright blue skies with some clouds, and a cooler temperature. A day that prompted recognising the things that we can be thankful for.

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Psalm 95.1

As I sat and listened the song ‘This is the day’ by Pat Barrett, I couldn’t help but want to express the words as a prayer. For me, the song speaks so much movement, that speaking it or singing it, wasn’t changing the atmosphere as much as when I chose to move to it.

Think about some of the songs that you love, what parts of them are your prayer right now. Take some time to respond to those words, and, just like I mentioned above, learn it. Then in those moments when you need to remember that prayer you can simply move it – without the need for music.

Here is how I responded to the song This is the day, as my prayer dance.

Would you like to find out more?

If you’d love to explore more ways of exploring prayer dance, also read this on the blog. Plus, here are a few things that can help you.

40 Day Dance and Movement Devotional

Soak at Home

Prayer Dance Bites

Scripture prompts

Prayer dance pinterest graphic

Christian Dance – How to adapt Choreography to use worship flags in Christian dance

Many people ask me how you can incorporate the use of worship flags into Christian dance without just simply twirling them. The simple answer is that you consider it as part of your body! This, I recognise is easier said than done. We have the habit when we move, of moving within our own ‘box’ or ‘frame’. A predetermined space or movement set up, where we are comfy. Christian dance is about encouraging people to move out of the box and into a new way of moving that allows them to have a deeper connection with God. Just like you have to work to deepen your learning and understanding of a subject. You also have to do this for Christian dance. This means that God will have even greater space to move through you and demonstrate Jesus to others.

Group of worship dancers moving with worship flags.

What is adaptive choreography?

Dancers and movers often put themselves in one of two groups for Christian dance – worship flag dancer or non-worship flag dancer. Both of which are self-explanatory. It doesn’t mean that they don’t ever do the other group. It means that they have a group they are most comfortable with. Often moving into the other group takes courage for some dancers.

Identifying a way that you can move seamlessly between groups can help build confidence and develop your worship dance skills. Here are just a few things to encourage you as you try this.

How do you hold your flag?

Flags (or banners) essentially consist of some form of rod and a piece of material. The exact make up of these two, is dependent upon your preference. I teach using dowelling as the rod and a rectangular piece of material. These I believe offer a greater foundation for beginners.

When holding the flag, the ideal placement is thumb and index finger sandwiched around the base of the material where it is on the rod. This means that as you move the flag you can also untwist the rod if the material begins to get caught around it.

Christian dance holding flags between finger and thumb.

What initial movements can I do?

Initial movements with a flag involve circles, side ways figure of eights, ripples, throws, turns, rainbows and twists. Although with these you can travel and move them, they can be quite static in comparison to ‘dancing’ with the flag.

worship dancers mirroring movements.

So how can we move from a static place to incorporating fluidity with the worship flag in Christian dance?

Firstly, you need to remember two very important things when choosing to move with the flag:

The flag is an extension of your arm. When you choreograph the worship flag sits at the end of your arm. This means that one arm is longer than the other, but that doesn’t mean your usual movements are inhibited.

Golden worship flag

Moving with a flag brings Gods power. Moving with a worship flag/ banner should not be done lightly. It’s an act of bringing Gods power down to earth in an almighty and visual way. Therefore know why you choose to use a flag and know that you are declaring Gods power in the process.

Secondly, choreographing without a worship flag first makes adapting with a flag easier.

In the video below I first choreographed, movements using my body alone. I went over and over these movements until I knew them well. Once that was done, and only then, I picked up a worship flag to use within the already choreographed moves. Some of the movements naturally transposed to using the flag with them, others needed adapting slightly.

Good to note…

There are many ways to develop movement using the worship flag in Christian dance. But this is a way I would encourage for those that are not used to choreographing with flags. It allows dancers to see a difference between moving with and without. Plus the effect some changes can make in order to use the worship flag effectively.

In addition, the more comfortable you get with moving with a worship flag, the more spontaneous your movements become. Creating the fluidity you might see in others who are more experienced using them.

I’d love to know what ways you choreograph and develop movement with flags? Or how you choreograph and move with a flag!! Click here and drop me a line.

If you would like to join us at one of our events, make sure you check out our Events page.

Pinterest adapting choreography with christian dance

Closer to God – Deepen your relationship with God in 3 ways with Psalm 100

Expanding our relationship with God can be done in so many ways. I want to take just a moment to reflect on Psalm 100 and 3 simple ways to grow that relationship with God. Through joy, knowing God and thanksgiving. Find a quiet space with a pen and paper and see what God says to you.

Shout for joy to the Lord

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. (Psalm 100. 1-2)

Does joy elude you sometimes, do you find it hard to have, discover, receive? Joy is central to how God has made us. He wants us to shout about Him all round the earth, to worship him with gladness.

Joy enables us to experience what God feels about us, to build our relationship to God and worship with our whole being. It allows an overflow of what we feel inside to be demonstrated on the outside. There is joy in our every day, but we must make the effort to find it.

So how can you shout for Joy to the Lord? Notice when you smile! Simples as the meerkat would say! Our hectic world means that we are often haring about from one thing to another and don’t pause, don’t pick up when you’ve made a smile, giggled or jumped!

A simple change to find that joy to shout out about, is to pause and make note! Whether that is a physical note in a diary, a photo or simply just actually acknowledging that thing that brought you some joy!

We can only come before God with joyful songs if we have made the effort to find our joyful songs and moments in life!

Waving flags in an outside park.

Know you relationship with God

Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100.3)

In Psalm 139 and Jeremiah 29, we hear how God has made us all individual, that every bit of our plans, he has already written and will come to pass. We are His because He made us. In those moments when it might be hard to find joy, know that God is with you. That he will carry you, he will care for you, and that he will support you.

God loves the analogy of the sheep, he uses them to help us foster our relationship with God. Sheep willingly follow where others go, as God draws us into his pasture, may we lean on him, may we know him, and recognise that we are his people.

And that in spite of everything else is going on around us God is our God and as we seek to bring joy, gladness and worship into our lives, may we just trust God more, may we put our hearts on the line. Seeking the pasture and whatever it brings.

What are the reasons you personally know the Lord is God? Why not make a note  stick them somewhere visible.

at the cross contemplating their relationship with God.
Reading Gods to build a relationship with God.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100.4-5)

The final section in Psalm 100 encourages us to keep going with our praises. A joyful or thankful day shouldn’t be just once! It should be on going, and earnestly sought. God puts laughter, exploration and fun in our soul. He delights in seeing us exploring Him, growing closer to Him and having fun doing so.

God’s faithfulness will always shine through even in those times when praising and thanking is hard, God will still stand beside you.

How often do you thank God in your day? Why don’t you commit to acknowledging 5 things you are thankful for at the end of each day? You could do this as a family, in a journal, as a doodle, a dance and movement, sing it, or any other creative way that you feel suits you as an individual.

Lets just celebrate and wave our arms
Having thanksgiving conversations with friends.

I want to leave you with a fun video, that encapsulates a moment of joy on one of the UC Grace weekends away. If you want to see more from our dance weekends head to the gallery here. If you have a desire to go deeper with scripture and dance and movement, then check out our Prayer Dance Bites here.

Pinterest graphic. Ladies reading the bible to deepen relationship with God.