Why is creativity so important?

The word creativity has been on my mind a lot recently, it’s taken me right back to why I started UC Grace, and how Living Colour dance workshops came about. I’ve been reading through previous notes and realising that at times it’s important to go back to your roots.

The ultimate reason I began UC Grace in 2010 was a passion to share with others the impact that dance and movement can have with our faith, and how it can be instrumental in encouraging others in their walk, bringing others to faith, and teaching Gods word. I wanted to acknowledge that God has given us a creative spirit, to explore, move and grow with. To put ourselves outside the box.

But as with so many things in life, distractions arise and before you know it, where you think you were, you no longer are.

Creativity takes courage. Henri Matisse

A dear friend gave me a card with the saying ‘Creativity takes Courage’. Initially I read it and put it to one side. Until last week, when I was drawn back to it, and the need to understand the implications of what that phrase means to me and to UC Grace.

Creativity has been a fundamental part of how UC Grace has developed, it’s integral to how we deliver our workshops, training and dance weekends and is actively encouraged amongst participants to help them draw closer to God.

However, I’ve felt challenged, that this fundamental root, the thing that shines through our work and sets it apart from others, has wilted. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve delivered all events with the same amount of gusto and passion, but had a feeling like something was missing, but not knowing what.

As this year has got underway, the Holy Spirit has whispered in me more, and I’ve realised its creativity that’s missing. Or more specifically how I share the connection of dance and movement and our faith, by offering a creative channel within which to do it.

Let me share for a moment what I mean by creativity with dance and movement and our faith!

An aspect that we look at a lot, is our journey, how we’ve got there, and where we might be going to. At one particular Living Colour session I asked participants to take a piece of paper and think about the journey that they had been on over the last week, and if they drew it, what would it look like? I then asked them at what points on that journey did they know that God was with them, and to mark it on the paper. From there their task was to transpose that picture into movement working individually initially, but then as a group. You can read more about how they did it, by reading the workshop plan here. But for now, look at the video below to see how they went from a picture to movement.

So why does it take courage? It takes courage, because for a lot of people creativity is something they don’t experience in their day to day. It’s something that doesn’t have a written step by step process, or tick boxes. It’s something that draws us to discover something new about ourselves, by stepping out the box.

The process is as important as the result is, both of which you might not have control over. Creativity takes courage, as it challenges your perceptions, your routine and your mindset. At UC Grace, that discovery happens in a safe environment, where whatever the result is, we support you as best as we can. Most importantly though, you join in as much or as little as you want.

It’s never been about the numbers that come to events. It’s about the hearts. I believe that if you join us at our events, God has put you there for a reason, and I value that. The connection between creativity and people’s hearts is so important.

So, the soul of our Living Colour dance mornings, our soak evenings, dance days and dance weekends is…

Over the next month or so, I am looking forward to continuing to weave this strand, across the whole of UC Grace, some of what is on our website currently is not where UC Grace is now. As God moves each of us on in our journey, God also moves UC Grace, and I’m looking forward to delving into putting creativity right back at our heart, as well as revisiting our values and vision.

We started with that phrase in 2010, let’s head back their in 2019 and see where it takes us.

I’d love to know your thoughts and experiences, if you have danced and moved with UC Grace. But also, those that haven’t, how do you use creativity? What does it mean to you?

Worship Flags – 4 Good Things to Know about Worship Flags in the Bible.

Psalm 20.4-5 scripture.

Throughout history flags and ribbons have been used in many significant ways – declaration and proclamation, worship, battle and celebration. Flags have become increasingly popular in churches to demonstrate freedom of expression and encourage other people to experience and try out dance and moving with their faith. Today I want to share 4 good things to know about worship flags in the Bible.

Know this before you start

Flags and banners themselves have no power. The significance is in Scripture and what they symbolize, God ‘inhabits the praises of His people’ and brings the kingdom in when we choose to take them up in faith.

However, I feel strongly, that flags and banners should not be picked up lightly. There is a lot more power in them, than people realise. They are vehicle to talk to God, to communicate, worship and share your heart. Be aware of this, as you choose to move with them.

Let’s try and understand them a bit more…

How are worship flags used in the Bible?

Historically in the Bible there were 4 different ways worship flags and banners were used. Let’s look at an overview.

  1. Israel’s banner of God being with them demonstrated how they were a people who belonged to God. They housed the Ark of the Covenant, with them morning and evening. It was a symbol of God saying I am with you, just like we have the Holy Spirit.
  2. Each tribe had one rallying point for the fighting men of the tribes. This brought together a demonstration of military and fighting force. They could look to the horizon and know the banner they needed to get back to.
  3. The next level was tribal unit identity. There were 3 tribes on each side NESW, so they knew exactly where they belonged – their identity.
  4. Finally there were family clan units – these were based on the location of other banners, families always knew where to camp. The banners acted as reference points, therefore giving individuals purpose and vision.

What can banners do?

  1. Tell people who you represent, but like a signal pole always high on a hill.
  2. Signal of intent about what is to come – Jeremiah 51.12
  3. Indicate past victories they’d come through – different ribbons are attached to their pole under their banner depending on the battle won. Psalm 20.5 and 7
  4. Indication of Gods presence – Moses and Aaron’s staff are banners that have been lifted and a response occurred. Exodus – 25
  5. Put enemies to flight. Isaiah 31.9
Jeremiah 51.12 scripture

Remember this going forward about worship flags in the Bible.

This is very quick overview of the use of worship flags in the Bible. But hopefully offers you a small insight into what the Bible says, and areas to think about when you choose to dance with flags.

I like to remember it as a visual demonstration of a spiritual truth. Just like moving normally, you never know the impact moving with flags and banners can have on you and others who may witness it. The colour you use can create just as much impact.

If you’d like to know more about ways that you adapt choreography to use flags head here. There are also some tips on using ribbons in worship here.

Finally, want to come try using resources during your worship? Then get in touch with me here to chat about me coming to your church, where you can try out ways of moving with flags, ribbons and material. No prior experience necessary!

You can also head to Shop where there is a selection of flags, ribbons and streamers that you purchase to get you going.

Want to keep up with UC Grace journey? We’d love to keep you in the loop. Head here to get your name down!

Using flags and banners in worship.
Pinterest. Dancers in blue dresses with orange flags.

Make a Splash and see the Delight

 

‘Pictures say a thousand words’ I love this picture for so many reasons, but there as two main ones I want to chat about today.

  • Embracing the mud
  • Being child like

Are you a mud lover? Do you mind the mess it makes? I’ve mostly embraced mud in my life, but when my daughter came along, I really had to learn what embracing mud, mess and chaos meant, as they are 3 things she loves!

In our faith we can have an expectation that it will all fit into neat boxes and not be messy, but the reality is that it is rarely like that! Lots will splash up at us, getting us dirty along the way. Allowing our selves to live a ‘messy faith’ opens the doors to possibilities of connecting with family, friends and non-Christians in an unrestrictive way. God doesn’t want our faith put into a box, he made us to share it – the delight, mess, pain and laughter that can all come from it.

Children have much less inhibitions than adults, which makes them much better at ‘just getting on with it’. They embrace things with their whole body, mess and all. So, when I talk about a ‘messy faith’ I’m referring to embracing God through those messy moments, when life might be hard and you don’t understand why life is like that at the moment. It’s seeing the joy in all circumstances, jumping in and getting messy too.

When my daughter discovered this puddle with her friend Theo, to start with they just walked through it backwards and forwards, and then did a little tap on the water here and there. When they realised the mess it made the look of shear delight on their faces was incredible. They both went a bit crazy and finished completely covered in mud (sadly no picture to show you the full extent!).

This reaction can be what we experience in our faith. We go backwards and forwards over something checking it out, maybe testing the ground but never quite going all the way. We hold back. But, when you do make the decision to stop tapping and go in fully, what God gives you, is beyond what we can imagine. There is delight, there is comfort, there can be tears, but God carries us through it all.

So, what things now do you need to embrace the mud in? What things do you need to be more childlike and push your inhibitions to the side?

Jesus – bring new wine out of me

You can’t see God sometimes in the situation you’re in.

On Saturday I had the chance to join Jubilee Church Flourish ladies weekend. A fantastic opportunity to receive and get some refueling for myself. Their theme for the weekend was ‘new wine’, how do you get new wine, wines have different labels depending on what they’re made up of, where they have grown and the soil they are in. To go alongside the theme was the Hillsong Worship song New Wine. This was just one of the things that spoke to me when I joined them for the day.

Have a listen to it –

Powerful hey! What speaks to you first?

For me it’s the chorus. There is such a pull on my heart strings, that I completely want to immerse myself into the words and the music. Let’s break it down into the different sections.

Make me a vessel

God has given us an amazing gift, that can be shared, we are simply a vessel within which this can be done. Say to God that you want to give your whole self over to share His word and His story.

Make me an offering

Ask God to let you know what it is that He wants you to do. How can you use your passion to share with others, how can you build someone up in the work place, how can you use you whole self to share His word and story.

Make me whatever you want me to be

It’s your opportunity to step out 100% and choose to trust God amongst all that is going on. He knows not only what you are capable of but also what your limits are. He won’t give you more than you can handle. Choose to offer your whole self to share His word and story.

I came here with nothing

Jesus took it all away, we are drawn to our knees. All that we have we give. Share His word and story from your knees!

But all you have given me

God gives us more than we can fathom, more than we know. All the little things that go on, God knows about them and He puts them in place. Use your whole self, all your passions, dreams, gifts and life to share His word and story.

Jesus, bring new wine out of me

Wow!! What could God do with you, if you’ve really been pulled down to your knees, you’re offering your whole self, acknowledging that God will give you all that you need to fulfill what He puts before you. What will come out of you?? More than you can imagine!!

This song is definitely a keeper for me, and I am looking forward to finding an opportunity to dance my whole heart out to it!

Essentials of faith

… rock solid dependency on God’s word…

When you choose to stand up and teach in front of others you need to know that you’re teaching from a point of authority with a firm foundation in what you hold true. These couple of verse provide a fantastic opportunity to remember how and why you choose to teach and share God’s word. Whether that’s through dance and movement or another avenue.

Let’s begin by breaking the verse down into 4 sections.

1.) ‘Pattern of sound teaching’ – rely on the word

God gives His word as a basis to build life from. It’s sound, sturdy and full of amazing values. If we choose to teach his truth it needs to come from a sound basis.

2.) ‘faith and love’ – love doing it through faith and love

Faith is relying on what you don’t see. Rely and trust that God loves you, carries and equips you to share with love.

3.) ‘Guard the good deposit entrusted’ – guard his word

Gods word is the best. He deposits in us a desire to share, and to do so knowing the full assurance of his word.

4.) ‘Help of the holy spirit’ – let the spirit help

There is always someone there to help and guide you. Let his spirit in and let it guide you.

It is such an amazing privilege to share Gods word with others. Enjoy doing it, and let God lead!

Dance Weekend 2019 announcement

It is with much excitement that I can share with you the news that there will be a 2019 dance weekend!! This has been something I have been mulling over for a while, and this week took the plunge.

So save the date! We are doing to a new location, with a different format and will challenge you to go deeper and explore further. This won’t replace our ‘normal’ dance weekend that has been happening every other year, but is in addition.

Keep an eye for further information as super early bird booking will open this side of Christmas.

Dancing with a Holy Roar

“In Him we Live and Move and have our Being.” Acts 17.28

God has given us our amazing bodies to move and dance with in whatever way we can. The other day I came across Chris Tomlins new song ‘HOLY ROAR‘, it took my breath away. It spoke right into my core, about why I move and dance, and the strength, passion and integrity with which I do it. It prompted an opportunity to share at our latest Living Colour workshop how we could explore Dancing with a Holy Roar.

But what does Holy Roar actually mean? It’s best to start by looking at how the dictionary defines each word.

Lets start with Holy – dedicated or consecrated to God, sacred. Which sounds a great way to describe this special word. Participants at the workshop also came up with the following –

  • Special/ quietness – an awe
  • Pure, sacred. Set apart and hard to translate
  • Jesus dying on the cross. What he did for us

In essence, Holy, is something that is indescribable, beyond words, definitely set apart and something special.

Whilst Roar is defined as – a full deep, prolonged cry uttered by a lion or wild animal. That’s pretty intense isn’t it?! Other words came up in discussion such as –

  • Power
  • Roaring like a lion
  • Strong
  • Loud
  • Aggressive/ emotive

How can we link these two words together? If I now asked you what you think Holy Roar means as one thing what would you say?

  • Cry for justice from a place of deep grief or righteous anger
  • From the belly – it uses your whole being
  • Confrontation with all your strength but you’re 100% up for it
  • Freedom

Living Colour October 2018

What do you think it means to have a Holy Roar in dance ministry and life? Massive questions hey! But have a think, how could you move and dance with Holy Roar as your foundation?

My favourite line from the responses above has to be the picture of ‘from the belly’, because actually that’s what it’s all about. When we worship, when we cry out to God, when we battle and declare he is victorious. We are putting our whole heart into it. We’re choosing to be strong, clear, and direct with our movement and what we want to declare.

Think of it like your belt of truth. The belt is something that holds things in place, stabilises your core and carries things. If you have a weak core, your ability to move efficiently will be diminished. The core of moving and dancing comes from knowing the truth in the Bible. I love the imagery of tightening the belt the more you know. It’s like you’re choosing to take a stand point and are notching in ready for the fight!

So when you choose to move and dance. Think about the stand point you are taking, and how you can use a Holy Roar in your movement.

What different ways do you pray?

What different ways do you pray?

Weaving prayer into our everyday life can sometimes be a challenge can’t it? I love exploring ways to use movement and prayer together, go deeper with God and journey with others.

Amazing Grace Course July 2018

We’ve developed a fantastic resource to enable you to start moving at a pace that you are comfortable with, pausing where needed. It’s completely FREE and you can access it here. We’d love to know how you get on, so please do let us know.

When I connect prayer and movement I find it easier to associate with specific areas. In the FREE download – 5 Ways to use Prayer and Movement together,  I identify the following areas –

  • Walking
  • Knees
  • Thanking
  • Declaring
  • Revealing

Each area providing an avenue to explore movement in a different way. It can be really daunting choosing to step out and pray using movement. But the thing that God delights most, is not only that you try, but that nothing is EVER WRONG. Any way you choose to move for him, there is a party. PLUS if someone sees you doing prayer movement, you never know the impact that that will have on them.

So go on, go for it and try stepping out! Grab the it here.