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.

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

Getting closer to Jesus – Hebrews 12. 1-2 Running the race getting close to Jesus

Getting closer to Jesus is always at the forefront of my mind, scripture allows us to do that very thing. During a recent Prayer Dance Bite session we dug deep into Hebrews 12. 1 – 2 getting closer to Jesus by exploring running the race for Jesus, choosing to step out and move through things that might be slowing us down or we need perseverance for. Often we reach those points where there is something in between where we want to go and the only way to get through is to have grit and resilience.

‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ Hebrews 12.1-2

Pausing in worship dance on knees getting closer to Jesus.
Worship dancer lying face down on the ground getting closer to God.

You are surrounded by witnesses

Day to day we find ourselves surrounded by people who we can witness to, who we can share in some form about our faith. That might be a worship dance, it might be prayer, being open to sharing you’ve been to church, telling someone that you are praying for them. Opportunities are all around us, but it can be hard to step up and step out. Is there one person or situation you won’t/ can’t/ shy away from to share your faith?

Write it down, make a note. God’s desire is for us to share our joy, our joy in choosing him and the fun and laughter that brings, even if there are times when life is tough and you don’t like what’s been put before you, there is always a way of getting closer to Jesus.

Are you ready to run? What do you need to run well?

This question prompted lots of chuckles during the prayer dance bite session, with some ladies explaining how running was not for them. But what did come out of our discussion was that if you are runner, it’s all about the shoes and the place your head is in. To make the running more comfortable a solid shoe with ‘bounce’ will help cushion and protect your knees as you move. In our faith we can lean into Gods word, putting on the armour of God – shoes fitted ready with the gospel of peace – so we can be equipped to move forward (or run!).

In any race there is always a finish a line, or a point which you are striving for. As Christians our eyes are fixed on Jesus to help us run the race, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t struggle with all the bits in between! What do you need perseverance for at the moment? What might you need to push through and see that you are getting closer to Jesus? Write it down.

Worship dancers jumping across the space, or resting and receiving getting closer to God.

Getting closer to Jesus by running your race

As movers and dancers we deepen our faith in a visual way. Here is a visual way I encouraged the Prayer Dance Bite participants to challenge themselves to persevere and move forward with their race.

  • Visually mark points A and B in your mind or on the floor – a space that you need to move from one place to another.
  • The space between the two points is the thing that you want to persevere through
  • Close your eyes
  • How do you get ready to move? How can you cross the space? Begin exploring.
  • Waiting at the other side is Jesus. Cheering you on, His eyes are on you, He has faith in you, and He knows that you can do it. Fix your eyes on that and see how you cross the space.

All aspects of life take perseverance at some point, we will always feel our emotions take over and lead but, but pausing to see that Jesus is cheering you on through whatever it is makes us stronger and push us to keep going, seeking, resulting in us continually getting closer to Jesus.

New people are always welcome in our Prayer Dance Bite sessions. You can find out more about them 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.

The UK Dance Blessing is Released

Following the release of The Blessing UK at the beginning of May 2020, Anna and Prinith felt led to respond to a call from God to gather the movers and dancers of the UK to move a blessing and prayer over the area that people lived in. It’s vision was to – 

Mobilise a dancing army across the UK, which collaborating with dancers, dance ministries and worshippers. Whose heart it was, was to pray a blessing for the area they live in using dance and movement.

Amazingly over 200 dancers and movers responded to this call to step out and move a blessing and prayer for the people around them and the place they live in. Quite literally a dancing army mobilised across all 4 nations of the UK.

We pray as you watch this that you are blessed and know that God is with you, that there is a Hope bigger than you realise to get you through those times of struggle.. That no matter what you are going through there are people praying for you, not always in words, but instead with movement.

Movement expresses what words can not.

Alongside this video we have also released an eBook of testimonies of how God spoke to those that moved and responded to his call. Join their journey and hear the impact that dancing had on the dancers themselves.

You can get a copy of the ebook by clicking on the button below.

Video will Premier Friday 5th June 20.00

Written by Chris Brown, Cody Carnes, Kari Jobe and Steven Furtick c 2020 Music by Elevation Worship Publishing, Capitol CMG Paragon/ Writers Roof Publishing, Worship Together Music/ Kari Jobe Carnes Music

UK Blessing Music Audio produced by Trevor Michael in collaboration with UK churches. UK Blessing Song version music is used with permission. With thanks to Les Moir and Andy Au for helping with seeking this permission.

Project Co-ordinators – Anna Gilderson and Prinith de Alwis Jayasinghe

Video edited by Drew Crow

Dance Collaboration – The Blessing

Who saw the UK Blessing video yesterday? It was great to see the unity in the church.

Myself (UC Grace) and Prinith (Movement in Worship Birmingham Base) have felt led to organise a UK Dance/ Movement blessing. We want people across different dance ministries, and individuals that simply have a passion for demonstrating their faith through movement, to join us in creating this blessing.

Dear Dancer

We’d love to invite you to take part in a UK project to draw Christian dancers together and create a blessing to people across the UK.

The Vision

To dance to the song The Blessing by The UK Blessing (original Kari Jobe) using this version – https://youtu.be/PUtll3mNj5U

Gathering the videos together we will compile it into video for everyone to share across social media and their networks. We want it to be an opportunity to display the vast ability of dancers, their heart to worship Jesus and share their faith through dance and movement. During covid 19 lockdown, dance places, workshops and performances may have been shut down, but a dancing army have continued to move in their homes and outdoor spaces as they feel led. Dance impacts more than we know and this presents a fantastic opportunity for many to gather and move for our God. Would you like to join us?

The details –

  • We plan to air the video on Sunday 17th May.
  • All video submissions need to be received by Sunday 10th May.
  • Videos must be recorded in landscape
  • Please do not wear any branded clothes.
  • Feel free to use banners, flags or other props
  • Please dance to as much of the song as you feel led to.
  • Ensure your ‘background’ is as clear as possible.
  • Send recordings to us via this link and select choose files – https://www.dropbox.com/request/RTzhgiAnwbrdlFO2l9Hh
  • Email birmingham@miw.org.uk with your name, location and dance organisation (if applicable).

We hope you can join us.

Blessings,

Anna (UC Grace) and Prinith (Birmingham Movement in Worship Base)

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.

Create your own Easter Garden

I am sure you all have different traditions of things that you do at Easter, I love to make little gardens and chat to the children about what we are doing and why.

In this season as we are spending more time at home, I’d thought I’d share an activity for the whole family to take part in if you wanted. Here are some tips on how to make your own Easter Garden. You’ll need the following items –

  • Large shallow tray/ dish/ pot
  • Soil
  • Grass
  • Stones
  • Small cup or pot
  • Sticks – 3 long and 3 shorter
  • String or elastic bands
  • Larger stone go across the ‘tomb’

Step one:

Place some soil in the base of the dish, then place your small pot or cup on its side two thirds of the way back. Fill the space and cover to make a hill.

Step Two:

Take your three longer sticks and 3 shorter sticks. Using elastic bands or string secure them together to make a cross.

Step Three

Place stones or something decorative on the soil in front of the tomb. Then cover the mound with moss or grass, you could even plant some small plants there is you wanted.

Finally, place the crosses on the hill and the stone across the tomb and place some where as a reminder. Don’t forget on Easter Sunday to roll the stone away and have a party! If you make one, why not share with others what you have done and why.