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Newsletter  -  Friday, October 22, 2010


The Art of Communication

It’s official; a new season has begun. Yep, change is in the wind. It is time once again for everyone to reevaluate where we are, what we are doing, and the relationships to which we are committed. One of our changes is to announce that Worship Steps has finally received its own non-profit status with the IRS. Now we are looking at grants and donations in hopes of funding projects such as more DVDs and our first worship workshop. As part of our circle of friends, I would really love to have your input and insight into excellent grant programs and your experience with this process. It is all new territory for me so I need all the wisdom you can share.

This has also been a new season for me as a mother. I have to admit that sitting down and writing a newsletter at this time was difficult because I have finally discovered the joy of resting and playing with my family. You see, I am that creative type of person who is usually involved with multiple projects and jobs because I feel driven to always be doing something. Unfortunately, my restlessness caused me to miss enjoying the babyhood and oh so fun younger years of my children’s lives. I was doing good things: teaching school, running a dance studio, heading up the church dance ministry, choreographing for churches, high schools, colleges and giving my all to everyone, except the ones I should have.

This school year, I have experienced an enormous change within me as I realized that these precious, incredible children of ours will not be with us for many more years. Our oldest is already out of the house, attending college, and living several states away; our other two are in their last year of middle school and elementary school. I began to daily appreciate these fantastic God given gifts and am investing myself heavily into our relationships. This revelation also exposed my need to stop running everything on my own agenda and my need to stop assuming my priorities were theirs as well. I started to really listen to them, finding out more about their dreams and goals. As a mom, I need to help them develop a vision for what God is doing in their lives rather than force my vision and calling on them. So, now I am a soccer mom, driving to practices and watching games rather than taking my kids to the dance studio and making them take classes 4 days a week. What a joy it is to see them now in their element. Mom’s taxi service has a whole new meaning as my son was chosen to be on a robotics team and my daughter volunteers at a pet rescue and adoption center. Jean’s passion is singing and animals, Joseph’s is engineering, and our oldest, Sara, is studying to be a dental hygienist (where’s my dancer?).

Let’s see if I can transition that into what I want to share this month. In conversations with various friends who serve as pastors or dance ministers, I have heard that several church dance ministries have been “sat down” or stopped. My pastor from Tennessee made the observation that if pastors and creative arts ministries would read my book, they would have a better understanding of relationship and communication as a foundation for their ministry (ok, an obvious plug). So, I thought I would pass on information about healthy communication that needs to take place within a church ministry. The problems many ministries face usually involve a lack of shared vision, miscommunication, the pushing of our agenda onto others, sometimes jealousy or even pride. This edition of our newsletter will focus on healthy and wise communication with the lead or senior pastor of a congregation.

It doesn’t matter where on the globe I teach about communication, I will always hear at least one conference attendee say something like, “I thought I gave my pastor enough hints” or “I thought he would just know what our team needs”. Sweet friends, I have found out the hard way that pastors, fellow ministers, my husband, my children, and my friends do not posses the power to read my mind, no matter how many hints I give. And though I might think that I know what they are thinking, most often I don’t…really. This is a short piece from Worship Steps: a practical and foundational guide for dance and creative arts ministries:

“Every ministry based in a local church needs to function with the pastor’s blessing and approval. If we try to push beyond the space that is given to us by leadership for our ministry, we will find ourselves hitting a brick wall. Church leadership does not often understand us who are in movement ministry, so we especially need to work on building a trusting relationship with our pastors and worship leaders. Don’t expect things to occur overnight; relationships and trust take time. Pray for your leaders. Serve and become a part of the team. If the leadership isn’t with you, most likely the congregation won’t be either.

A big mistake that most leaders in dance, movement, or creative arts ministry make is to push their agendas onto the leadership. We tend to be very creative, visual, emotional and enthusiastic, often believing leadership should “see” things our way while embracing our ideas and passion. In reality, most pastors are not artistically creative, and along with worship leaders, are not usually visually oriented in their creativity. If they have not seen or experienced anything to reference our ideas by, then they tend to not understand our vision. Don’t be offended by this. God purposefully made us each different so as to complete the Body of Christ. Understand this fact and pray for God’s strategy.  

Building a relationship of trust with our church leaders requires open and clear communication. I recommend you take time to write a list of questions to ask your pastor and worship leader about their vision for dance, movement, drama, etc. for the church. Chances are your congregational leaders have not defined their vision for your ministry and this is the opportunity they need to really think about it. Here is a sample list of questions dealing with dance:

  • What would you like to see done with the dance ministry? 

  • How do you see us working together with the worship team?

  • What would you like for us to contribute to holiday presentations, special church events, church outreaches, missions, etc.?

  • Would you like for us to do special presentations during the service?

  • How could we use our ministry to illustrate the message God has given you for our congregation?

  • How could we work as a team with the singers and musicians to encourage and invite the presence of the Lord during our worship?

  • What is your vision for dance during praise and worship?

  • Do you want choreographed dance done by the dance team during some of the praise and worship songs?

  • Do you want spontaneous dance done by the dance team during some of the praise and worship songs?

  • How do you feel about the congregation jumping, lifting their hands, and bowing in response to praise and worship?

  • How do you feel about the congregation joining together in simple choreographed motions to specific praise and worship songs?

  • How do you see flags, streamers, banners, billow clothes, glory rings, etc. being utilized in celebration and worship?

  • Where should we do our movements during worship? (on the platform, up in the front, in the aisles, in back)

  • Do you have any questions for me about the biblical call to dance?

These are a few questions to get you thinking. You will need to customize your questions for your local congregational leader. Please take time to pray and seek the Lord’s wisdom before your meeting with the pastor. Enter the conversation with humility and meekness (strength under control) and not with fear and trembling. Never phrase a question in a way that exalts you or your ministry. Pray, dream, listen, and be honest and open with leadership.  Again, it will take some time, be patient and remember God is in the process.”

 

We hope to get information out to you soon about next year’s first Worship Steps workshop with tentative dates of May 16-18. This will probably be unlike any worship workshop or conference you have ever attended. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas .

 

Are you a prayer warrior and/or intercessor? If so and God has laid it on your heart to keep us lifted in prayer, I would like to hear from you. We have need of prayer warriors standing with us before the Throne as we tread the new ground we are entering.

 

As you read this, most of you are probably busy with rehearsals for your congregation’s Christmas production. Last December I sent out a very helpful newsletter that listed some very practical steps that will help make the production run smoothly and successfully. Please take the time to go to this link and read it again; you will be glad you did. Almost Christmas” Newsletter  

 

 

 

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Last modified: February 13, 2012