Calling all dance ministers...shoes or no shoes?
For many years, I've heard different viewpoints and stances about whether or not a dance minister should wear shoes, such as ballet shoes or jazz shoes, while ministering.
One person told me that nothing dead should touch a dancers feet and since shoes are dead, a dance minister should not wear shoes. Another person stated that feet can be a distraction to men; therefore, the feet should be covered. Another person stated that ballet shoes should be worn to protect your feet.
In my 10+ years in the ministry of dance, I've always submitted to the dance leader's instructions with regards to wearing shoes during ministry. When I danced with my church's dance ministry, we usually danced without shoes. At one point, the ministry did order and wear ballet shoes to help make our turns easier, but we only wore them twice. Later, when I joined another dance ministry, they required shoes be worn for all ministry.
Over the last four (4) years, God has moved me into solo ministry. I have been seeking God more about the ministry of dance, studying choreography more, and I have attended and graduated from ministry school. Through prayer and training, I now wear either ballet or shoes during ministry and during practices; I strong encourage other dance ministers to do the same. The main reason, first and foremost, is to protect your feet. Romans 10:15 says "And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Amen! When we minister, we are preaching the gospel and bringing forth God's message using movement. We must take care of our bodies, including our feet.
In addition, you never know where the Lord may send you to minister. You may be called to a ministry assignment and, upon arrival, the venue may change or the Spirit may move you from indoors to outdoors. For example, the dance ministry that I was part of, was called to minister at an event outdoors on concrete. At the last minute, the dance leader was led change the ministry piece to a previous dance that we had done. The dance required several turns. Since we did not minister in shoes, we were turning on bare feet on concrete. Afterwards, my feet (and most of the other dancers too) were extremely sore and the balls of my feet had skin torn off. And we had to minister the next morning during worship services.
On June 1, 2014, I was a guest minister, during a church service, at another church. I'd never been to this church before. When I arrived, I saw that the church was under renovation. All of the carpeting had been removed and the hardwood floor was exposed. More importantly, the builders had not yet removed all of the staples that were in the floor; however, the staples had been hammered flat against the floor (I hope that made sense!). My first lady expressed some concern about my safety and asked if my dance had any kneeling in it. She also made a comment about being careful of where I danced, so that I would not injure my feet. I reassured her that the choreography could be changed without any problem and any kneeling could be removed. But, more importantly, because I was wearing ballet shoes; I reassured her that my feet would be protected. This was also reassuring to me because my mind was able to remain focused on God and on the assignment that he had for me. Praise God, ministry went forth, the congregation was blessed and my feet were just fine!!! This latest experience prompted me to write this blog.
Second, it makes your overall appearance neat and polished. Remember, you are dance minister. According to 1 Peter 2:9, we are priests, and we need to dress as one. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:9 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called out of darkness into his marvelous light." During biblical times, people knew who the priests were by the manner in which they were dressed. Priests, who were serving in the temple, were required to remove their shoes. However, their ministry was within the temple; where nobody other than the priests were allowed. This area was sacred and holy ground. As New Testament priests, our ministry extends outside the four walls of the church. We are called to minister indoors, outdoors, at weddings, graduations, etc. Not all of the ministry assignments will occur in places like a church or, as I stated earlier, you may not know the condition of the floor at the venue.
Third, most of us ladies enjoy wearing polish on our toenails; dance shoes will prevent our feet from being a distraction by covering our lovely pedicures and preserving them (bonus!). I say this from personal experience. Some years ago, when I was a member of my church's dance ministry, we ministered "America the Beautiful" with the choir in honor of July 4th. All the dancers had small American flags in their hand and we danced with them during the song. After church, one of the choir members commented on my bright and sparkling festive July 4th manicure. I repented because I saw where my nail polish distracted from the message that we were ministering. The same can be said about a nail polish on toenails. We want those we minister before to remain focused on the Lord and the message that He wants to give them, not our beautifully manicured feet and hands. Just as a side note, when I minister, I either do not wear fingernail polish, wear clear polish, or a pale color such as pastel pink or a French manicure.
So dance ministers, let's continue to invest in the Kingdom of God! But also, let's invest in some ballet or jazz shoes to take care of the feet that will bring good news about our God! I pray this blog has been encouraging to you. God bless you!
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