Skip to content ↓

Praise Dancing

Here are some snippets of an interesting article I saw over at In The Faith.

At the St. James AME Church in East San Jose, Calif., young people worship by dancing — choreographed movements inspired by everything from ballet to the latest MTV videos.

It’s an alternative way of praying that helps bring kids into the faith, say church members. It’s also a national trend, said Karla Jenkins, co-coordinator of Christian Dance Fellowship USA, part of a network of thousands of Christian dance groups worldwide.

“Praise dancing is a ministry,” says 17-year-old Ariana Starks at a recent Saturday morning practice at St. James, where she shimmied her shoulders to vibrant gospel music. “Most young people go to church and find it boring. This is a way to attract people into the house of God who wouldn’t normally want to come.”

In recent years, dance clothing stores and mail-order catalogs have begun selling praise-dance garments and props. Praise-dance Web sites are popping up, churches are hosting praise-dance concerts and conferences, and dance studios are offering classes.

Dance worship, or dance ministry, involves prayer movement, sacred dance and liturgical dance. It has a wide range of interpretations depending on the church and the denomination.

“It’s a variety of 20 or 30 styles of dance from jazz to modern to tap, used for the purpose of glorifying God, evangelizing and ministering,” says Ruth Ann Mayer, who has written two books and launched her own Web site (www.christiandance.com) about praise dance. The difference between secular dance and praise dance, she says, is its intent.

“The Lord is using us through the art of dance to preach the word of God,” says Debra Crenshaw, founder of the Fremont-based Christian dance company Dance For His Glory. “It can be entertaining, and people can get enjoyment from it, like the purpose of secular dance. But that’s not our sole purpose.”

I find it difficult to accept dance as ministry. I see no solid Biblical basis for it (despite what this article says). I guess I just don’t see how “people can express prayer through movement when they can’t say it or sing it.” God doesn’t tell us to pray through movement. It seems to me this is just another way of taking the emphasis off the traditional church staples of preaching and prayer.

You can read the rest of the article here.


  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 20)

    A La Carte: How to support the caregivers in your church / What we gain in following Jesus / The way we feel is not necessarily the way it is / The power and danger of habit / The man who introduced American Evangelicals to C.S. Lewis / and more.

  • Do Not Envy the Wicked

    Do You Envy the Wicked?

    It takes a long time for sinful instincts to become pure, for tendencies toward what is evil to be transformed into tendencies toward what is good, lovely, and pleasing to God. The man who quits drugs will still react when he catches a whiff and the woman who gave up alcoholism will still struggle when…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 19)

    A La Carte: The golden rule for hard conversations / Seven reasons you shouldn’t ignore beauty / The early church on entertainment / The uselessness of prayer / A thousand wheels of providence / Impossible, hard, and easy / and more.

  • Our Salvation Through Christ

    This week the blog is sponsored by Moody Publishers and this post is adapted from The Kindness of God by Nate Pickowicz (© 2024). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission. Just like the Old Testament, the New Testament teaches that this wonderful salvation is extended to us as a kindness. Paul opens his letter…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 18)

    A La Carte: The pursuit of (which) happiness? / Don’t hastily choose elders / The evangelistic nature of awe / What you read builds who you are / Till he was strong / A father’s threads of living faith / Logos deals / and more.

  • Lets Hear It For the Second Parents

    Let’s Hear It For the Second Parents

    While today we tend to associate step-parents with divorce, in previous centuries they were almost exclusively associated with death and with either widow- or widowerhood. In an era in which lifespans were shorter and, therefore, a greater number of parents died while their children were still young, there was a distinct and honored role for…