From Sunday afternoon to Wednesday evening, the Church of God–Moose Jaw stacks its chairs and becomes a dance studio.
Why our church offers a dance school
Born to Dance is a ministry of our church. It’s not a separate entity. As I run the dance school, I am working for the church as an employee. Before I took on this role, I was children’s pastor. I still preach sometimes on Sunday mornings. Before the dance studio we were running fairly typical midweek kids’ ministry. The arts and crafts weren’t enough. We didn’t have a gym and community-that hampered what we could offer. I have a dance background, and the church was thinking outside the box, willing to take a leap forward and try something very unusual. Within one year we had a hundred kids. Today we have 375 kids from 216 different families. We have a spot for everybody, whether you have amazing talent or two left feet, for less than half the price parents would normally pay.
What happens when the chairs are put away
Every Sunday a team of volunteers from the congregation stacks chairs and lays down a portable flooring (Sport Court) in the sanctuary. We roll in mirrors and bars. The upper foyer, the sanctuary, the basement, and the back room are all transformed into separate studios to run jazz, tap, ballet, musical theatre, hip-hop, contemporary and acro. On Wednesday nights we fold it all back up and set the chairs out again.
Why dance matters
Dance is talked about in the Bible as worship. The dance world can be overly sexualized. It’s also very competitive. If you’re not the best, there’s not a space for you. I wanted to take dance back, show kids that God designed our bodies to move and we can dance to glorify Him. It was a way to reach kids that wouldn’t come into a church. Nonreligious parents don’t necessarily want to send their kids to vacation Bible school anymore. They’re not up for dropping off kids for crafts and Bible lessons. But they are desperate for kids to be active and in healthy sports. It was a way to bring kids into an atmosphere where they could learn to dance, listen to Christian music, hear a Bible verse and connect with a mentor who cares about them. Dance is the way we get people in and lower their inhibitions to us. That leads us to building relationship.
Advice for ministry trailblazers
Every time you’re trailblazing something, you have to knock down barriers and show people it’s valuable. We have challenges with sharing space in our church. We have other amazing ministries. But this teaches children that church is a safe place. If you can build relationships by offering to do hair out of your church once a week, do it. If you can teach youth how to do nails, do it. That’s how you will change lives. I’m blown away by what God is doing.