When I was struggling with an infected tooth last week my friend Amanda Bateman from Scotland called me on the phone to encourage me. Amongst other things she told me I needed to watch Martin Smith’s video Back to the Start. So I did. And as I watched, I found my spirit rising. I watched it a number of times. The ending especially stood out for me – as person after person join in a simple dance together. If you’ve not seen it, here it is:
Little did I know that Martyn Smith would be one of the worship leaders at the brilliant HTB Leadership Conference I attended on Monday and Tuesday this week at the Royal Albert Hall – and the song was sung a number of times at the conference – helping us celebrate the mighty, powerful God who calls us back to him.
The song makes you want to dance. To party. To let go in his presence and, along with others, to revel in his goodness. And that’s what we began to do at the conference. As well as singing we began to dance. It felt to me like we were starting to become a dancing church.
About fifteen years ago I was lying on the sofa at home wrapped in a duvet feeling ill. I was passing the time watching TV and the film Dirty Dancing was on, which ends with the leading couple doing a great dance in front of an audience. Others then join them on stage. And then they come down from the stage and one by one encourage the audience to join in. By the end most people are sharing the dance in a wonderful scene of celebration. As I watched this final scene of the movie the Lord spoke to me very clearly, telling me that this was a picture of what the UK would be like in the coming years. That we would be a dancing church.
There was another song too at the conference that stood out for me. It was Worship Central’s Let it be Known. Also a great dancing song, the conference ended with it as the stage filled with people all doing a simple choreographed dance. It was fantastic, sending us out to show and tell of the God who changes lives. There’s a fun version of it on YouTube that you can watch below:
As we left the Albert Hall I overheard someone saying how prophetic the dancing had been. And as they said it I was taken back to the word the Lord had spoken to me 15 years ago. It reminded me that what I had seen back then was now just starting to come to pass. That we were beginning to become a dancing church.
For some, dancing isn’t easy. They want to dance but they find it hard to let go. I know how that feels. But in the end, dancing is good. It’s fun. It’s liberating. It’s celebratory. It’s missional. It’s unifying when we dance together. And it’s biblical (eg. 2 Samuel 6:14-16; Psalm 149:3; Psalm 150:4; Ecclesiastes 3:3; Jeremiah 31:13).
We are going to see more dancing in church in the UK. I know it. And I think I began to see signs if it this week in London. Let’s not be afraid of that. Instead let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us learn to celebrate. Because the UK church is going to become a dancing church.