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Your story how you did or do mission?

11:12 AM ET (US)
In May I held a Christian movement and dance afternoon at a Women’s fellowship group in a Baptist Church in Middlesex, North-West London. I gave a short talk on the joy of Christian dance, and then handed out colourful pom-pom shakers to the mainly older ladies there. We danced and moved to the lovely songs of singer-songwriter Marilyn Baker, which have very encouraging Christian words. Many of the older members used the pom-poms whilst sitting down. For older people I think it's important to have melodic Christian songs - not just the disco beat used for younger people's exercise. Pom-poms are easy and light to use, as they have a handle but no stick – and so are safe if there’s a lack of space or a low ceiling. The Fellowship group said they enjoyed the afternoon. All you need is a room, some joyful Christian songs on a CD and pom-poms or ribbon shakers!
12:45 PM ET (US)
I go to a friendly relaxed "Dance in Worship" group in Hounslow, West London, England. We usually do freestyle dance, except for special choreographed dances at Christian events. I find freestyle dancing is wonderful, as you listen to the words of the praise music and interpret it individually. One of the nice things is that no teacher tells you you're not doing a move properly! It was sad to read below of the strict teacher who told little girls if they didn't have the right equipment they couldn't dance! Almost any age can do freestyle dance and adapt it to their level of fitness. People can choose how energetic or gentle they want to be. A disabled person could just raise their arms. This could be used in Christian care-homes and church "Holiday At Home" days for older people. Colorful pom-pom shakers can be used. We often dance to the lovely music of Marilyn Baker who had a previous hit with "Jesus, you are changing me." She's still writing great songs and singing.
08:09 PM ET (US)
Many Christians do evangelism/mission like guerrilla warfare. They make occasional raids into enemy territory to get a few "decisions" and then retreat to the safety of their "holy huddles' and busy schedules. They spend so much time in a Christian ghetto that they have no genuine friendships elsewhere and are hardly aware of the changing culture around them.
Andrew D ParkPerson was signed in when posted
04:15 AM ET (US)
Hi Carrie. Some good comments and questions there that you have. And I hope you are still holding on to your dreams about dance teaching. I am assuming from what you described that you are living in the country by what you said about trying out things in another nearby town.
And I have some good news for you in regard to getting some sound advice from one of ICDF's teachers who is a network coordinator for teachers and also has had a lot of success in running dance schools, especially involving children, and in professionally training and helping aspiring Christian dance teachers in becoming qualified, setting up working schools here (Australia), and overseas (e.g. New Zealand) and wider afield.
The ICDF Network Coordinator for Dance Teachers is a lovely lady called Beth. And you can find out about her ministry and speak to her by linking up using the following from the ICDF website https://icdfnetworks.wordpress.com/category/dance-teachers/ and by using the following email information - Dance Teachers Beth Bluett de Baudistel (Australia) livingdanceinternational@gmail.com
I would also watch closely for future developments concerning the newly emerging CDFA-New Zealand in early 2016. A group of young women from one of the towns there run a number of quite successful dance classes for children as well as adults in a Baptist church there, and they are collaborating with several other Christian dance schools.
You can also send some enquiries to the joint ICDF Network coordinators for Dance for Children Belma Vardy (Canada), Roz Hancock (Australia) belmavardy@celebrationofdance.com
It is not just because you are a Christian. It is because setting up a dance school from scratch is very difficult. But please don't give up. Don't lose that vision and passion for it! These people I just mentioned to you are very experienced in the field and can offer you a lot of advice and help.
A link to the bio for Beth De Baudistal of Living Dance - http://www.livingdanceinternational.com.au/bethbluett.htm (She travels overseas quite a lot with her dance ministry which is also her professional work and if you are from outside Australia, don't let that stop you from contacting her. Good stuff happens through good communication. Never know what might be able to occur from contacting these people).
Carrie Williams
04:54 PM ET (US)
I started dancing as a young child. I had a mean instructor. I clearly remember sitting by this girl and the teacher told her you can't buy the shoes or outfit than you can't dance. That little girl started crying. I told myself that day "I'm never going to be like that. My teacher has a lot of money, why can't she buy them for her?" So as an adult I started thinking about teaching dance. I noticed the dance teachers around here all fight with each other. They dress the kids inappropriately. They have the kids do inappropriate dancing for their age. Me, I'm a Christian. I started Dancing for Jesus, it failed. I went to another close by town and started another group with a different name and it failed. I'm now in a recreational building with 20 kids. The gymnastics coach in the same building has 128 kids and they compete. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. Is it because I'm a Christian? The gymnastics coach drinks and goes to bars. I do not. I just don't get it. Anyway, she is highly favored by the Rec. Director. Maybe it's just me? Do all Christians struggle trying to build their dream?
Danielle Maris
11:59 AM ET (US)
I met a woman on my way back home at the station. We started talking. She told me that she was on her way to a buddhist seminary. Like so many of us, she was looking for a way to spend her life in reflecting peace. I soon found out that she was disappointed of the Catholic church due to an event in her childhood. So what did I do? I apologized in the name of the Catholic church - and I meant it. I know that this woman can now approach Christian institutions better. Maybe this apology will be the key which openes the door again she had closed a long time ago, i can imagine. I think there are lot of people who have been seriously hurt not because they didn't get help from the church but because the church (not in particular the Catholic) gave them hope - and let them down. To be honest, I'd like to initiate a campaign in which truth is recognized without thinking about possible outcomes or reputation.
Andrew D ParkPerson was signed in when posted
09:00 PM ET (US)
That's very interesting Jo. A group of friends will be attending a similar festival in the Blue Mountains in late June. One of those friends was involved in a kiosk at previous types of events, to do with tarot cards, which he demonstrated to us could be reinterpreted into the Gospel message using some of the symbolism of those cards. Fairly cleverly done. He has been involved in mission to New Agers, Goths and similar for many years and has built up strong friendships with many over the years. He utilises a website www.curiouschristian.com to discuss a huge range of artistic, theological, spirituality, cultural and ecological issues, as part of that ongoing mission/ministry work. We (Lucy & I ) recently joined a network with that friend, Matt Stone, under the name Forest Church, in order to progress that work even further.
Johanna Cardinal
02:00 PM ET (US)
"A little kindness goes a long way"

Our church has had a kiosque at the Psychic Expo in Montreal for the past 4 years now. My husband and I were involved this past Expo, following our church's mandate to share whatever Father God wants to say to whoever comes. People came perhaps because it was free, when others were charging for their "spiritual readings". Some were healed, some accepted Christ, some were simply curious and some hostile. All were attuned to the supernatural and all seemed to be searching.

This is not only a way to pour out love, but also to be message bearers of prophetic words, words of knowledge, compassion and hope. I personally had a chance to be used to speak into the lives of two contemplating leaving their husbands and one young lady considering abortion in the coming week. I cannot say I always "got it right" but the Holy Spirit always comes through.
Andrew D ParkPerson was signed in when posted
03:14 AM ET (US)
Lucy and I have been trekking through the North of England and we also did a short trip by train to Paris and Rouen in France. I just arrived back to Sydney by plane this morning. Lucy is with some ICDF members in Israel on a project. And shortly I will travel to Victoria to see family and friends.

Along the way, we have had a great many conversations - many initiated by us and many others by new friends we met during our travels - during which opportunities to share who we are, and about how our faith in Jesus informs us about life's issues over countless cups of teas and coffees, meals, the occasional wine or beer, or just appreciating art and history with others and finding some commonality in doing that.

We surprisingly - perhaps not so surprisingly really when we survey our history during previous travels abroad - met up with quite a few people from our own city (Sydney) and even one or two from our own neighbourhood in the Blacktown local government vicinity, and many Aussies and New Zealanders living in far off places like Oxford, Islington, Birmingham, and on railway train carriages in France.

Our conversations about faith are never forced, and we have felt some freedom to share about who we are, and some things about our involvement in Christian Dance, non-violent peace activism, art, community development and our Christ-inspired faith. Sometimes that has involved simply just mentioning that we are Christians, and that has caused people to ask us to tell them more.

Recent events in Indonesia where several Aussie Christians were executed, despite their obvious having been reformed and transformed through faith and art while in prison have been a catalyst for sharing about how faith in Christ can turn around lives and radically alter those for the better of not only the newly converted, but those who they then interacted with in a consistently far more positive way. I am speaking about Pastor Andrew Chan and Myuran Sumukaran, who became very active Christians during their 10 years in Kerobakan prison and who led so many other prisoners to faith and transformed lives through pastoral care, educational programs, art, living skills training and through their strong demonstrations of love, mercy and grace right up to their deaths last week from execution with 6 other prisoners for drug trafficking. All those executed appear to have come to faith through the ongoing work of these 2 men before they shared that common fate of a firing squad.

They all died with hymns of love, worship and praise of God, even into the last moment of their lives. Amazing grace, how sweet thou art....

Even their guards and executioners were deeply moved by these men's lack of hate, their love for each other and those intent on killing them, and for those others who remain in the prison they have now left. Amazing grace, who sweet your taste...

Stories such as these are generally something people want to hear, and want to talk about why it is so that men such as these could go to their deaths with such dignity and grace and hope.

We often underestimate the power of story, especially when it is laced around Christ's love, forgiveness and grace, being played out in our and other people's lives.

Genuine interest, honesty and kindness, active listening, without an underlying religious agenda to it, paying compliments when they are due, thanking people, being gracious and good neighbourly and just real fun to be with helps a lot.

We are never ashamed to identify ourselves to others as being Christians. Although we sometimes share the same misgivings people have about what some people do `in the name of Jesus Christ' and the `true religion'. Often we find that while people think "Jesus is okay", they don't feel the same about what they observe what some Christians say and do. And at times we just have to admit we honestly feel the same way as they do. That can be a `revelation' to people, and it seems to open them up to us more, and visa versa. It adds dignity, grace and relational honesty into the conversational configuration.

In Bath, Lucy sat down with a homeless addict and just listened to what he had to say. Some of what he said to us were lies about his current drug taking status, but we didn't adopt a judgmental attitude toward him. We offered him food and a referral to further practical help, as well as offering to pray for him without embarrassing him by forcing that upon him in a very public place outside a theatre where a crowd of other people were. A bit of kindness goes a long way. He seemed aware that despite his issues, Jesus was there for him. Many homeless people actually do from my lengthy experience in working with the homeless.

We didn't speak to this young man `from above him', but came alongside him as his peers and equals, to listen, share, hear, empathise, and offer some help which he was free to, or not to, access as he saw fit for his situation. He actually offered us a verbal blessing when it came time for us to leave him. We felt he knew there was hope, despite him not being able to take that up at that time. Maybe he'll do that later when another opportunity arises that he feels more ready for to grasp it?

Also, as artists, we know that well communicated art can be rich in non-verbal communication and can open so many doors which most probably will not be opened by hard-core, evangelistic preaching at someone. Sure, there are times when preaching is not only necessary and important. But we have learnt that Jesus in the Gospels engaged mostly with people by sharing his life into theirs though practical acts of kindness and mercy, and he reserved his more hard-core preaching mostly for the `already religious', despite his many stories and parables he shared as he journeyed with people along the Gospel way.
Edited 05-09-2015 03:23 AM
Ruth Dearing
10:03 PM ET (US)
"Not what I wish to be, or where I wish to go, for who am I that I should choose my way? The Lord shall choose for me, tis better far I know, to walk and work with Him."
Urbana 81
10:38 PM ET (US)
"You do not know how much time you have but that is not the important thing. The important thing is that from this moment on, you decide to be God's man, God's woman (God's dancer) -- without reserve, without retreat and without regrets. Jesus hung and died on a cross publicly with hundreds of people watching him and mocking him. He hung there for you . . . ."
Dr Billy Graham speaking in Chicago, summer 1981.
Urbana 81
10:34 PM ET (US)
"God hears the cries and the hurting of the hopeless in the city. He sees the growing tensions between the powerful and the powerless, the haves and the have nots. He knows the sin and the uncleanness that prevails there. The only power to save the city is God's redemptive power. And he uses human instruments." Pastor George D. McKinney from San Diego, California speaking in Chicago, summer 1981.
Urbana 81
10:29 PM ET (US)
"How do we get to the point of discussing Jesus Christ? The key word is reconciliation, not confrontation. We are summoned to be fishers of people, not hunters. When we listen carefully to where they are; when we pique their curiosity; when we discern what their defences are against Christianity and cite them before they do; when we do these things we reveal that we care." Rebecca Manley Pippert, conference speaker and Inter-Varsity field worker, speaking in Chicago summer 1981.
09:47 AM ET (US)
This photo is from my archives where we took part in a "March for Jesus". It was a mime on the theme of the salvation that we received through Jesus.
Andrew D ParkPerson was signed in when posted
11:19 PM ET (US)
This is more about allowing people freedom to share their own stories and experiences about mission without needing to engage in a more theologically-oriented style of type of conversation. It is about your story.

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