Yesterday my church had a service in which the children were with their parents in the main worship service. Something stood out which has been slowly dawning on me as I watched the younger kids respond to the music. In the aisle in front of me a 1-2 year old boy was doing the boogie. Elsewhere a couple girls twirled about. There were no chairs in a large section of the room because we are in the middle of a move. It provided more space for moment and I even saw a couple of adults displaying a more motion than on a normal Sunday morning.
Children, especially little children, have something which adults do not, a lack of self-consciousness. Working in children’s ministry I have seen that dancing seems to be a natural expression a child’s enjoyment of the music. Their worship involves not just their voices but their bodies.
Having gone to some Spanish speaking churches I’ve noticed something similar. All the children will crowd to the front and dance. Behind them adults will also move, dance, and jumping up and down. I remember a woman I saw once who spun around until she collapsed. At the time I was bothered by how they expressed themselves, but now I get it.
Dancing involves the entire body in worship. It is worshiping God not with only mentally but physically. Children have the freedom to engage all of their body when worshipping. For those who are too young to sing that is the only way they can externally express their response. As adults we are taught that doing so is embarrassing or even that proper reverence for God involves standing stock still. I can imagine how everyone dancing could result chaos and an individualistic attitude to worship. However, there is a role for dance as well as reverent stillness.
I’m going to finish by taking the easy way out. Neither worship nor dance is my area of expertise. I only go there to look at responding to God with our entire bodies, not to offer practical worship strategies. Perhaps I can offer a compromise between those who want to worship God through engaging the body in motion and those who worship through structured forms. Hold a formal worship ball.