Part of worshiping God is by dancing and singing praises to His name. The word ‘dancing’ appears 74 times in the Holy Bible to underline its importance in worshiping God; it is also seen as a way to honour God.
Generally, dancing is used to express feelings of joy and jubilation. People dance to celebrate events, victories and goodness in their lives, as no sane person dances in time of sorrow, except as a sign of expressing faith in God in such difficult moment.
Many observers believe some churches have imported worldly and ‘crazy’ dance steps into the church especially in congregations that have more youthful membership. Dance steps like ‘soco’, ‘shaku-shaku’, ‘legbegbe’, ‘it’s a goal’ and the recent one ‘soapy’, are seen in most churches during praise and worship.
Observers also noted that dancing in church must be done with a heart to see God, receive glory and praises rather than for the purpose of receiving attention. And anybody with a sincere heart to praise God through dance would not seek the attention of a crowd, nor will the person demand a prominent place in the gathering.
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Such a person will be satisfied with dancing in a back corner of the sanctuary than on the front stage. If a person desires attention for himself through dancing during a church service, then he has ceased to truly praise God and is seeking praise for himself.
Observers also argued that when a dance is choreographed, it is no longer in praises to God, but has turned entertainment. According to them, those who danced in the Bible did not plan it, neither did they practice it. It was not in the church bulletin. It was a spontaneous tribute to God that can never be duplicated.
Even if it happens over and over again, it is not duplication. Sometimes it happens in the beginning of the service, other times at the end of the service. Sometimes it lasts a minute. At other times, it can go on till the end of the service. But in the end, it is not planned and that should be the defining factor in dancing in the church.
Those holding this position have severally asked: “When one rehearses in order to learn the steps and movements, then is it really dancing to praise God or dancing for the entertainment of the congregation?
Right Rev. Monsignor John Aniagwu, the Vicar General Catholic, Archdiocese of Lagos, stated, “Music has been critical aspect of Christian worship, going all the way to the Bible. This is talking about the Psalms-songs composed to accompany worship in the Jewish tradition and when Christianity came along, the culture was brought into Christianity.
“The Christian church has always been involved in worship of God. Saint Paul even admonished that Psalms be used in Christian worship. Secular music is for the secular place and not for the church. I mean you don’t come to the church and start playing calypso; it is in order in places like the theatre.
“When you come to the church, your music has to be of a certain character, very solemn and uplifting music. We do dance in church but it is a different type which is modest and different from that of the secular way.”
Rev. Obed Ezeonye, the Senior Pastor, Excellent Glory Christian Center Iju, Lagos, in his contribution, said: “We need to take cognisance of different cultures in Nigeria and other countries as culture helps to shape people’s attitude and the way they dance.
“Responding to this issue will mean understanding the culture of people. Culture simply means the way of life of a given people. The African people have a culture. The European people have their culture. The Jewish people have their culture.
“There is cultural blend or conflicts. When two cultures conflict, we call it craze or crazy.
“Now we have the church culture, right? The church culture has undergone changes over the years with modern technologies. From clapping of hands to local use of drums, and to highly sophisticated instruments that release different sounds and lyrics.
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