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Movement for non-movers adds worship involvement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Sometimes in the spirit of worship, it’s hard to stand still. And that’s quite all right with Jeff Smith, director of Salt and Light Ministries of Richmond, Va.

“Signing is a way for me to stay involved in my worship experience longer,” Smith said to the group gathered to learn an interpretive movement routine during a conference session at the National Creative Arts Festival, Nov. 8-10 at Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn. “Worship and movement go together,” he said. “There can be joy in your movements and should be.”

The how-to session focused mainly on learning a mixture of American Sign Language hand signs and gestures to enhance the worship experience of the contemporary Christian song “Let It Rise.” Smith stressed the importance of using the movement in a way that glorifies God.

“It is always going to be an attitude of your heart that is important,” Smith said. “We’ve got to say to God, ‘I give my attitude and my movements to you.'”

Using signing and interpretive gestures could be a good way to involve people who aren’t comfortable performing in front of large groups because the focus is on the hand movements of the group, not the individual person, Smith said. Movement, signing and gesturing also could work well in worship settings because performers don’t have to be trained professionals.

Movement is appealing because of the wide range of age groups who can take part in the worship experience. Children, teens and adults of all ages attended Smith’s teaching session to learn a new way to express an attitude of worship. Movements can also be easily adapted for large or small groups or those with restricted movements.

For Cindy Butcher and Noni Wright of First Baptist Church, Stockton, Mo., learning a new way to express worship was important. The two lead a youth group at their church and use movement as a way to actively involve and teach teens about worship.

“For me, it’s putting my whole mind, body and soul into praising the Lord, not just my mouth,” Wright said.

The youth’s use of signing and gesturing also has become a way to express and share the gospel, Butcher said. “It reaches the unreachable,” she noted. “We did a youth tour and it was amazing the people it attracts.”

So the next time the Spirit moves, those who attended Smith’s session may have an all-new way to bring praise before the Lord. And they don’t have to say a word.

The LifeWay Church Resources Division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention sponsored the National Creative Arts Festival. More than 1,600 persons participated in the festival.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: MOVING EXPERIENCE and WORSHIP TIME.

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  • Mandy Crow