“God gave us our bodies, and He wants us to worship Him with every part of our life. When you dance, your body becomes an instrument. Something happens that is beyond explanation,” said Justin Seidel, Director of Freestyle Dance Ministry, a ministry of OM in Australia, when asked why dance is a valuable expression of worship.
It was this passion for dance as worship that led Justin to start Freestyle Dance Ministry in 2016. After attending Dancelink* in 2015 and 2016, as well as participating in Transform**, Justin realised that he wanted to do dance ministry full time in his home country of Australia. Thus Freestyle Dance Ministry was born.
Justin’s ministry is a little different from other dance ministries; he explained: “I like to go to where the people are, conducting ‘outreach,’ as opposed to having a sole focus on ‘inreach.’” In fact, for nine months out of the year, Justin travels to churches and schools all over Australia to lead dance workshops. He usually visits youth groups or Sunday school classes and works with school children ages five through 18.
During dance workshops, Justin leads a high-energy warm-up to Christian hip-hop and youth-oriented music, often using remixes of Christian songs. Then, the students work on learning choreographed dances. During the workshop, Justin shares his testimony, emphasising that people can use their passions and gifts as a way of sharing God’s love.
Justin himself experienced physical healing while involved with a dance team, so he is passionate about helping kids understand that God cares about them and what they are interested in. Even in state schools, where Justin is legally prohibited from sharing his faith, he seeks to bring a positive and purpose-focused message, helping kids understand through music and dance that there is meaning in life.
Dancing to reach out
Justin has seen the Holy Spirit work through the dance workshops. Once, while leading a workshop for a youth group with kids ages 10-14 years old, the students wanted to share God’s love with people at a nearby skate park. The group bonded over the experience, and Justin said it was special to see them put into practise what they learnt.
Another time, during a worship session for youth that allowed the students to respond through dance, a boy began weeping. He explained that he felt called to ministry. Some time later, the boy’s father shared with Justin that his son had decided to follow Jesus, citing the time he was dancing with Justin as part of the reason. “It must have been the Holy Spirit,” the boy explained. During Justin’s most recent trip, a student who was present at the skate park evangelism workshop is travelling with Justin to help with the ministry.
Freestyle Dance Ministry is planting seeds in student’s lives throughout Australia. Justin is ecstatic to see these seeds beginning to grow, and he is passionate about teaching people to express themselves through dance in worship. Follow Justin’s ministry by checking out the Freestyle Dance Ministry Facebook page or visiting https://freestyledanceministry.com/.
Freestyle Dance Ministry is also excited to offer internships! Contact Justin for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*DanceLink was a ministry of Inspiro Arts Alliance started by Linda Wells, with the goal to see dancers trained and equipped to serve the Lord through their gifts.
** Transform is an OM conference in Europe. After the initial sessions, participants put into practice what they learnt by sharing the love of Christ by reaching out to nearby communities.