God has radically transformed my expectations of Wheaton and ministry during my time here at Wheaton. Choosing to come to Wheaton was hard for me. I felt that God was pushing me to go to Wheaton, but Wheaton was lacking one thing that had been a huge part of my life: dance. Or so I thought. I had grown up dancing competitively: tap, jazz, and ballet, and was devastated to be leaving this chapter of my life — I didn’t know what I would do without dance. Upon arriving on campus, I quickly discovered Zoe’s Feet, the dance ministry here on Wheaton’s campus. God has used this ministry and form of Christian Outreach to change my life.
Lesson #1: Dance can be worship.
Yes, it is true — Wheaton once had a rule against any form of dance. In the late 1990s, a group of students, supported by faculty, decided to show the campus that dance could be a beautiful form of art to worship our sovereign Lord, just like music and the visual arts. Zoe’s Feet was launched soon thereafter and has since served as a safe haven for dancers on Wheaton’s campus.
The name is derived from Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” “Zoe” means life in Greek, and Zoe’s Feet is a form of Christian Outreach that exists to share the Good News through the medium of dance to dancers on our campus, the campus community, and the wider Wheaton area.
Can dance really be worship? Before coming to Wheaton, I had tried to connect my dancing with praising God, but this was difficult in a secular environment. Over the past three and a half years, I have had the privilege of exploring this very question in a community of Christian dancers. Through Scripture readings, conversations with professors, and experiencing it with others, the overwhelming and resounding answer is YES! Dance can be (and is) worship. Dance allows us to praise God: to cry out to Him in lament, to express what our words cannot express, to pray over one another through movement, and to use our bodies for the glory of their Maker.
Lesson #2: God wants us to worship Him with our bodies.
If I’m not a dancer, what does this mean for me? We are embodied creatures, and, as such, we have the privilege of worshiping God with our whole being: body and soul. For me, dance has helped to shape this worship. Through dance, I am able to worship God in a community of brothers and sisters. However, this worship should not stop at the end of practice. Walking between classes, brushing my teeth, talking with friends, studying… all these can be acts of worship if I am oriented toward God. As an embodied creature, everything I do is an act of worship. Am I worshipping myself, an image, some celebrity, technology, etc? Or am I worshipping my Creator who deserves more praise then I could ever give Him?
My experience in Zoe’s Feet has helped to train me as I seek to live a life of worship before the throne of God. This is not unique to dance. When we create weekly habits of ministry that involve us submitting our time, energy, and bodies to the Lord, we can become more attuned to His leading in our everyday lives and, by His grace, learn to live embodied lives that are more and more oriented toward Him.
Lesson #3: Dance is a beautiful way to do ministry and Christian Outreach.
This past spring, Zoe’s Feet had the amazing opportunity to go to New York City with Project Dance and to share the gospel through dance. I don’t think I have ever seen God work so much is such a short period of time. We decided to go on the trip merely a couple of months before the scheduled date. In that time, with tremendous support from the Office of Christian Outreach and the college as a whole, we planned the trip and raised over $12,000! God was so good in His provision!
The provision didn’t stop there. The trip was less than 72 hours total and was a whirlwind, but God showed up. We were able to take master classes from professional dancers, hang out as a group, and talk to other dance ministries from across the US and the world. We performed in a full-day open-air concert in Times Square, proclaiming Christ’s love before the streets of NY. I have never felt so much joy while I was up on stage, and although we may never see the impact of that day, God was at work. Our dance allowed us to share our hope with strangers. It became starting points for conversations with people on the streets. In the end, God used a group of 21 Wheaton College students to further His kingdom in NY on that day. I will never underestimate the ways that God can provide or the times that He will show up.
Whether you’re a dancer or not, I would encourage you to think about how you may better use your body for the glory of God. What may He be calling you to do with your time, energy, and skills? You can use them to worship Him, and I promise you, because I have seen it, He shows up and provides in mysterious yet amazing ways.
At Wheaton, we celebrate all of the arts. Wondering what you can do with a liberal arts degree? Click the button to download our free video and find out!