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“Transform Dancelink was a real inspiration for the ministry I am doing now!” Twenty-five year-old Justin Seidel from Australia explains about the Freestyle Dance Ministry (FDM) he leads with OM Australia. In 2015 and 2016, Justin took part in the Transform conferences, followed by the Dancelink outreaches in Portugal where he and the team gave dance workshops to local young people with the goal of building bridges through culture.
Today he is engaging with youth in Australia, mostly 10-21 year-olds, through dance, discussions and discipleship.
“Freestyle Dance Ministry is for everybody,” says Justin. “And in fact, most of the participants haven’t danced before!” The music varies from Christian Hip-hop/pop to contemporary worship songs, depending on the dance styles being taught. The dancing serves as a fun icebreaker and an introduction to Bible studies and discussion. The goal is to show that faith is relevant to the lives of the young people, using dance as a gift from God and as a pathway to discipleship.
“Freestyle Dance Ministry provided a fantastic workshop for our students,” said Tom Brennen, Principal at Sunshine Christian School, “and Justin is a great presenter whose faith in God and passion for dance is infectious. Our students of all different ages and genders greatly enjoyed the experience. In addition to increasing their dance skills and having fun, they saw how artistic pursuits can be used to bring glory to God and spread His message.”
Being the sole full time team member, Justin is occasionally supported by other dancers helping him teach the workshops. Also, youth leaders in the community help lead the Bible studies included as part of the workshop. The OM office in Melbourne provides support for FDM through their finance, communications, HR, Internship and National Ministry teams.
Justin grew up attending church, and by his early teens started to grow significantly in his faith through youth camps and later by going on short term mission trips. After completing his degree with honours in spirituality and social work and other relevant training, he started conducting the FDM programme reaching out to young people in the communities.
“The purpose of FDM is to encourage children and youth in their faith, inspire them to step out of their comfort zone and equip them to reach out to others,” explains Justin. He additionally aims to see local leaders equipped to disciple their young people, and strengthen relationships between the youth, their peers and leaders. “Through combined church events, FDM also serves to bring unity and build relationships across denominations,” he continues. “And for many, it is a new way of conducting outreaches to the local community.” Increasing the communities’ heart for mission and presenting opportunities for serving through OM is part of the programme.
“What does it mean to dance to God’s beat? God’s beat is His way of life, following Him, and that’s what it is all about: dancing to God’s beat,” concludes Justin.
Please check out the FDM web site and youtube video, and say a prayer for Justin and this vital ministry. If you want to participate in a short term 'Transform' outreach, like the Justin did, you can get more information here.
Published: Thursday, 20 September 2018
Credit: Anne Marit Viljoen