Arts In ActionTAM

Arts In Action | Testimony Series | Bethany Kelly

Arts In Action | Testimony Series | Bethany Kelly

Bethany Kelly

There are so few spaces in our lives where we are truly able to “Let go and let God.” To allow ourselves to stop worrying about our to-do lists or our fears or our struggles. In this chaotic and fast-paced life, it is essential that we are able to pause and find the quiet in which God likes to speak.

For me, no matter how many times I sit down and attempt to hear His voice clearly, I will always fall asleep or start thinking about the to-do list that I am leaving untouched. The only way that I have found to be truly in tune with the Almighty God is through the movement of my body.

In every worship service, you will see people like me. The people who are unable to stand still and sing within the confines of the pews. I tend to want as much space as possible so that my swaying and outstretched arms will not hinder someone else’s worship experience. My body just likes to move! But it took me a long time to actually understand that movement was my communication with God; that it is the only place where I am able to remove myself from the chaos, speak to him with my body, and truly “let go and let God.”

I had heard the metaphor of the Body of Christ plenty of times: each part is unique, but all are necessary for the body to work. I just hadn’t realized that my desire to move my body was a unique part of the larger body of worship. And when the availability of dance ministry in my corps and divisions grew, I finally found my true place of worship.

Naturally, when the opportunity arose to become a part of Army On Its Toes Dance Company, I couldn’t wait to get moving – literally.

Being a part of Company has not only improved my dance ability, but it has improved my walk with the Father. We are a community of believers who are aching for God to move in our generation even as we move to communicate with Him. Company is the place where I am truly able to talk to God with my body – with my whole being.

I do not believe that it is ironic when Jesus uses the body as a metaphor for the Church. In dance, we are obviously very aware of our bodies, and I have come to understand this passage of scripture in a deeper way with my time in Company.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

We all come from different walks of life, but when we gather together, we form one body and drink from the same Spirit to form a ministry that would not be the same if we were all trying to be the same body part.

I have never been in an environment before where every single person in the room feels equal. I have never been in a space where no one was considered superior or inferior based on talent, experience, or age. But Army on Its Toes Dance Company is that space of equality in community. It is a space where we are able to be ourselves in the way that God has made us and to collectively work together to further His Kingdom in the best way that we know how: movement.

Rehearsals are brutal. We all have regular lives that we have to get back to, so the time that we spend together is short – maybe one or two days of 12-hour rehearsals. Our bodies are challenged to keep up with the movement, our brains are challenged to remember all of the new choreography, and our spirits are challenged by the way that God is speaking to us collectively and individually through each song, lyric, or movement.

We take breaks, of course, but these breaks tend to be Spirit-led, where we pause and ask, “What is the Spirit saying to you?” or “Does anyone feel like they need to be prayed over?” Our ministry is so much more than what people see on stage. It is covered in prayer, covered in community, and covered in the Holy Spirit.

Our ministry is to each other as well as to those we come into contact with. We have become a family; we support each other in more ways than we could ever put into words. We exemplify the biblical idea of the Body: If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Corinthians 12:26

Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” When Company gathers, we can certainly feel the Spirit moving. And when we are not physically gathered, we are constantly encouraging each other through prayer, through life updates, through inspiring dance videos, or even through exercise challenges.

For me, Company has been the truest version of the Church that I have ever experienced. The Spirit is moving, every one of us has a role, and not one part is more important than another.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.  1 Corinthians 12:27