HOUSTON It's unlike any Easter video you've ever seen, and it's gotten more than 588,000 views on YouTube and lots of positive feedback from around the world.
It's a high-energy music video called "Dance Your Shoes Off," and it shows 2,000 members of Second Baptist Church in Houston dancing and worshipping to a song about Christ's resurrection. With the Houston skyline in the background and with hundreds of curious people watching, the members move their arms, legs and feet to the choreographed dance steps that took about a month to learn. At the end of the five-minute video, they point to the sky, and then walk off the field without their tennis shoes, and we learn all the shoes brand new were collected for people in need.
"It's become much more global and bigger than we had ever imagined," said Second Baptist associate pastor Steve Seelig, who got the idea for the video after watching a similar video in 2010 made by a church in Hungary. That one was called "Resurrection Sunday Dance," and involved about 1,300 people dancing in downtown Budapest.
"I was so inspired by that, and I thought, 'If an Eastern bloc country can do that, how much more should we in the Bible Belt be able to get out and celebrate our beliefs?" Seelig said.
The song called "Rise Up" may be just as popular as the video and is available on iTunes with a user rating of five out of five stars. It was written by Josh Moore, a church member who also is member of the Christian contemporary group Caedmon's Call. Lauren James, a worship leader at one of the church's five campuses, sang it.
"The global response to this has been amazing the number of churches from all around the world that have contacted us and are going to use this in their Easter worship services," Seelig said. "People all over the world are calling us and saying, 'This has been such a blessing to us.'"
The video also was intended as a "creative way to invite people to our Easter services," Seelig said.
The video includes people from all five campuses dancing, but they didn't come together en masse until the day the video was shot. Instead, they practiced at their respective church campus or at home. The dance steps were made available on DVD and online. The weekend before the video was filmed, everyone learned where they would be standing on the field, which had grids. It was shot at Discovery Green, a downtown Houston park that the church reserved.
"We had several thousand people there just watching," Seelig said.
The event produced several inspiring stories. The oldest dancer in the video is a man in his 80s who had a heart transplant in the past five years and was saved shortly thereafter. There are children in the video as well as people of many races.
Not everyone could afford the shoes, but God provided, Seelig said.
"We had a lady who walked up to one of our pastors one Sunday and said, 'I've learned the dance and bought the tennis shoes but I've hurt my leg and I can't dance.' The pastor said, 'Well, let me work on that.' He turned around and a lady walked up to him and said, 'I've learned the dance but we've had some financial hard times so I can't afford the tennis shoes.' They put those two ladies together, and they wore the same size shoe.
"I love stories like that."
Dance Your Shoes Off Video