Mark Dance

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Setting your house in order

We may not have much control over when we leave this planet, but we do have a say in how we leave and the impact it will have on our families. When King Hezekiah became terminally ill, the prophet Isaiah said to him, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Put your affairs in order, for you are about to die’” (2 Kings 20:1).

Choose a ministry mulligan over misery

I have tried really hard to like golf, but I prefer hobbies that do not tempt me to say or do things I will regret later. One thing I do like about golf is the mulligan—a do-over stroke that doesn’t count. They make those terrible shots disappear into thin air.

FIRST-PERSON: Helping yourself so you can help others

After pastoring in a fog of clinical depression for several months, I came very close to walking away from the church I was pastoring and the ministry altogether. I had been pastoring for 22 years at the time and was burned out and fed up—mostly with myself.

Four solutions for battling an angry heart

Dear pastor, You might have an anger problem that, very often, can lead you to becoming a problem. Finishing the following sentence will help you know whether this post addresses you:

How to get ahead on sermon planning for the New Year

The pressure of sermon planning never lets up for pastors. Some weeks have more margin than others, and some texts are more fun to preach than others, yet Sunday is coming regardless. According to a 2012 Lifeway Research study, close to 7 in 10 Southern Baptist pastors spend at least eight hours a week on sermon preparation, with 21% saying they spend more than 15 hours.

FIRST-PERSON: History’s first Christmas gift

One Christmas, my wife, Janet, had a necklace made from a broken piece of my grandmother’s china. These necklaces were made by broken women in a local women’s shelter that our church supported financially. Their jewelry is a wonderful reminder of how God can bring beauty into brokenness. These necklaces remind us of history’s first Christmas gift.

Examining social media and our motives as pastors

Pastors and social media are sometimes a dangerous duo. I am obviously not opposed to social media, as many of you would not even see this article without it. It can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, as well as to inspire, inform, and equip your people.

What Ravenhill Taught Me About Life and Ministry

The privilege of knowing Leonard Ravenhill when I was a teenager was nothing less than a sovereign surprise. Ravenhill was a British evangelist and writer whose statements on prayer and revival frequently pop up in sermons and on social media. God crossed our paths during the most impressionable years of my life. 

FIRST-PERSON: Is your heart too cluttered?

“As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit” (Luke 8:14).

Five Common Pastor Search Mistakes to Avoid

Everyone in ministry will eventually be on both sides of a pastor or ministry leader search process and will need to know best (and worst) practices. Many search team mistakes are inevitable, yet most are avoidable. I’ve learned these lessons the hard way.