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SBC DIGEST: GuideStone adds director of pastoral wellness; Fisher begins role as leader of Oklahoma Baptists

Pastor advocate Mark Dance joins GuideStone as director of pastoral wellness

By Roy Hayhurst/GuideStone

DALLAS (BP) – Mark Dance is joining GuideStone Financial Resources in the newly created director of pastoral wellness position.

Mark Dance

Dance previously served as a senior pastor for 28 years at churches in Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee before joining Lifeway Christian Resources in 2014. He is the co-founder of Care4Pastors. Most recently, he has served as director of pastoral development for Oklahoma Baptists.

GuideStone President-elect Hance Dilbeck said pastor wellness will be a priority for him as he leads the organization.

“When I was called to join the ministry of GuideStone, I felt deep in my soul a responsibility to care for pastors, not just in their financial and health lives, but for the whole pastor and pastor’s family, to help them do well and do right by being well, serving well and finishing well,” GuideStone President-elect Hance Dilbeck said. “As I’ve spent these last several months becoming acquainted with GuideStone, I was excited by the prospects of Mark joining us here to advance the vision we believe we have received from the Lord.”

Dance said God has opened many doors for him to minister to pastors.

“Pastors have been a priority to GuideStone for over 100 years, and I am thrilled to build on that legacy with Dr. Dilbeck and his team,” Dance said. “Pastors are still leading through a historically challenging season, so our GuideStone team desires to lock arms with other ministries to help pastors and other ministry leaders fulfill their calling. I have never been more excited about a ministry opportunity than I am today.”

Throughout the pandemic, GuideStone has noted, along with many health providers, that mental health claims have increased, which often have corresponding increased costs in the health care plan overall.

“Pastors are having a hard time finishing well,” Dilbeck said. “As we’ve talked through ways to help pastors find the care they need so they can be the husbands and shepherds they’re called to be, this vision around complete wellness – spiritual, physical, financial, mental, health – has more fully taken shape. We believe that we can continue to do the things GuideStone does well, the financial and health wellness focus, and influence these other aspects of wellness.”

Dance will work in concert with pastor wellness programs sponsored by other Southern Baptist entities.

“Perhaps most excitingly, we aren’t taking this on in a vacuum,” Dilbeck said. “Mark will bring relationships he has already established with our sister Southern Baptist entities, state conventions and other like-minded ministries, so that we can assist in serving our pastors in a holistic way. This isn’t a change in focus for GuideStone – we’ve always said we exist to honor the Lord by being a lifelong partner with our participants in enhancing their financial security. That focus is not going to change. We recognize that when pastors are well in every aspect of their life, their financial security becomes even stronger.”

Dance has three earned degrees – a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard Payne University, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Janet. They currently live in Tulsa, where he serves as an interim pastor, and will relocate to Dallas. They have two adult children, Holly (married to Brandon) and Brad.

Fisher begins role as Oklahoma Baptists’ executive director-treasurer

By Dana Williamson/Baptist Messenger

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) – Todd Fisher officially became the 10th executive director-treasurer for Oklahoma Baptists on Jan. 4. Fisher grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, was saved and baptized at North Fort Worth Church when he was 14, and sensed a call to ministry at age 16.

Todd Fisher

“In my senior year in high school, I knew God was calling me to be a pastor,” Fisher said. “I came to Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) to prepare myself for God’s call on my life to ministry.”

Fisher has degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Oklahoma Baptist University. He also has taught at OBU, SBTS and SWBTS. And he served on staff at several churches in Oklahoma, most recently as pastor of Immanuel Baptist in Shawnee.

Fisher said he did not seek the executive director’s job, nor did he have aspirations for it.

“Honestly, it took me by surprise,” he said. “I was very happy pastoring at Immanuel and teaching at OBU. However, when I was contacted by the search committee, I began praying about the possibility. Through my time in prayer, visiting with others and participating in the search committee’s thorough process, it became clear to me that God was leading me to this new role to use my pastoral experience and background to serve Oklahoma Baptists and the denomination I love.”

Fisher said he believes the focus of Oklahoma Baptists needs to be missions, the Great Commission, the spreading of the Gospel, and the reaching of communities in every corner of the state, along with church planting, church revitalization and discipleship practiced in churches.

“With unity, we show a lost world the power of the Gospel,” he said. “We want to keep our state unified, keep us out of the weeds, keep us out of the ditches, and help us keep our focus on the main thing.”

He emphasized that Oklahoma Baptists, “through our unity around the message and mission God has given us, are poised to be an example to the Southern Baptist Convention of how a state convention of churches can work together to make a strong impact for the kingdom of God in our communities, the nation and the world.”

Fisher asked Oklahoma Baptists to pray for his family in this transition period from the pastorate to his new role.

“Leaving the pastorate will be difficult in many respects, but I am excited for this new work,” he said. “Pray for me to have wisdom, discernment, humility, fruitfulness and above all be Christ-focused in my personal and professional life.”

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