Pastor advocate Mark Dance joins GuideStone as Director of Pastoral Wellness

By Roy Hayhurst 

Dr. Mark Dance is joining GuideStone Financial Resources in the newly created Director of Pastoral Wellness position. 

Dance previously served as a senior pastor for 28 years in churches in Texas and Arkansas 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. 

“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.” 

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

“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’s work 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 The 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. 

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