How to Finish Well in Ministry : Mark Dance
None of us start off in ministry thinking you know what I’m going to burn out. And yet burnout happens. So what can we incorporate into our lives and ministries to help us not only lead well, but also finish well? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Mark Dance, Director of Pastoral Wellness at GuideStone Financial Resources. For 27 years, Mark served as a pastor and church planter and also helped launch Lifeway Pastors and the Care for Pastors Network. His latest book is entitled, Start to Finish. Together, Mark and Jason look at some important practices we can incorporate into our lives to help ensure that we do not veer off course in our ministries. Mark also shares some fresh insights about how neighboring well helps us flourish in both life and ministry.
Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!
- Video links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Audio links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Additional resource links from this week’s conversation – so you and your team can easily find what is mentioned or referenced
- Ministry Leaders Growth Guide – key insights and concepts from this week’s conversation as well as engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process
- Full-text transcript of this week’s episode – review something you heard, pass along snippets, post tweets, create presentations to share, or use in whatever way you find most helpful in developing your ministry leaders
- Shareable Social Graphics – Feel free to post them on your church social accounts, your personal accounts, or use them as graphics in your communications
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Additional Resource Links
www.markdance.net – Here is Mark’s website, where you can find his books and other valuable resources to help you grow.
Start to Finish: The Pastor’s Guide to Leading a Resilient Life and Ministry – In Mark’s book, ministry leaders will find the guidance to finish the race well from start to finish. Whether you are ten years into your ministry or have not even taken the first steps, this book will discuss the important steps to take that will encourage the reader to serve well, lead well, and end well.
Feeling overwhelmed, burned out, or just want to talk? Complimentary Coaching Session for Pastors http://PastorServe.org/freesession
Ministry Leaders Growth Guide
Key Insights and Concepts
- Even though ministry leaders are accepting of their God-given call to pastoring or leading, many often fall into burnout.
- Ministry leaders must recognize and accept the fact that ministry is challenging and some seasons are going to be better than others.
- Pastors cannot prevent ministry from having difficult seasons, however there are aspects that lead to burnout that are preventable. It is important to be disciplined and dedicated to working on what is preventable.
- Allowing others to help assess different areas of a ministry leader’s health is vital to preventing burnout.
- The biblical command for leaders is to “watch your life” the same way that they watch the lives of their flock because it will benefit them as well as the people God has entrusted them to serve.
- In order to contribute the most effectively to God’s Kingdom, ministry leaders and pastors should prioritize caring for themselves. Self-care is not selfish, it actually helps those around every leader.
- Leaders should be caring for themselves in every area of life, including spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
- If pastors and ministry leaders are focused on the Great Commandment, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, then they will naturally be carrying out the Great Commission.
- Those with a gift of speaking may find it hard to listen, but it is a vital practice for good relational health.
- God’s word gives a blueprint for the priority level of the relationships in the lives of ministry leaders. Christ first, then spouse, children, physical neighbors, and so on.
- Leaders must be intentional about keeping relationships in their proper order, even if that means “demoting” a relationship. This allows for a healthy life for them and shows others what it looks like to effectively honor the priority of relationships.
- Developing a healthy rhythm for life and ministry often takes creativity because of the unique realities of each individual’s life. Establishing these rhythms is necessary because it encourages growth and helps prevent burnout.
- Good stewardship of all God provides requires a holistic approach, caring for and making good decisions about all areas in life. Therefore every decision, at its core, is a spiritual decision.
Questions for Reflection
- How do I currently perceive my level of burnout as a ministry leader? How can I actively work on preventing burnout?
- Am I open to receiving help and feedback from others I am close with to assess my overall well-being as a ministry leader? How can I create an environment that encourages such assessments?
- In what ways am I currently “watching my life” as a leader? What am I seeing?
- Have I noticed a difference in my leadership at times when I am more intentional about my self-care than times when I’m not? WHat can I learn from this observation?
- How am I prioritizing self-care according to the guidance of scripture in each area of my life: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically? What areas need more work? How will I address those areas?
- Am I taking care of my physical health adequately? What adjustments can I make to prioritize exercise, rest, and a balanced diet?
- Am I taking care of my spiritual health adequately? Am I personally growing spiritually as a Christ-follower, or is the majority of my spiritual focus spent on my ministry tasks? What shifts do I need to make in this area?
- Am I aligning my focus on the Great Commandment (loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength) to naturally carry out the Great Commission? How can I further integrate these aspects of my ministry?
- As a church, are we prioritizing the Great Commandment or the Great Commission? Do we need to make some shifts in the way we approach ministry?
- Do I recognize the importance of listening for good relational health? How can I cultivate a practice of active and attentive listening in my interactions with others?
- How am I currently organizing and prioritizing my relationships based on the biblical blueprint? Do I need to make any adjustments to ensure a healthier life balance and set an example for others?
- What creative and realistic rhythm can I establish in my life to encourage personal growth and prevent burnout? How can I implement and maintain this rhythm effectively so I can not only serve well now, but finish well in ministry?
- Am I being a good steward of all areas of my life, making spiritually informed decisions? How can I further develop my decision-making process to align with biblical principles?
None of us start off in ministry thinking you know what I’m going to burn out. And yet burnout happens. So what can we incorporate into our lives and ministries to help us not only lead well, but also finish well?
In this episode, I’m joined by Mark Dance, Director of Pastoral Wellness at GuideStone Financial Resources. For 27 years, Mark served as a pastor and church planter and also helped launch Lifeway Pastors and the Care for Pastors Network. His latest book is entitled, Start to Finish. Together, Mark and I look at some important practices we can incorporate into our lives to help ensure that we do not veer off course in our ministries. Mark also shares some fresh insights about how neighboring well helps us flourish in both life and ministry. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hello, friends, and welcome to another insightful episode of FrontStage BackStage. I’m your host, Jason Daye. And it’s my privilege, my honor, each and every week to have the opportunity to sit down with a trusted ministry leader. And we dive into a conversation in an effort to help you, and pastors and ministry leaders just like you, embrace a healthy and sustainable rhythm for both your life and your ministry. We are proud to be a part of the Pastor Serve Network. And every week not only do we have a conversation, but we also create a toolkit that you can access at PastorServe.org/network. And in that toolkit, you’ll find a ton of different resources for you and for the ministry leaders of your local church. I encourage you guys to avail yourselves of those resources, including the Ministry Leaders Growth Guide. And again, those all complement the conversation, giving you an opportunity to dig more deeply into what we are discussing today in this episode. And at Pastor Serve, we also love to walk alongside of pastors and ministry leaders, and we are offering a complimentary coaching session. So if you’d be interested in that you can find more details at PastorServe.org/freesession. Now, if you’re joining us on YouTube, give us a thumbs up and be sure to hit that notification bell so you do not miss out on these conversations. And take a moment to drop your name and the name of your church in the comments below. We love getting to know our audience better and our team will be praying for you and for your ministry. And whether you’re following us on YouTube or joining us and listening along on your favorite podcast platform, please be sure to subscribe or follow so you do not miss out on these conversations. Now I said I’m excited about today’s conversation. And at this time I’d like to welcome Mark Dance to FrontStage BackStage. Mark, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Jason. Great to be here.
Yeah, brother, so good to have you joining us and hanging out with us at FrontStage BackStage. And, Mark, pastors and ministry leaders, when we set off in ministry we do not set out thinking you know what, one day I think I’m going to burn out. Right, that’s not what we enter into ministry. And yet, Mark, we see so many of our colleagues experiencing just that. This burnout, weariness, and even for some, self-sabotaging behavior. By far, the typical pastor is very interested in serving the kingdom in meaningful ways. We’ve accepted God’s call into full-time ministry as our life’s vocation. And yet, Mark, we have these times of burnout. We can stretch ourselves too thin. So I’d love to just jump right in here. Mark, help us process through what are some of the ways that ministry leaders begin to suddenly veer off course that can eventually lead to burnout.
Yeah, great question. I mean, let’s get on the prevention side of this and that’s less painful, less expensive. That’s where I like to live and serve with GuideStone. And I want to tell you Pastor Serve has been doing this well for a long time. I love your podcast. I listen to it when I jog, and now that we’re in the summer I’m just gonna confess I’m jogging, running, jogging, jog-walking. I’m stopping and I’m trying to breathe. I’m in Texas, man, just trying to get through. Part of the burnout that is not preventable is that ministry is hard. So we got to first of all accept the fact that it’s hard and some seasons are going to be better than others, which is why Paul told Timothy to preach the word in season and out of season. That being said, if you’re constantly, week-in, week-out, month-in, month-out in burnout mode, you may have a worse problem than burnout. It could lead to worse things like depression, you could be spiraling and you need to call a timeout, and let somebody help you, all right? And honestly, even assessing your own health is, by and large, done best when it’s done with somebody who you let care for you. And so I think the biggest, best way for us to prevent burnout is to keep our finger on the pulse and let other people put their fingers on our pulse, as well.
Yeah, that’s super helpful. I think that idea of community, that idea of having people who care for us and are checking in with us, is vital. But what’s interesting, Mark, oftentimes, as pastors and ministry leaders, we do not necessarily let people into that kind of inner circle. Talk to us a little bit about that and that struggle, sometimes we keep people at arm’s length, and how that can adversely impact our life and our ministry.
Yeah, I’ve been a pastor for 36 years. I mean, the first 30 years pastoring local churches and then now pastoring pastors through GuideStone. And I’m telling you the arm’s length thing is a problem because it’s a preventable problem. When we’re surrounded by people and many of us are accessible to people that love us, that live in the same city, the same county, or town, or drivable distance, people reaching out to us. And we have this ‘on button’ in ministry, that we can say Hey, everything’s fine, just keep it surface. But that’s not good self-leadership. I love how Paul tells Timothy, not once, but twice to pay attention to his life. He tells him the first time in Acts 20. He says, pay attention to your life, or guard your life, and your flock. And that’s kind of a term that you use for a watchman, keep a watch, a guard. Like you watch your sheep, watch your life. And he says, he used the word life first. And then in his follow-up letter, in 1 Timothy, his first one, in chapter 4, verse 16, he says, Again, pay attention to your life. This time instead of and the flock he says, and your teaching or doctrine, persevere in these things. Paul says to Timothy, for in doing this, you save not only yourself, but also your hearers. And so in that is a prevention plan to say, not only do I want you to be a good pastor that teaches well and takes care of your sheep well, but I’m entrusting to you also, that you make sure that you yourself, are being led. And Paul was a great example of this. In the end of Romans he has 30 names that he drops of people that have helped him, several of which he says refreshed me. There’s several he said, you know, Philemon refreshed me, Onesiphorus refreshed me, and he goes on and on. So it’s not rocket science. But it’s counterintuitive for pastors to ask for help because we’re caregivers. We’re trained and wired and called to help other people. And it’s just awkward and sometimes even weird to ask for help. But if we’re really going to love the Lord with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we’ve got to let people help us with our heart, soul, mind, and our physical health. And there’s people all around us, that would fall over themselves to help us if we just take that initiative.
Yeah, I love that. And I love that example from Paul, because in both those instances, you know, the priority in that list. It talks about caring for yourself, right? Before the flock and before the teachings and doctrine, which I think is telling because if we are unable to care for ourselves, then we’re not able to contribute as effectively as we possibly could to the kingdom. We’re not able to be the shepherd that we need to be if we’re not first caring for ourselves. Mark, why is it you think that we often get that inverted in ministry? I mean, I know you mentioned because we tend to be caregivers. But are there other things in our life, in our ministry, that might push us or tempt us maybe I should say, to not really pay attention to our own well-being?
Yeah, I’ve been that guy. I’ll be exhibit A on somebody who has exceeded the biblical boundaries God gave us. Like the fourth commandment tells us to stop. That’s all Sabbath means is ‘stop’. Not asking, you know, it’s still a commandment. Right? Yet, pastors play hooky on that more than anything. And I was one of those. About 13-14 years ago, I was pastoring a church in Arkansas in the middle of a relocation from five acres to 50 acres. And we repurposed the first campus into a ministry center, and you have all this going on. Still preaching, still carrying, you know, weddings, funerals, all that stuff. So I just actually depleted my own reserves. God was still with me, I didn’t have any moral meltdowns, but I ran out of gas, what we often call burnout. And, I, honestly was the most responsible person for that. I couldn’t blame the devil, couldn’t blame the church, couldn’t blame my kids. My wife is like, you know, twice in our job description in 1 Timothy 3 it tells us to ‘manage’, uses the word manages, which is the same word translated as ‘lead’ in Romans 12, as a spiritual gift, is lead myself first. And so if I’m exceeding the limits God gave me and not taking care of myself physically, not getting enough sleep, not controlling what goes into my mind, what I read, what I watch, what I listen to. It starts with me. But it doesn’t stop with me because I can’t grow without other people’s help any more than my church members can. You know, we talk a lot about disciples making disciples, but whose discipling us, who’s pouring into us and investing in us? And we have to initiate that and take responsibility for those areas instead of blaming other people. And so isolation, loneliness, burnout, all those are real challenges. But God’s given us a recipe for a strong finish. You know, this is no secret, no shortcuts. It’s just basically, self-care is strategic. It’s not selfish, you have to give yourself permission to do it. And then when you do it, you have to be resolved enough to know that, as Paul told Timothy, persevere, for in doing this, you save not only yourself, but also your hearers. That there’s a collateral blessing for other people if you take care of yourself. And of course, you can’t save anybody from your sins, but you can’t save people from your stupidity. And that’s what he’s saying to Timothy, like, take care of yourself, man. It’s like the flight attendant says on the plane, man, put the oxygen mask on first because you’re not doing us any good passed out on this plane. Right? And that’s what I’m telling pastors is put the oxygen mask on, not just for yourself, but also so you can help the rest of the people.
Yes, that’s great. I love that. Mark, this book that you’ve written Start to Finish. You’ve written it from a pastor’s heart to other pastors, other ministry leaders, really focused on and you mentioned this earlier, this idea of finishing well. Talk to us a little bit, what was the impetus for you to put pen to paper, and to dive into this and why this idea of finishing well?
The idea came from a challenge at Lifeway. My first step into the pastoral ministry world was launching Lifeway Pastors almost nine years ago. And I was talking to the publisher, B&H, Selma Wilson, the VP at that time, about what’s right. And I’ve actually written a draft and about Sabbath and she said, Don’t let that be your first book. And I’d just finished it and I spent a sabbatical on it. And it’s like, even their editor had worked and I was like, What do you mean? She said, start with your core message. What is your core message? Let that be your first solo book. So I started working on it and to be honest with you, Jason, it was in a prayer time where God, like I call it a facemask moment, you know, where the coach grabs your face masks, which is illegal now, but they used to do that to get your undivided attention. And I saw the great commandment through a lens that I hadn’t seen before. I thought about it, we all have. We all know it even the scribe that asked Jesus what the greatest commandments were or greatest command was and he already knew the answer. He quoted twice a day his whole life, so did his parents and grandparents. But it’s like I’d never seen it. Because all of a sudden, I went from aspiring to be a great commission pastor for 20 years. That’s all I wanted to be a great commission pastor, and by general standards, I was successful in growing churches. But from that day on, I wanted to be a great commandment pastor. Because every great commandment pastor is going to be a great commission pastor. But not every great commission pastor that I’ve met, is a great commandment pastor. Because great commandment pastors have their relationships in order. Jesus said, The commandments, the 10 commandments, the whole Bible hangs on this. Love God. So he’s the first priority. And love your neighbor, meets nearest ones, starts next pillow, you know, you’re married. So Janet, in my case, and then you know, your kids. In fact, he pulled love your neighbor from Leviticus 19. And you read Leviticus 19, one of the first applications is about how to love your parents. And so the second half of the book is about the concentric circle relationships starting with, you know, write this on your heart, starts with you. And then in your home, write it out in the doorways, and then out in the gates. And so kind of a concentric circle model of the second commandment. The first half of the book, just lays out the first greatest commandment. The most important thing, Pastor, you will do today, this week, this month, and your whole life, according to Jesus, and Moses. And you know, we don’t need a third, this is done, right? That’s the most important and greatest. Protos and megas. And so I have a chapter about loving the Lord with all your heart, what does that mean, doing it as spiritual EKG. With all your mind, you know, talk about mental health, and with all your strength, talking about physical health, and I’m not preaching and writing about perfectionism, just basically, how self-care for a pastor can practically be applied, so that you not only start your ministry well, but that you accelerate through the finish line, not just to retirement, but through retirement, maybe even after retirement is your best season, because you continue to prioritize the people and the relationships that God told you to.
Yeah, that’s huge Mark. And I do think that that way you share here is pretty profound. Because, like you said, oftentimes in ministry as pastors, right, it’s kind of drilled into us the idea of the Great Commission. These are our marching orders, right? This is what we are, we’re pastors, this is what we do, we do this, and we try to get everyone else, not only to commit their lives to Christ, but to commit their lives to the Great Commission, as well. And so so much of our focus is on that, but I mean, just the way you frame this, the idea that you can be focused on the mission and lose sight of the relationship. The relationship with God and the relationship with others, is so true. And we’ve seen that, unfortunately, play out in the church in a variety of different ways, heartbreaking ways, that we get caught up measuring the wrong thing. It’s about metrics, right? You know, we get caught up in measuring those numbers. And we’re not caught up in the metric of our own heart, our own mind, our own relationships. I think that is so important for us to capture, because that’s where it starts. And what’s interesting, Mark, is that all of us in ministry, we all cognitively know that being centered in Christ, loving God with the totality of who we are is foundational. We know this, right? I’ve never met a pastor or ministry leader who does not know that, you know, conceptually has that in mind. And yet, we get involved doing good things, maybe with good intentions. But somehow we begin to neglect the great commandment, maybe not intentionally.
I started pastoring in 1987. And all I heard was, and I still hear, it’s annoying. It’s keep the main thing, the main thing. And I’ve said it, we’ve all said it. But, dang, we need to put that in the Hall of shame. Let’s hang that one up. We wore it out. So the thing is, as a young pastor it’s so confusing because every speaker had a different main thing. And I was like, what is the main thing? This is really, you know, I’ve got the bumper sticker now what does it mean? And that’s why that facemask moment was so personal for me. And profound and very simple is it Jesus uses two words, megas and protos. Most important, or it may be King James says first, protos. And then megas, greatest. In other words, in case you didn’t understand the first word, I’ll give it two. There’s nothing more important than this. But again, if you love your neighbor, you’re not going to let them go to hell without a fight. Right? So you’re gonna share the gospel with them. But if you only do the second commandment, and not the first, that’s just really good humanism, you know? And that even the parable of the Good Samaritan came from a response to the great commandment. That scribe that asked the question, the follow-up question, according to Luke, was, who’s my neighbor? And so he talks about the great Samaritan. So we know the people that don’t look like us, don’t vote like us. And we can go all the way to the world with the Great Commission and should. But you go back to the original love your neighbor, which they already were very familiar with. In Leviticus 19, you’ve got family in there, you’ve got the literal, it’s actually talking about boundary markers. We’re talking about people living next to you. So if you’re pastoring a church and you’re going on mission trips this summer, and you don’t know the names of the people in your neighborhood, there’s a disconnect to what Jesus says is the most important thing you need to do. Start with me and start with your family. Don’t end there. But love your literal neighbors, find out who they are. And you’ll be in great commission. But the main thing, according to Jesus, is the great commandment. And so I spent a whole book on it. And honestly, I think it’s the key to pastoral health, it’s key to finishing well, to pastoral resiliency, however you want to apply it. It’s an old-school recipe that says, these are based on covenants. Because even though everyone’s equal in God’s eyes, we’re not God. And God says, I’ve got a pecking order for you. And if people cut in line, which church members, I don’t know who knows this, but they do this all the time. They cut in line, they’re not trying to blow up your ministry, or your marriage, or your walk with God. But if you’ve felt compelled to interrupt your walk, your time with the Lord, or your time with your wife and your kids to immediately answer every text or DM, then basically you need to demote some people. By demoting them, you disciple them. The very first marriage advice is in Genesis 2. And that is leave your parents. That’s the first demotion in marriage is say goodbye, break up with your parents, right? And in doing so, cleave, which means to pursue hard, pursue your wife. So then you have kids, you have to demote them, you have church members, you have to demote them. And each time you do that, again, you disciple them, and you not only protect your own health and the health of your relationships, but you’re teaching them how to actually do the same thing. Because I mean, I don’t care if you’re in ministry or not. Everybody’s working on the whole work-life balance thing. But the Bible has kind of already worked it out for us.
Yeah, that’s good. So let’s talk a little bit about the idea of rhythm. When we’re looking at the great commandment. How does this concept of rhythm work into our lives? Because obviously, that’s a healthy thing. And if we don’t have a healthy rhythm, that is whenever we get kind of off-course. Talk to us a little bit, Mark, about some practical ways that we can incorporate those types of things into our lives.
Yeah, well, first of all, with a name like Dance, you’d expect somebody to have rhythm. I’ve never met a Dance that actually can dance. And so that’s somebody back there in the family tree who could dance apparently. But the rhythm, what it looks like, is keep it simple. But when I had that facemask moment, Jason, I looked at my calendar, and it didn’t reflect my priorities. I already knew conceptually, and we all do, everything you’ve heard, you’ve not only heard before, you’ve preached it, right? So I looked at my calendar and I saw a guy named Brian. First thing in the morning, not Jesus, but Brian. I’d meet him on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the gym. And then I’d say I have a breakfast meeting with somebody else over here. I’m like, I think first means first, right? So I just rescheduled and I know this, you have to be creative, especially those of you that are juggling more than one job. But it’s kind of like Sabbath. Don’t try to fight it. Find a way to do it creatively instead of making an excuse. Same with dating, you know, wait for that season, when you can afford it, when you’re not busy and all that stuff, or your marriage will be as empty as your nest. But the rhythm, the rhythm has to be based on reality. And so for example, my first conversation is with Jesus, not Janet. Mostly because Janet doesn’t want to talk to anybody in the morning. But also, I promise Jesus, I love him more. And I don’t read the Bible in the year, it’s fine for those of you that do, some of you read it three or four times a year. I can read one chapter at a time, really slow. I’m doing something. So I’ve been on a chapter-a-day plan, because I’ve read it through in a year before, and I’m just scanning. And I’ll journal but I don’t journal every single day. And sometimes I pray with my eyes open, sometimes I do it when I’m walking or jogging. But the fact is, I do it. That’s the rhythm. I don’t exercise every day, but I exercise at least three times a week. And that’s based on your age and ability. But not doing it all is going to catch up with you, right? So the rhythm, you make rhythms based on a long-term plan, even when we eat, you know, I’m 58. So my wife and I, we’re on the road a lot. We split entrees. Entrees are ginormous these days, we don’t need two entrees, we don’t need to be bringing food home, or we might get an extra vegetable. And we don’t eat dessert every time we go out because it’s not our birthday every day. So those are the rhythms that go, you know, I just want to practice the health I’m preaching but also, I have an eye on the finish line. And that affects our spending habits. Because you know, financial literacy is an issue we’re trying to help with, with GuideStone where I work now. Financial advocacy, things that were not learned at seminary. But again, they’re part of the management of our lives. When it comes to rhythm is that early in my ministry before I accepted that call at that church, not even a year, months before, I made a decision in 1986 to not charge something that couldn’t afford to pay off that month. Because I came out of college, I bought a VCR on a credit card. Because I couldn’t afford it. And it was the latest technology, I had to have it. So I got a credit card. I charged it only $10 a month and paid for it like three times that way. Interest rates were incredible. And then somebody at GuideStone, I’ve only worked for them a year and a half. But somebody at GuideStone said, hey, why don’t you save a little instead of overspending. You know, put some aside, you’re not gonna believe how it’s gonna help you later. Someday you’re gonna want kids and you won’t want to borrow money from them. So if you want some financial independence later, do this instead of that. And, Jason, that’s the last, that VCR is the last time I’ve spent a penny of money on credit card interest. Because I decided that’s the new norm for me in my home, and what I do in my home does affect my ministry. And so I live within my means at home, I live within my means in church. And I try to eat in a way that glorifies God, you know, watching things, the mental health part. Not perfectionism, but building into your life things that will help you to keep growing instead of being things that will be traps for you later on.
Yeah, that’s good. And I love the holistic approach to that. Because, again, it goes back to the great commandment, we’re loving God with every ounce of who we are, right? I mean, all facets of who we are. So it’s that holistic piece. And that speaks to an awareness, right? Like, like, we’ve got to be intentional, we’ve got to be self-aware. If we’re not self-aware, then we are going to order extra desserts or we are going to spend money at times when we shouldn’t be spending money. We are going to be doing all of these different little things because we’re not taking the time to assess ourselves. We’re not taking the time to slow down and to process and to really reflect.
Yeah, even Jesus, Luke 2:52, just says about Jesus. Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. I mean, you’re spot on, Jason. The Bible doesn’t overly compartmentalize our lives. It’s a very comprehensive covenant that involves every part of me. And so every decision I make is a spiritual decision. It’s not just I have the spiritual part, and have this mental part, and I have this physical part, you know? They overlap. It’s all stewardship of what God’s given me.
That’s awesome, Mark. That’s awesome. This has been a fantastic conversation. I love your heart for pastors and for ministry leaders. Your heart for their well-being, your heart to see them finish strong, to finish well. Excellent book, Start to Finish, that you’ve written and just a gift to the church, to the leaders in the church. So thank you for that. Mark, if people want to connect more with you, your ministry, want to connect more and learn more about the book, what are the best ways for them to do that?
Yeah, thanks for asking. Just my name, pretty much you can find me. There’s not a lot of Mark Dances in the ministry. I’ve not heard of any others, the name’s very rare. So even my website, MarkDance.net, or GuideStone. GuideStone email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m not hard to find. And, man, I just love your heart, too. And I love Pastor Serve and Jimmy Dodge is a great friend. He knows his way around barbecue, everywhere. But you guys have been cheering on pastors, to have other pastor advocates that are lifting up pastors and not just throwing platitudes. But in practical ways you’ve been doing that. I listen to every single podcast that you put out. I don’t know if anyone else I can say that about, seriously. Every podcast that you put out is that excellent. And so if somebody’s listening for the first time, hear me out, you need to be discipled, too. And this is one of those tools that is worth your time. Just put it in the pattern of your life.
Thank you, Mark. Thank you. I appreciate that brother. And I didn’t even pay him to say that guys, that was genuine. And we, for those of you watching, or those of you listening along, we will have links to Mark’s website, to GuideStone, the ministry where he’s at, and also to his new book, Start to Finish. And you can find all that in the toolkit that goes along with today’s conversation. You can find that PastorServe.org/network so you can check that out and get links to all those great resources. Thank you, brother, I appreciate so much you making the time to hang out with us on FrontStage BackStage. Again, appreciate your heart for pastors. And it’s just wonderful for us to be able to sit down and to speak into the lives of ministry leaders, and encourage them and support them. As we close down, Mark, final words of encouragement to our brothers and sisters who are serving.
Hey, if you’re a preacher, and that doesn’t mean necessarily lead pastor, but God’s gifted you with a speaking gift, it’s going to make it harder to do what I’m going to advise you to do. And that’s listen. It’s hard for us to listen. But if you listen to, first, Jesus every day and your wife, just ask her how her day was and stop talking. You do that right there every day, you’ll thank me later on, I promise.
Awesome, excellent, brother. Appreciate it. Good word. Thank you so much, Mark. God bless you, my friend.
God bless you, too. Thanks for having me.
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at PastorServe.org/network. That’s PastorServe.org/network. And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at PastorServe.org/network We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.
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