EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an expanded article based on the 2020 Cooperative Program Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. For more information, please visit www.oklahomabaptists.org/cp.
Mark Dance is a bow hunter with a wide perspective and a laser focus, able to see the forest despite the trees, and yet the quivering branch disguising his target. Serving in north-central Oklahoma as a regional ministry partner, Dance also is statewide in pastoral development.
In his regional role, Dance partners with pastors, churches and associations to advance the Gospel. In his statewide role, he is “helping to create a preacher pipeline in Oklahoma that will reach out to aspiring pastors, ministers and missionaries,” Dance said. “Much of the time, they are surrendering to a general call to ministry and will need mentors to help guide them in their formative years.”
As relationships and trust grow, those in the pipeline can be guided to discover their gifts and how God wants to use them in ministry, Dance said. The pipeline is for students in grade school, college and seminary, as well as those who respond to a ministry calling in mid-life or later.
“Almost all the midlife ministry callings I have witnessed were delayed calls. They heard it when younger, ignored it or didn’t have a mentor,” Dance said. Pastoral development was started so “when someone starts a path to ministry we can help them all the way to the finish line.”
Dance, a native Texan, pastored for 27 years before launching a department at LifeWay Christian Resources in 2014 called LifeWay Pastors. He graduated in 1983 from Howard Payne University, in 1991 from Southwestern Seminary and in 1995 with a Doctor of Ministry degree from Southern Seminary.
He and his wife Janet, who have two grown children, enjoy encouraging ministry couples throughout North America.
Because of the generous giving of Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program, an amazing array of ministries are supported. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Oklahoma Baptists are advancing the Gospel together. Learn more at www.oklahomabaptists.org/CP