Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and LifeWay Christian Resources Host Conference on Leading Family & Ministry

Janet Dance responds to a question from the audience during the “Strengthening Your Marriage Family Conference” held on Aug. 23 at Midwestern Seminary. MBTS Photo

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and LifeWay Christian Resources partnered to host the “Strengthening Your Marriage Family Conference” at the school’s Kansas City, Mo., campus.

The two-part conference focused on the theme “Leading your life, family, and ministry well,” and featured Mark Dance, who serves as director of LifeWay Pastors. The second session involved a panel discussion in which Dance, and his wife Janet, and Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen and his wife Karen, answered questions from those in attendance.

In the first session, Dance addressed the audience on the topic of leading at home and in ministry. The Greek term for “manage” means “to stand before or lead,” he noted, and this is exactly what pastors are called to do in their families and ministries.

“When we said ‘yes’ to God’s call to pastoral ministry, we agreed to a 2,000-year-old job description which requires us to lead our lives, our families, and our ministries well,” Dance said during the Aug. 23 event. “Pastors not only want to succeed at church and home, but we are also required to: ‘If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?’ (1 Timothy 3:5).”

Pastors are also expected to lead their personal lives well in order to be effective in ministry and at home, he added. Basing his thoughts from 1 Timothy 4:16, he said, “We have to be a disciple before we can make disciples, so make sure your vision to grow your ministry is not more ambitious than your vision to grow your own soul and family.”

During the panel discussion, the Allens, who recently celebrated 20 years of marriage, and Dances, who have been married for more than 30 years, addressed questions from the audience — providing insight into their marriages and families, and how they integrated those relationships into their ministry callings.

The couples addressed questions about unique challenges they’ve faced, habits and routines they developed that helped them remain connected to one another, how they keep from arguments on Sunday mornings, boundaries they’ve set with their ministry responsibilities, preserving their marriage and family, ways to foster accountability, and how they’ve handled self-care and mental health issues.

The Allens noted that intentionality is key when remaining connected with one another.

Weekly, the couple will spend time, usually on a Sunday evening, coordinating schedules and working through what the week ahead holds. This helps them know the best times for interaction, family meals/times, and allows space to manage work responsibilities and accomplish goals.

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Source: Baptist Press