Hi, my name is Mark Dance and I am a churchoholic. Although I take partial responsibility for my addiction, it would be remiss and cowardly of me to not place most of the blame on my parents and my childhood pastor. My parents are at fault for raising me in the trifecta tradition of attending a dynamic church on Sunday mornings, evenings, and Wednesday nights. I usually enjoyed it, except when the “Wonderful World of Disney” TV program competed with Sunday evening ministries. These were the dark days before DVR or VHS. It was a small church-wound, but not enough to curb my addiction to church.

My father Ken was and still is a deacon at my hometown church in Tyler, Texas. Deacons used to wear snazzy suits when they took the offering. Deacon’s wives, like my mother Bobbie, were way too hot to take the offering, as this would have caused an unreasonable distraction. As an impressionable child, I seriously considered becoming a deacon when I grew up until I realized they weren’t the ones who were spending the money – they were simply collecting and counting it. Boring.

The real action was in the pastorate. My pastor Paul Powell not only wore fancy suits, he always rocked a pocket-square that distinguished him from those boring deacons who never got to spend any of God’s money.

I was a full-blown, out-of-control churchoholic by age sixteen, so I boldly made my intentions clear to Green Acres Baptist Church and have not turned back thirty-three years since. By the way, My Dad and other rogue deacons however, have backslidden to golf shirts, while my mother now wears pants to church. If she starts wearing jeans, I’m going to initiate an intervention.

Since my computer didn’t recognize the term churchoholic, it vainly attempted to change it to the ignoble addiction of a chocoholic (def: a person who is excessively fond of chocolate). If you love the church, but suspect that your love has grown into an unhealthy obsession, consider getting help soon. Here are seven symptoms to love for that will help you to confirm and confront your addiction:

1. You are reading this blog and watching TV at the same time. 2. The show you are watching is ripe with sermon/lesson material. 3. Your wife changed into lingerie during the commercials and you didn’t notice because you were returning “urgent” emails or texts. 4. You are excessively using cheesy church talk outside of church premises. 5. You take it personally when someone doesn’t say, “All the time” when you say, “God is good.” 6. You hear yourself alliterating words in normal conversations. 7. Even if you don’t have seven points, you are reluctant to end with #6 because there are negative spiritual overtones to that number.

Full-blown churchoholics are no doubt anxiously curious by now as to what the real point of this satirical blog is. I actually have three points (you know why):

1. THANK THOSE WHO INFLUENCED YOUR CALL TO THE MINISTRY

I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3-5 HCSB

2. ENCOURAGE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO SHOW AN INTEREST IN MINISTRY

What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2 HCSB

3. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF AND OTHERS

Our mouths were filled with laughter then, and our tongues with shouts of joy. Then they said among the nations, The LORD has done great things for them. Psalms 126:2 HCSB