Bivocational Ministry is Not Negative

Due to a lack of understanding, people will occasionally refer to bivocational pastors as part-time pastors, a misnomer because all pastors are on call twenty-four hours a day. Therefore, there are no actual part-time pastors. There are a number of full-time pastors who are only being partially compensated for their work and therefore have to seek additional employment in order to support their families. Do not insult a bivocational pastor by referring to him as part-time. He deserves more respect than that from the people he serves and from his fully-funded peers.

Though some people may misunderstand this special calling to bivocational ministry, it is a calling that the early church knew well. The Apostle Paul was bivocational. Down through the centuries there have always been bivocational ministers. Sometimes the percentage of bivocational pastors has been higher, and sometimes lower. This has resulted in many waves of bivocational ministry ebbing and flowing as the situation dictated. The wave of bivocationalism that is currently sweeping North America is a combination of a general weakening economy, a lack of stewardship commitment within the churches and a new understanding of the importance of bivocational ministry.

Small churches need good pastors. Many of those pastors will likely be bivocational. Those bivocational leaders must train the people in the church to assist them in ministry so that they will not burn out. I felt so strongly about this that I wrote a book called, Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church. The book was published by Crossbooks, a division of Lifeway. Though it is only one tool that might be used to help address this growing need in North America, I believe it is a tool that can be very effective. I hope to develop other tools in the future that might help pastors in small churches be as effective as possible in building the Kingdom of God. We must value and appreciate the pastors of our small churches. If we cannot pay them the money they deserve, let us at least pay them the respect they deserve.

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~ by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett on October 30, 2010.

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