Again, keep in mind that I apologized on Monday for a few of my posts this week:)That being said, what I have to say about being a bivocational pastor may cause some disagreement. I might get an e-mail or two and that’s O.K. as long as it makes you think. Of course this post is directed towards fellow pastors, but hopefully if you’re not a pastor you will get an insight into my warped mind.A Bivocational pastor is one who works a separate job outside of the church, either by choice (not usually the case) or by necessity to make ends meet. I have been on both sides of the fence, being a full-time church staff member for a number of years and being currently bivocational. Here are some of my thoughts…
- Bivocational pastoring is difficult. I think just the word bivocational scares off many “pastors”. “It seems like we don’t have enough time to do what we need to do now”, I’ve heard. “I can’t imagine being bivocational. That would be too difficult.” Difficult isn’t a bad thing. No where in the Bible does God call us to comfort (except in Him). I think that many pastors (esp. the American church) are too comfortable. Conference this week, lunch meeting today, Study for 10 hours, blog for a bit, surf the internet….you know the drill. Bivocational pastoring doesn’t allow for this ease of scheduling.
- Bivocational pastoring is more relational. So many pastors spend so much time in the office, or studying that they don’t spend time with people. Especially lost people. Most of their people time is spent with church people. I dare say many pastors don’t have any nonchristian friends, or any meaningful friendships outside of their church or other pastors. Do we need those relationships? Yes, but it isn’t enough. Bivocational pastoring opens those doors for relationships outside of those church walls.
- Bivocational pastoring is misunderstood. It’s almost as if those who are in “full-time” ministry look at those who are bivocational as second class ministers (just a personal observation). It’s as if they feel that you aren’t good enough at what you do to be “full-time”. It’s as if being “full-time” means you’ve arrived.
- Bivocational pastoring is Biblical. Find in the Bible where it says to pay the church leadership at all. It’s not in there. And don’t give me the whole, “worthy of double honor” business, because that passage is dealing with respect and honor not finances. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily think that being paid by the church is wrong…I get paid, but it’s just not something that is necessarily Biblical. On a side note, I really feel that the reason that many churches struggle or aren’t seeing God work is that the ministry can be a breeding ground for lazy people looking for an easy paycheck. If this is not you, no need to be offended!
I don’t want to come across as angry that pastors get paid full-time, and some are paid very well. I just want to get at the heart of the matter. It’s all about the heart. What I am about to say is pretty bold, but I believe it and I hope that it causes you as a pastor to examine yourself (believe me I’ve examined myself).
If you aren’t willing to do what you are doing without taking a dime from the church, you aren’t called to ministry.
That’s right, I said it. If you are not willing to not only lay down your life for the sheep but your paycheck I don’t feel your vision is from God and you aren’t called to ministry. When you are called to ministry, you are miserable doing anything but, and you would do it for free in a heartbeat…no questions asked. I’ve said it on this blog before and I’ll say it again, I’d do this thing for free (and I have for many years) and if our church can’t afford to support me full-time or part-time then I would gladly forgo my salary. What about you? Are you willing to do what you do for free? Are you willing to be bivocational our are you too comfortable in the “full-time” position you are in?
O.K., I’m off my soapbox now, but I’m passionate about this and I really don’t mean to upset anyone, just to make you think.