Four Reasons Full Time Pastors Should Consider Being Bi-vocational
Being in full time ministry is not as glamorous as reality television portrays. While this is not a clarion call for senior leaders to abandon their full time ministry to apply for another job, it is a strong hint to explore additional revenue streams. The Western perspective of church and ministry is evolving right before our eyes, and it may be in the best interest of ministry leaders to not depend solely upon the offerings of parishoners for financial stability .
Many senior leaders desire to transition into full-time ministry, which is a godly desire. Pastoring is a such a fulfilling and worthy endeavor and deserves to be honored (1 Timothy 5:18). In 1 Cornithians 9:4-8; 18, The apostle Paul even declares it a pastor’s right and it's also a right he willingly refused to claim at times (1 Cor. 9:12). These scriptural examples demonstrates there may be seasons when we will need to look for provision outside the church.
1. Being bi-vocational will open up endless opportunities to make disciples.
Pastors can get caught up in their sanctified social clubs that they forget the fruit that comes with evangelism. Remember, God did not call any pastor to build their church, God calls pastors to build HIS church.
2. Full time pastors can be financially draining on smaller congregations.
There are many men of God who desire to be in full time ministry for the idea of financial stability. While larger churches can afford to financially support the pastor (and his or her family), smaller congregations may not be able to offer that type of financial stability. Putting pressure on church members to meet personal financial needs can also cause a relational strain and even lead to a decrease of membership. Pastors that choose to acquire an additional job lessen the possibility of the relational strain and it also establishes financial independence (which may be needed if there are any impromptu lifestyle changes).
3. The digital world offers flexible jobs.
There are endless ways a person can work from home or even start their own business online. It’s easy to turn a hobby into a source of income, which can generate an endless revenue. Go back to your own vision boards and see if your place of prosperity could be locked up in an abandoned dream!
4. Bi-vocational pastors have a greater skill set.
Many full-time pastors have never worked outside of vocational ministry, which limits their multi-facetedness outside of worship service. Bi-vocational pastors will acquire a skill set that will benefit their congregation, especially in the area of business and organizational culture. Keep in mind that parishoners need more than a sermon every week to be sustainable. The skills that the bi-vocational pastor will acquire will increase the vitality of the church and also create room for innovation within the congregation.
In conclusion, being bi-vocational may not be answer to every pastor’s financial struggle, but it does have many added benefits. There is a growing trend of marketplace pastors who serve in the workplace and in their various congregations. The harvest is indeed plentiful – and the harvest is also outside the four walls of the church.
Let me hear your perspective on bi-vocational ministry. Do you foresee more American pastors becoming bi-vocational?