Bi-vocational pastorates

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by j_barner2000, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. j_barner2000

    j_barner2000
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    I get the impression some folks around here consider Bi-vocational pastors and/or their churches to be second rate.

    In statistics I have heard, there are many pastors and churches that prefer that arangement.

    I know 2 men who have had "good" seminary educations who have spent most if not all of their ministry time as Bi-vocational pastors. They chose to remain in that capacity.

    Is there something wrong with a man who would choose to remain 30 years in a small church in a small community which will likely never become a full time ministry?
     
  2. rlvaughn

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    j_barner, I can't speak for folks around here, but I have gotten the impression through the years that some do seem to count bi-vocational pastors as second rate. I know some pastors who pastor small churches and supplement their incomes teaching in a Bible college or seminary, who consider themselves "full-time" pastors, while considering pastors who pastor small churches and supplement their incomes doing "secular" work as "part-time" pastors.
     
  3. USN2Pulpit

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    Even though I'm bivocational, I always correct people who call me a "part-time" pastor. There's no such thing!
     
  4. FBCPastorsWife

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    AMEN to that!
     
  5. gb93433

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    You are a full time pastor with less than full time pay and benefits.
     
  6. El_Guero

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    So true!
     
  7. guitarpreacher

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    I pastor a church plant, and our launch team made the decision in the beginning that all our staff would be volunteer and all our financial resources would go toward ministry and building up the church. I'm sure there will come a time when we'll need to change that, but so far it's working pretty good, and God blessed me with the perfect job for this arrangement. Anyone who thinks that makes me a part time pastor should take a look at my cell phone bill.
     
  8. blackbird

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    I've always been a full-time pastor but down through the years I have learned that I need a "mentor" in the ministry!! My mentor is a Bi-vocational pastor---I love the fella as if he were my dad---and he's much more knowledgeable than I am, to boot!!!

    Its not a crime to be full time---neither is it a crime to be bi-vocational!!!
     
  9. bruren777

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    A Bi-vocational pastor is NOT a part time pastor. I've known Bi-vocational pastors and none of them were part time pastors. Their heart was in the ministry 24/7, even when they were in the other vocation.

    They study for their sermon like other pastors, they call on members of the flock whom are ill or need to discuss certain things with the pastor.

    In a small church with not enough members to pay the pastor a large enough wage to support the pastor and his family, the pastor will have another vocation to supplement his income.
     
  10. SeekingTruth

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    I am not a pastor, having never felt the call of God to go into the ministry in any fashion other than as deacon and SS teacher. However, it seems that the calling to the ministry as a pastor is far more than another "vocation". The term "bi-vocational" has always bothered me as being somehow demeaning. I have one question (keep in mind I am not a pastor, and may be out of line here) but whence cometh the term "bi-vocational".

    If a man is called by God, ordained into the ministry and called by a church to be its pastor, then that is what he is, regardless of any other jobs or positions he may hold.

    God bless all who are called to pastor whether they be "part time", "full time" or any other time. Those so called deserve our respect, even though we may at times disagree on matters of intepretation.
     
  11. Brother Ian

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    Seeking Truth,

    I'm certain God did not call anyone to be a "part time" pastor. As others have said, there is no such thing. The pastor who works a second vocation does so to supplement his income, not because God has called him into another job.

    Miriam Webster says vocation means, "a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action; especially: a divine call to the religious life b: an entry into the priesthood or a religious order 2a: the work in which a person is regularly employed." Their primary vocation, if you will, is that of a pastor.

    If you were to document the hours a bi-vocational pastor spends doing pastoral work versus his other job, I think you'd find the majority of his hours are spent involved in the work of the ministry. Most bi-vocational pastors actually are "full-time" pastors getting paid a part time salary. That has nothing to do with their calling, ability, or proficiency as a pastor.

    God bless bi-vocational pastors. With them, many churches would be without a shepherd.
     
  12. untangled

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    I definitely have all the respect in the world for bi-vocational pastors. Praise God my small church supports me with full-time wages (supplemented with a parsonage). I don't make alot but that's not what I'm here for. I have enough time to study for my sermons and call upon our shut-in. My church is about 50 strong and growing (slowly). I enjoy pastoring a smaller church. H

    However, bi-vocational pastors amaze me at their dedication. I do not know if I could deliver two sermons and one study a week. Sunday morning sermon has to be - 30-35 minutes long. Sunday night about 35-40 minutes and Wednesday it needs to be around 40 minutes or so. That is for right now while I'm organizing the services. They were without a pastor for a long time so needless to say there is a little work to do but I have so many helpers. I would do it bi-vocationally but praise God I can do it full-time.

    Hey, there's nothing wrong at all with pastors having another job.
     
  13. SeekingTruth

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    Brothers,

    I did not mean to sound as if I were trying to be-little bi-voc pastors. If I did, my most humble apologies to all. I was simply trying to show my tremendous respect and admiration for them by maintaining that they are as much Pastor as any other, and should not be put into a different category.
     
  14. dh1948

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    I have never pastored bi-vocationally. Not saying it won't ever happen, but I believe God called me to be a vocational pastor, i.e., my only vocation is that of a pastor.

    In the state of Alabama the majority of SBC churches are served by bi-vocational pastors. I don't sense there being an attitude that they are second-rate pastors. A few years back our state convention had a president who was bi-vocational...a truck driver, I believe.

    One thing I have run across is the statement that churches pastored by bi-vocational pastors are "part-time" churches. I don't agree with that statement. I have always assumed that "part-time" churches are those that hold services less frequently than weekly. At the same time, the term "part-time" just doesn't fit a church. If it is only a "part-time" church, what is it the rest of the time?

    Obviously, in most cases, bi-vocational pastors cannot respond to some pastoral situations that may arise while he is working his secular job. That could be good in some cases!

    I have a high regard for most bi-vocational pastors. I don't see how they get it all done...work a secular job 40 hours per week, prepare two to three sermons each week, not to mention the other pastoral duties. It must take a special call from God.

    Recently I had a conversation with a bi-vocational pastor in which I asked him to tell me his experience of being called to the ministry. His reply was that he was a layman at a church and was asked to speak at another church for a Sunday or two. He said he did, the people liked him, and called him to be their pastor. He never indicated that God had called him to ministry. I'm not sure what to make of that.

    Anyway, my hat is off to my bi-vocational pastor friends. They are a blessing to the work of the Kingdom.
     
  15. gb93433

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    The facts show that typically the church pastored by a bi-vocational pastor grows faster than one which is not. In a church with a bi-vocational pastor the people work harder too. They expect more of themselves and less of their pastor.
     
  16. dh1948

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    Please give your reference source for the statement "the facts show that the church pastored....grows faster...." ?

    I am not doubting what you are saying. It's just that I have never seen these "facts."

    In my neck of the woods, it would certainly not be a true statement. Most of the churches here that have bi-vocational pastors are as dead as last year's bird nest.
     
  17. gb93433

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    I regularly heard those from the SBC when I was pastoring up until recently. Most new church plants grow at a rate of 50 percent each year being pastored by bi-vocational pastors.
     
  18. Dr. Bob

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    I've been both (18 years a full time pastor and almost 18 years bi-vocational) and to be honest, would love to be "full time" pastor.

    Let's face it, not having to work 20 hours a week at a secular job means 20 hours for ministry.

    My new church plant in 2004 gave $200 a month for expenses and was 180 mile round trip; our new church plant this year is in town and gives $800 a month for expenses. I receive no salary.

    If I didn't work outside, I could not support my family. So am thankful for ministry outside of the church realm.

    BTW, our here in Wyoming the new church plants are extremely slow-growing (unless another church in the area is having a split or folks don't like the pastor) and it takes 5-8 years to get to the point of supporting a man full-time.
     
  19. dh1948

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    gb, you still have not provided me with any specific references. I am SBC and have never heard nor read any statistics that prove churches with bi-vocational pastors grow faster than those with vocational pastors.

    I question your statement about new church plants growing at 50% per year being pastored by bi-vocational pastors. If some new church plants do grow rapidly it is probably because they are new, not because of having a bi-vocational pastor.

    My intent is not to argue, but I am very interested in the validity of the statements you have presented and would like to see some specific proof.
     
  20. USN2Pulpit

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    Not sure about this statement! [​IMG] Sometimes, expectations can be unreasonably high. I wish I could visit more, and so do they!
     

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