Chuck Lawless suggests bivocational ministers are often more connected to non-believers.
“I didn’t come to seminary to be a bivocational minister, to have to get another kind of job,” my student told me. I may not have agreed with my student, but I did understand his thinking. Back then (almost 15 years ago), we weren’t talking much about bivocational ministries.
Now, that conversation has shifted. Pastors are beginning to embrace as their primary calling the role of bivocational minister. Some even intend to remain bivocational regardless of the size of their church as it grows. If the Lord were to call me into a bivocational church role, here is why I would gladly follow His leading.
- Bivocational ministers serve the church without being dependent on them for income. I affirm full-time pastors; in fact, I served full-time for 14 years. Further, I do not want even to hint that being dependent on a congregation for salary somehow leads to compromise. Nevertheless, I do suspect there is some freedom in leading a congregation that does not pay the bulk of your salary.
- Bivocational ministers are often more connected to non-believers. No full-time pastor I know wants to be disconnected from people who need to hear the gospel, but that separation happens. Unless they intentionally fight against it, full-time pastors can be cocooned in the church world. Bivocational leaders can be equally cocooned, of course, but their work outside the church at least provides a roadblock to that process.
- Bivocational ministers lead churches that often have a higher percentage of funds available for ministry and missions. In most churches with full-time staff, the largest percentage of their budget goes toward personnel. Funds for doing ministry are often lacking. The church that has fewer personnel commitments, though, can free dollars to reach their neighbors and the nations.