1. Bivocational ministers are overworked and under paid.
It’s not hard to agree that all bivocational ministers are overworked. Anyone in any profession who has two “full-time” jobs will be over worked. Because bivocational pastors are viewed as full-time pastors by their churches and, in many situations, the other job may be full-time as well, the pastors must face this situation head-on. They must deal with it seriously and deliberately to set aside some time off. Burning the candle at both ends causes the candle to burnout prematurely. Bivocational ministry can be accomplished, but those who are most effective at it have learned to pace themselves.
The “other job” may pay well for the work done, but the pastorate probably will not. Yes, there may be exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, bivocational pastors serve small to very small churches that can’t pay much. The pastor may be giving more in his tithes and offerings to the church than he gets paid by the church. It’s a fact that if churches had to pay their pastors by the hour, they couldn’t afford to have them.
2. Bivocational ministers are vital to the advancement of God’s Kingdom.
As mentioned previously, more than half of the churches would probably go out of business because they would be pastorless without the ministry of bivocational pastors. Great areas of rural population would lack the proclamation of the Gospel and the ministries of a local church.
3. Bivocational ministers are the very fiber of the Alabama Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention.
This is not an overstatement. These ministers are the moral fiber of our conventions. Their character and market place witness add strength, integrity and credibility to our cooperative ministries. Why are they the fiber? Those pastors currently serving in bivocational church positions out- number those who are fully-funded. Interestingly most currently fully-funded ministers have been in bivocational ministry at some point in their church service. Without the bivocational ministry, our conventions would be in a deficient in the area of our influence of our mission to the lost.
4. Bivocational ministers are “heroes” by definition.
“Hero” is a word that is easily used in modern culture. In fact it is used so often in seemingly trivial matters, that it’s almost lost its true meaning. As a current saying goes, “If everyone is a hero then no one is a hero.”
What is the definition of a hero? The dictionary gives several definitions but the ones that seem to apply here are: “a person admired for contribution to a particular field,” and a person “admired for bravery, great deeds or noble qualities.” A current cultural definition may be found in comic books, TV, and movies and described as “super heroes.” All “super heroes” seem to do the same thing – they come to the rescue of a person in danger or to save the world from a perilous situation.
All of the above definitions can apply to bivocational ministers, especially the last one. Imagine a small, weak church that is in peril and in danger of shutting down its ministry. Then suddenly, as a gift from God, a bivocational minister comes to the rescue, leading the helpless, little church back to effective ministry through God’s strength and guidance.
Certainly bivocational ministers are “real heroes” by God’s definition and in the lives of so many small churches.
Chip and his wife Elise, are members at Prattmont Baptist Church, Prattville. They have two children and three grandchildren.