Since being bivocational is a challenging lifestyle in any vocation, why would any pastor be bivocational?  Here are few reasons:

1.  Intentionally Bivocational

Frequently a pastor is led by God to be intentionally “bivocational.”  He is convinced that this is his calling – to serve only as a bivocational pastor. In fact, these pastors are so certain of this that they may refuse to continue to serve in a church that has grown enough to fully fund them as pastor.   They will simply resign and find another small church where they can serve bivocationally. There are intentional bivocational pastors who serve in   churches that can fully fund them as pastor but they remain “bivocational” even while the other staff minister(s) is fully funded.

2Out of Necessity

     Often a pastor is led to a church that cannot (or will not) provide enough income to financially meet his family’s needs.  This leads him to find another job so he can continue to serve where he feels God has led him.

3.  A Church’s Pastoral Needs

Often a pastor is willing to serve so a small church can have a pastor. He feels that all churches deserve and should each have a pastor.  He is concerned that “pastorless” churches will not become all that God wants His churches to be.

4.  Paul’s Example

Like the Apostle Paul, frequently a pastor will refuse to be a financial burden to a very small church family.  His desire is to follow Paul’s example and financially support himself, so then his ministry focus can be preaching, pastoral care and witnessing in the marketplace.  He wants to allow his church to be financially able to invest more of its monetary resources in missions and church ministries,

5.  Investment of His Life

A pastor may desire to invest his life ministry into something eternal, like a small church which he knows may never be a fully-funded church.  His investment is simply to serve the Lord’s church regardless of size and financial ability.

6.  Called Later in Life

    Often the God’s call to serve as a pastor in a church comes later in life after he has established a successful career that provides well for his family’s needs.  He will serve a small church knowing that God’s provisions, through his established career, will be enough to care for family necessities.

7.  Insufficiently Challenged

    Sometimes a pastor may go to a small, rural church that can only moderately fully fund his family needs.  He finds that the ministry is so small that he does not feel sufficiently challenged.  He may find that a second job can be beneficial in at least two ways: (1) More adequately meet his family’s financial needs and (2) Keep him busy so as not grow lazy.  But to do this, it is extremely important to remember that a second job must be acceptable to the church membership (after all they feel they called a fully-funded pastor) and it must not cut into his pastoral duties.  He must remember in this type of situation that his church work must be his priority.

Chip Smith

Chip Smith

State Missionary Chip Smith has been employed by the State Board of Missions since May 2007 and is currently an associate in the Office of LeaderCare & Church Administration.
Chip and his wife Elise, are members at Prattmont Baptist Church, Prattville. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Chip Smith

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