Generally speaking a Bivocational minister is one who has a paid church position as well as, at least, one other paid job. Included in the term are many retired ministers who willingly serve small churches. He does not have to do for a local church what he does, but is moved to do it by the purest and highest motivation possible – God’s calling on his life. The Bivocational are not just pastors, but also music, youth, and education ministers and even Associational Directors of Missions. For the purposes of this booklet, the term “Bivocational” will primarily refer to pastors.
“Bivocational churches” are much harder to determine. Many do not think of their church as “Bivocational” because they see their pastor as their “full-time” pastor. They do not define their church according to the pastor’s other vocation. They assume that if they meet every Sunday for Bible study and worship, they are a full-time church.
So how many churches in Alabama are “Bivocational?” A rough guesstimate would be about 54% according to the annual church reports. And that percentage is growing. Actually, it would be much more than that if you count the churches with various Bivocational positions. It may well be more like 90%. Needless to say, Bivocational ministers and churches make up the majority of Alabama Baptist churches and ministers. Although they may be in the background, they are indispensable.
It is my hope that this little essay can shed some light on this work so it is not a mystery any longer. I hope it will be an encouragement and support to those seeking bivocational church positions and churches considering having a bivocational minister. This ministry needs to be exposed and appreciated by all.
Chip Smith – full bio
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