Bivocational Ministers

Bivocational Ministry seems self-defining. Yet it is a mystery to many in the church. When I think of Bivocational minsters, I’m reminded of a U.S. Marine Corps commercial I’ve seen often on TV. Applying the ad to these ministers, I think of “The Few . . . The Proud . . . The Bivocational.” Like the Marines, they are dedicated to their task; they are up to the task; they are trained to execute and complete the task, and they will get the job done! Without them, most small, rural churches would be leaderless and possibly give up and close their doors. Churches need pastors; pastors need churches.

Who They Are:

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”

“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.

How Many:

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.

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