Benefits of bivocational ministry (via Thom Rainer)

I have recently started following Thom Rainer’s blog and podcasts. His most recent podcast is on the topic of bivocational ministry (check it out here). He lists several benefits, which are quite similar to a list I wrote back in 2012. Here’s Thom’s list:

  1. A secular or marketplace job will put you in the middle of culture on a regular basis.
  2. Full-time pastors and church staff often get missionally stale in their “holy huddles.”
  3. Smaller churches are increasingly unable to afford full-time pastors or staff.
  4. The digital world is offering more opportunities for flexible secular jobs than ever.
  5. More churches are moving toward multiple teaching/preaching pastors.
  6. More churches would like to expand staff, but don’t have the resources to do so.
  7. A bivocational pastor or church staff can have greater freedom than a person in a full-time role.
  8. A bivocational pastor or staff person has transferrable skills.

I am often asked “Do you plan on going full-time?” or “When are you going to go full time?” And, for the first year or two of my ministry that was my stated goal. However, as I have stayed in it I have come to see bi-vocational ministry as a type of calling, specifically because of the reasons Thom mentioned in his podcast. I will consider full-time ministry in the future if the church could afford it and needed more pastoral support, but it is no longer a “goal” for my ministry future.

If you’re thinking about going into ministry I recommend considering bivocational ministry. It’s not for everyone in every circumstance but is worthy of consideration.