Recently I had lunch with some fellow bivocational pastors and we were talking about the privileges of double-duty ministry. It was an extremely encouraging conversation, and how I wish all bivocational pastors could have been there for the uplifting fellowship.
Although being a bivocational minister can be physically and emotionally tiring, if a person is healthy, strong, and determined there are tremendous rewards to bivocational ministry. Here are some of the benefits of being a bivocational pastor.
There is more money for ministry in the local church.
Since the congregation does not have to pay a full salary to the pastor, there is more money for some of the nicer, extra things of ministry. Building repairs, mission trips, and new ministry projects become possible when a church is not using as much money on paying the pastor.
There is more money for the bivocational pastor's family.
Working a second job brings a second salary. Consequently, the bivocational pastor is able to better support his family. This gives his family greater financial security.
The bivocational pastor has a better understanding of popular culture.
Working in a non-Christian atmosphere helps the bivocational minister be more understanding of society. This kind of cultural awareness makes the bivocational pastor more authentic and believable as a minister.
Since the bivocational pastor works in the marketplace he has numerous opportunities to minister for Jesus Christ.
Unlike the fully-funded pastor, the bivocational pastor is on the mission-field when he goes to work. Everyday he is a witness for Jesus Christ.
Since the bivocational pastor gets most of his salary from outside the church, he is more likely to be courageous in his ministry.
The fully-funded pastor has to be careful about disturbing the power-brokers in the church because his livelihood is at stake. With no purse strings attached, the bivocational pastor tends to be more confident in his leadership and more prophetic in the pulpit.
The bivocational pastor has greater freedom to follow God's call.
Since the tent-making pastor is able to support his family without the congregation's help, it doesn't matter how much or how little a prospective church may offer. The bivocational pastor can afford to go wherever the Lord leads regardless of finances.
The bivocational pastor is better able to delegate ministry.
Church members know they cannot expect their bivocational pastor to do all the work of the ministry with his limited schedule. They realize they have to help with the ministry and are more likely to serve when asked.
So pastor, the next time you are exhausted and wishing you had a fully-funded position, do two things: Get some rest and then review these benefits of bivocational ministry. Don't be so quick to covet a fully-funded status. See the positive side of your role. Be thankful for the ministry God has given you.