Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

As the economy continues to stretch budgets, more churches are turning to bivocational pastors—those who hold a second job in addition to ministering—to meet their needs.

According to Ray Gilder, national coordinator for the Southern Baptist Bivocational and Small Church Leadership Network, bivocational pastors play a crucial role in the church by ministering to churches that can’t afford full-time pastors, and their numbers are growing.

Gilder, who was meeting with bivocational pastors at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting last week in Orlando, Fla., told USA Today that about half of Southern Baptist churches currently rely on bivocational ministers. Almost all of these are small churches, often in out-of-the-way places that don’t get the spotlight.

Many of these preachers had already established careers when they felt called to ministry. Andy Courtney, pastor of Bledsoe Creek Baptist Church in Bethpage, Tenn., has been a truck driver for 16 years and a pastor for 4-1/2 years.

"I drive a truck to pay the bills," he said, "but my job, my calling, is the pastorate."

But with the tough job market for pastors, Gilder is also telling young pastors looking for their first jobs to be prepared for bivocational ministry. He tells them to make sure they have a marketable skill that will allow them to take ministry positions that may not be full time.

Many of these pastors do not consider their positions to be temporary, though. Bivocational ministry has a biblical precedent in Paul, who built tents in addition to preaching and starting churches.

"Bivocational ministry is a calling," said Bo Brown, who works for the Social Security administration in addition to his role as pastor of Community Baptist Church in Maylene, Ala. "It's not something that you do until your church gets bigger and you don't have to do it anymore." [usatoday.com, 6/20/10]

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • Don't bring your sermons in for a crash landing.

    4 Terrible Ways to Close a Sermon

    People need an opportunity to respond to the Word of God.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders