Why bivocational? (Shared responsibility)

What will church look like in the future? Culture’s changing, the world is changing. How will it affect the church?

I’m sure of a few things. One: We’ll always have something that looks like what we have now. Two: If the church is going to resist becoming a marginalized, non-influential part of society, other models must continue to take root to connect with new parts of the population.

I think one piece of that transition will be a move toward more bivocational ministry. Some people see that as disappointing – a loss of something. I see it as a good thing, and over the next few posts, I’d like to share a few (ok, about six) reasons why.

This isn’t meant to bash what “is.” There are a number of churches I really respect that are built on a more traditional model. But we need all types of churches to reach all types of people, and I’m being pulled in a different direction – one that looks more like a network of small groups or house churches that gathers together periodically. To be a part of that model, I think you have to be bivocational.

I’ll say it again. I’m on the front end of this thing. I’m thinking about it because I’m doing it now and plan to continue on this path. I don’t have all the answers. But here’s where my thoughts are right now on why bivocational ministry is important…

1. It says we’re all responsible

When you remove the idea of a “professional Christian,” it means that we’re all responsible for learning, caring, and serving. There’s no professional for the hospital visits, so we’re all responsible for sharing the care for others. There’s no professional to study the Bible, so we’re all responsible for digging in and gaining insights. There’s no professional to decide what needs to happen in the community, so we’re all responsible for opening our eyes and carrying on conversations with our neighbors. We’re all doing this with jobs and lives, so it means we have to stay tuned into people’s gifts and allow people to minister and serve each other where they best fit and have gifting, knowledge, and experience.

What are your thoughts? I’ll share more in a couple of days…

This is the first in a multi-part series on bivocational ministry. Read the rest of the posts here:

Why bivocational? Shared responsibility

Why bivocational? Money goes to ministry

Why bivocational? A good kind of messy

Why bivocational? It’s sustainable

Why bivocational? You’re not special

Why bivocational? You can’t do it alone

6 responses to “Why bivocational? (Shared responsibility)”

  1. This is a really intersting topic to ponder. In the past, when I think about bi-vocational pastors, I have felt sorry for them in a way – that they are not able to 100% focus on the ministry they feel called to because they need to earn money to take care of their family. In many ways that lies in conflict with my belief that (too often) there are not enough lay minsters in the church that are actively taking care of the body and doing ministry – because they think that is what paid church staff is for. A bi-vocational pastor model might help a local body see that living a minsterial life is possible, even when it is not your 8-5 paid vocation…

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