The Christian internet was full of dustups this week, largely concerning the continued tension between faith and doubt, theism and atheism. If you’d like to check out those conversations, you can start here and here.
But there were also a great and generative conversation started about the practices of bivocational ministry and the future of church leadership. Both culture and church are changing rapidly as is the role of pastor/Christian leader, with bivocational ministry becoming a reality for more pastors and leaders.
Three helpful voices each spoke to different aspects of the challenges and nuances of bivocational leadership.
Zach Hoag writes about the staying power of the Institution:
How can a rooted, missional, redemptive kingdom presence emerge in this cultural space that is also connected, ordered, accountable, and sustainable? How can a shalom-filled ministry take root in a parish that is also experiencing unity within a larger body in a healthy way? Truly missional ministry will certainly mean a departure from corrupt, self-obsessed, and bloated economies. And it may mean bivocational ministry in part-time and volunteer capacities.
Scott Emery asks how bivocational minsistry plays out in non-majority contexts:
Sushi maker at a grocery store. Educator within the prison system. Public school counselor. These are just a few of the jobs I can list off the top of my head that belong to non-majority pastors I’m acquainted with. For them and many others, having a second job isn’t something they sought out because of its current appeal. No, for them it is life. There is not another way of being rooted in their contexts in true incarnational ways outside of working outside of the church.
And Chris Morton debunks three straw-man arguments he’s seen used to defend bivocational ministry from his own experience as a bivocational leader:
I’m not for or against bi-vocational ministry, but I am opposed to any elitism that may accompany it. It is important that we humbly seek God’s calling in our situation. Many criticisms used by fans of this approach are actually criticisms of theology, strategy and ecclesiology, not arguments against paid ministry positions.
What do you think?
How has your leadership adapted to new forms of being church?
Have you seen bivocational ministry leadership increasing in your context?
If you are a bivocational pastor, what’s one lesson or healthy practice you’d want to share with others?