Bivocational ministry - out of necessity or by choice?

by Bob Dasal

My father became a pastor when I was fourteen years old. There were six children and it was a small church. Daddy was a bivocational pastor by necessity. For decades it was perceived that if you were bivocational you were pastoring a small church and hopefully, with time and experience, you would be called (or assigned) to a "full-time" church. The goal was to be in "full-time" ministry. The problem with many "full-time" positions is they are not "fully-funded." What some churches can afford to pay a pastor, or what they perceive is adequate compensation, is not enough to support a pastor and his family. Some denominations handle this better than others. The congregational in polity churches where pastors are called rather than assigned probably have the larger share of "bivocational" pastors. This reality has sparked a movement advocating "intentional" bivocational ministry. Those preparing to serve in ministry are encouraged to consider how they should prepare themselves for a job as well as a ministry. My dad was pastor of one church for 32 years. His "bivocational" ministry out of necessity was effective. I think he would do it again today, not out of necessity, but by choice. What's your "point of view?"