Bivocational Profile: Papa Pastor

Meet Pastor Aaron. Pastor Aaron is the college ministry pastor at Your Community Church and assists the body by nurturing relationships and spiritual growth within the college and young adult communities. Having cultivated a committed track record over the years, Aaron is finally reaping the fruit of his faithful service.

However, this year, Aaron is having a much harder time delegating ministerial care, overseeing interns, and finding time to provide ministerial awareness and vision to the entire church in light of rookie paternal responsibilities and a more demanding work environment at the digital marketing company in which he serves. With more hours devoted to new work assignments and baby care, Aaron is suddenly struggling to make ends meet as efficiently as he once did.

Granted, Aaron still works with the same kind of integrity, leadership, and stewardship as in seasons past. The problem now is Aaron struggles to find time for the little things…remembering to make certain phone calls, responding to e-mails, making every staff meeting, and following up with team members with whom he’s had to rely more heavily on.

As a result, his students (and their parents) are feeling the early stages of disconnectedness. While Aaron preaches and shows up to personal events whenever he can, the downtick in occurrences, while understandable, is beginning to manifest in lower attendance rates due to the notable drop-off in ministerial effectiveness between Aaron and his subordinates who have stepped up in his place.

Thus, Aaron is starting to wrestle with hopelessness that he can tie loose ends in the face of tighter ultimatums at work and ‘at home’ priorities occupying once-vacant ministry opportunities.

Aaron has a devoted wife who works at a local bakery and thrives ministering alongside him. When he’s not working in church or out, Aaron enjoys hitting the tee at local golf courses as well and the lake on his wakeboard.

Challenges:

  • More time spent on work + family matters = limited availability/in-person interaction with staff/team members/church attendees
  • Has little time to directly develop and mentor
  • Over-reliance on delegating (and forgetfulness to follow-up) leading to cracks in the communicational infrastructure
  • Hopeless and inferiority

Opportunities:

  • Is able to inspire others by a relentless and disciplined work ethic
  • Has stable job to provide for family
  • Brings joy to his family and those within his inner circle watching him grow and mature in new roles
  • Relates better with those in his demographic
  • Is gifted in building meaningful connections with people wherever he’s at

The challenge is real, and so are the opportunities. Do you fit into this profile? What are some other challenges or opportunities you have encountered? Share in the comments below.

Photo credits: Odyssey Online

Rethinking “Bivocational”

For those who’ve been following us the past few years, you’ve probably noticed how I often branch “bivocational” into two camps: those who work multiple secular jobs and those with a gig in the ministerial arena1.

However…in recent months, I’ve begun to question if this approach best captures the contrast.

‘Cause truth is: we’re all ministering something…because we’re all worshipping something.

Or to put it another way…we’re ministering something because somehow, someway (whether we realize it or not) we’re being continually empowered to attend the needs of someone else…whether a co-worker, a boss, a family member, a friend, a loved one, etc.

Now, before I continue, let me clarify this one point: when I say ‘ministerial arena’…I am (more often than not) talking about those who provide full-time or part-time service under the occupational ministry umbrella, but this doesn’t mean I believe other umbrellas are inferior.

Contrarily, I view all callings as unique given what God creates, assigns, and rations is infallible (Galatians 3:28, Genesis 1:27, Acts 10:34). So while the majority of what we discuss may naturally gear itself to those with one foot in a more ecclesiastical door, that doesn’t mean you fail if your feet find themselves on a different foundation2.

You see…I think far too often those in the church, those in ministry tend to pump up their own cause through the mission God has called them to…

…which, to me, represents one of the greatest tragedies not talked about in forums like this.

And while I’m not insecure about people taking prior His Girl Fryday blogs out of context, I still wanted to take time on this beautiful Monday afternoon to autocorrect how I breach bivocational topics in the now…and then.

All that to say…moving forward, when I mention “bivocational”, please know I’m referring to all Jesus-followers as ministers under the covering of 1 Corinthians 4:1-7, 2 Corinthians 3:6, and 2 Corinthians 6:4.

‘Cause when we put them together, we discover…

  • Every Christian is a servant in ministry.
  • Whether we’re consultants, salesman, doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, teachers, journalists, designers…whether we’re a combo platter of diverse professionals and/or have liturgical responsibilities…God has made us sufficient to be ministers of life through His Spirit.
  • By our effort and endurance, we can demonstrate the power of God operating in and through us by reflecting His heart of love, purity, patience, kindness to the lost/broken/backslidden, etc.

So when you think about it, getting caught up in ranking standards with a “This person has more weight because ‘this’…’ …or “That person has it easy because ‘this’…’ attitude makes no sense ‘cause the reality is we all have a calling and a purpose for such a time as this…

…not to mention…

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For me, the real question comes back to: are we being faithful to walk what God has called us to walk…and are we going to do so with an appreciation for the diversity by which God has fashioned us? 

I’ll just let the mic drop there. 😉

So hopefully this ties up some loose ends. If not, feel free to shoot us a comment below…or drop us a personal message if you prefer the confidential route.

At any rate, we’d love to hear from you. ‘Til then, be strengthened, encouraged, and challenged to live as Christ.

Know we’re with you every step of the way.

Footnotes

  1. A fair angle when looking to simplify
  2. After all, we live and grow in stride…and in seasons. Where God has you today may look totally different tomorrow.

Photo creds: challies.com & recyclingchristiandollars.com

Why Part-Time & Bivocational Aren’t the Same Thing

Have you ever wondered why some people associate bivocational with “part-time” or why others relate time to effort?

I know for me, it’s easy to perceive the answers through a marketplace lens; however, when we talk about bivocational ministers, we ultimately discover a new lens altogether.

First off, when I say “part-time” in a ministerial context, I’m referring to pastors who balance multiple “full-time” loads inside and outside the church. The specifics may differ, but in general, a part-time pastor is a bivocational pastor who has accepted two or more vocations.

shutterstock_202214332_0With that said, I strongly believe pastors should never be labeled “part-time” since it’s not possible to limit pastoral responsibilities to 20 hours a week…not to mention the term is widely misunderstood.

Cause truth is: Regardless if a pastor is bivocational or not, every pastor is (or should be) on call 24/7.

True, it may be hard for some to be “on call” depending on their job’s requirements; however, just because a pastor may juggle multiple jobs doesn’t mean he lacks the time or energy to put in a full-time effort at church. Rather, it simply means he has to be resourceful in how he stewards his time, whether investing in rest and family at designated intervals or temporarily sacrificing personal conveniences to develop people and new skill sets.

At the end of the day, whether a minister is bivocational by choice or necessity (i.e. financial limitations and/or a specific seasonal call of God), the point is “part-time” pastors still carry full-time responsibilities.

And in a time when living costs are increasing and church membership is decreasing, the reality is bivocational ministers are becoming more essential in leading the church while modeling its purpose outside of it.

No wonder many bivocational pastors consider their greatest call to be on call regardless of where they’re at.

Stay tuned next time when we’ll dive into a brand new series on bivocational profiles.

Cover photo from www.bivocationalpastor.com and www.sojo.net

4 Ways to Maximize Time Efficiency: Part 1

paperwork-time-efficiency-02-22884394Have you ever wished there were more hours in a day? I know I have…many times, in fact. No doubt, in this day and age, we’re all circus performers, doing our very best to juggle all of life’s responsibilities. Yet, if we’re completely honest with ourselves, we’ll eventually realize how easy it is to hide a lack of discipline behind a love of distraction. True, we may be genuinely busy, but we’d be kidding ourselves if we believed we’re busy all the time. The fact of the matter is: if we look hard enough, we can find golden opportunities in our day to be good stewards of the time given to us. And as we’ll discuss later on, in the case of the bivocational minister, such truth can go a long way in expanding the tent pegs of ministerial effectiveness.

So with that said, here are four ways one can maximize time efficiency…

  1. Create daily/weekly time blocks for quiet time, planning, study…and rest!

Call me “old-school”, but I’m a firm believer in purposeful planning…in carving out set periods of time to plan, prep and soak in the Word. I know, I know. I’m no fun. Psh, whatev. But seriously, we live in a time that tolerates a “go with the flow, pedal to the medal” philosophy. We think if we push hard and fast enough, we’ll get everything done the way we want it. However, the problem with this approach is it’s not a reliable solution. In the long run, such thinking will only lead to skewed priorities, relational frustrations and burnout.

Truth is: If you want to righteously juggle a full load, it’s imperative to employ healthy time-management skills. As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes, there’s a time for everything … but at the end of the day, it’s up to us to use it wisely. By designating daily and/or weekly opportunities for quiet time, planning, studying and rest, you’re ultimately embracing a balanced diet of #smartlifechoices.

  1. Maximize free time.

When it comes to effectively managing multiple agendas, a good place to start is by maximizing free time. As an example, let’s assume a bivocational pastor has a standard day job adhering to labor law guidelines, and thus, grants 60-90 minutes of free time between snack and lunch breaks. Do you think the pastor, in his right mind, would waste such valuable time on social media and Candy Crush Saga? Of course not!

In order to maximize free time, it’s imperative to breathe purpose into inevitable stopping points…from the mandated lunch break to the compulsory bathroom break. For me, often times, the best way to get ahead is to give myself the opportunity to get ahead. And when I slow down enough to thoroughly analyze a typical day’s routine, I find more time gaps exist then I previously thought!

And true, time may seem to fly faster off the clock or on the go; however, don’t let this stop you from effectively maximizing it, whether it’s balancing your checkbook, drafting an important text, making a phone call or outlining a sermon. Truth is: You’ll feel freer when you create more free time with the free time you’ve been given.

So press on, challenge yourself…and don’t allow yourself to be intimated by time restraint. Either way, the goal here is to find appropriate outlets linking the “light-bulb” ideas that surface at work to time blocks (see point #1) set aside to complete them.

Stay tuned next time for “Part 2” where I’ll expound upon my final two points