Bivocational Profile: The Bivocational Pastor…Like My Father Before Me

Meet Pastor Wes. Pastor Wes is the children’s pastor at Your Community Church. He shepherds the K-6th grade population, assists the youth pastor with special events, and occasionally leads worship for various small group functions.

Without question, Pastor Wes loves his role and pursues it with steadfast devotion.

Yet, despite his contagious passion, Pastor Wes carries the unique distinction of not only being a BPK (i.e. bivocational pastor’s kid), but the son of the senior pastor as well.

In light of this, Pastor Wes often feels he doesn’t measure up, especially with respect to his dad. In addition, he feels overlooked, burdened by the weight of other people’s expectations, and discouraged by an increasing lack of edification.

the-struggles-of-a-pastors-kidFurthermore, Wes finds it hard to connect to his peers and other staff due, in part, to “last name association” with the senior pastor. Some church congregants even go as far to criticize Wes for his father’s actions, while others intentionally ignore him as a passive means to avoid confrontation.

However, none of this is new to Wes, having grown up with the PK label his entire life. Internally calloused yet perseverant, Wes questions his path as one regularly  torn between home church allegiance and his dream to escape the shallow stereotypes of his surroundings.

With a limited church salary, Wes supports his family by working part-time as a barista and an online tutor/teacher at a local homeschool tutorial. When he’s not ministering to young people, Wes enjoys spending time with his wife and dog, running insanely long distances to stay in shape, and playing soccer at a local recreational league.

Challenges: 

  • The PK label – often feels neglected, judged or both.
  • Not given opportunities to shine due to senior pastor’s fear of showing favoritism.
  • Lack of encouragement and communication with other staff assuming he gets enough of this from his family.
  • Lack of connectedness with the rest of the body.
  • Doesn’t feel grace to grow.
  • Often feels invisible.

Opportunities:

  • Finds strength in overcoming on a daily basis.
  • Is driven to depend on God for identity and purpose.
  • Is gifted in helping others struggling in the same boat.
  • Character constantly refined by “in church” challenges.

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: christianpost.com & ungrind.org

Coping with the “Part-Time Perception”: Part 2

Last time, we laid some introductory groundwork as to how a bivocational minister can rightfully deal with the ‘part-time label’, whether it’s with the stigma itself or the actual process of juggling multiple responsibilities.

Today, we’re going to discuss the first way a part-time pastor can shatter this stereotype without compromise.

But just as a quick prelude before we dig deeper into the matter, granted I’m probably getting ahead of myself here…

…regardless of the strategies discussed, the one thing a bivocational minister must do is be intentional about loving people. Because without love, it’s impossible for any gameplan to succeed…for any agenda to be prioritized righteously, whether inside or outside the church.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Psh, c’mon, Cam! Easier said than done. Besides, in today’s world, it’s completely unrealistic to expect a part-time minister to be available and visible at all the right times.”

Granted, I’m not trying to be legalistic or unreasonable in my approach.

However, I am suggesting that in order to properly cope with the part-time label, a minister must be willing to die to what men think and expect. ‘Cause at the end of the day, what matters most is consistent obedience working in tandem with love. So if the bivocational minister pursues his assignments faithfully, then God will surely break through and bring to life the light and fruit necessary to impact the saints, as well as the lost.

Thus, the first way a part-time pastor can buck the ‘PT’ label is to die…and in doing so, establish a rhythm of healthy prioritizing by making time to love.

Internally (i.e. “reaching in”), this can be accomplished by keeping select hours open for counseling and staff mentoring, setting daily/weekly times to pray and serve members of the congregation (whether through hospital trips, random acts of kindness or simply engaging their interests) and celebrating notable milestones with staff.

Externally (i.e. “reaching out”), this can be accomplished by regularly participating in Isaiah 58-type ministries, serving in community outreaches outside the church, building community networks and knowing, praying…even teaming with key political leaders.

Of course, there’s much more we could tag on, as this list is only the tip of the ministerial iceberg.

At any rate, the opportunities for a minister to influence by love, whether it’s listening, caring, praying or simply being available, are endless. And yes, I know it can be difficult to find time…but at the end of the day, love needs to a transparent platform to be effective. So if you regularly find yourself lacking the time, ask the Lord to not only help you refine your priorities, but how much time should be devoted to each individual priority.

Speaking of refining priorities, next time, we’ll talk about how bivocational ministers can model efficient time management skills to church members and staff, using their part-time status as an efficient template.

Coping with the “Part-Time Perception”: Part 1

Let’s be honest.

We don’t look at part-time ministers the same way we look at full-time ministers.

Not like it’s hard to see why…considering most people assume what a part-time pastor lacks, whether time, energy, availability or a M. Div, ultimately handicaps a church.

But truth is: while many invest in the idea that a church’s functionality, effectiveness and spiritual authenticity is tied to religious qualifications and reputation…this couldn’t be further from the truth.

And while it can be difficult for a part-timer to deal with the stereotypes, there are ways to cope with them in holy fashion.

For instance, a part-time minister can…

  • Demonstrate healthy prioritizing by making time to love people (internally through staff mentoring and externally through Isaiah 58-type ministries).
  • Model efficient time management skills to church members and staff.
  • Exercise honest leadership to motivate effective conflict and executive/administrative management.
  • Lay an ignitable foundation for compassion and conviction to occur among the congregation.
  • Teach believers how to be effective disciple-makers in occupational settings.

Of course, there are other strategies and approaches that can be utilized.

But at any rate, it’s important for bivocational and/or part-time ministers to not look down on their calling, just because it doesn’t fit a certain mold or look like what the church world says it should.

Thus, in the months ahead, we will discuss four ways a bivocational minister can rightfully deal with the ‘part-time perception’, whether it’s with the stigma itself or the actual process of juggling multiple responsibilities. We’ll also talk about the dangers of striving mentalities and why it’s wrong to think ministerial leadership and success is based solely on educational status and congregation size.