The delight of Bivocational Planting

By Adam Wyatt

While challenging, bivocational ministry is a great opportunity for replanting. It gives us an incredible opportunity to grow in our faith, and leadership abilities. It allows us, no, makes us, learn to rely on the sufficiency of Christ as we serve our church. What an incredible gift that God has given us in this!

As a bivocational pastor I see at least three glorious delights that God has provided us within the context of bivocational replanting.

The first is that we are not burdens to our church. In a replant or small church context, there are numerous things that a pastor may want or need to do. If a church is spending a considerable part of it’s budget on a pastor’s salary it may not be able to do other things. Recently my church needed a new roof. While the insurance paid (thankfully) we were initially looking at spending $10,000 on a roof. We had the money, but if I had been paid a higher salary over the last few years, it is probable that the money would not have been there. Bivocational pastors give their churches a better opportunity for health because they are not a financial burden on them.

The next delight we have in bivocational ministry is that we learn to say “no.” If a pastor is doing other things to provide for his family in addition to serving his church, his time will not just be limited, it will be something that must be protected. In a full-time positon, a pastor sometimes finds himself having to do a lot of things that he might not want to do because it makes him less effective in the things that he needs to do. As a bivocational pastor, we simply cannot make every visit, meeting, or event that is going on. Learning to say “no” gives a pastor the opportunity to prioritize his schedule, protect his family time, and it makes the church realize that ministry can be done without the pastor, thus making people embrace leadership and take responsibility within their church. This is great thing!

Another great delight that comes with bivocational ministry is that it gives a great opportunity for ministry! As a bivocational pastor we have opportunities to make relationships in the community which helps us serve it well. People see me not just as a pastor, but as a coach and teacher. I have the opportunity to have a better gauge of the condition of the community, and have the opportunity to make valuable connections in the community. These connections make us better pastors because we see the community as a whole in addition to the group that we are called to lead. This is a valuable thing for ministry, especially in a replant context because a pastor can help his church see the community outside of its walls as slowly embrace its role in the community.

While not for the faint of heart, bivocational pastoring is an incredible way to be faithful to the call of God. I think that some men see this as simply a way to be good to the church, but I truly see bivocational ministry as way to be blessed personally. I feel that in the coming years more and more churches will require bivocational pastors and many many pastors will begin to embrace bivocational ministry. This is not a bad thing. This is an opportunity to be stretched and blessed by the God who loves his Bride.

Published March 15, 2016

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Adam Wyatt

Adam Wyatt is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Leakesvile, Mississippi. A second-generation pastor, he has developed a love for the rural church in the Southern context. He loves his wife, his three beautiful daughters, good conversation, books and coffee. He is also pursuing his PhD in Biblical Theology from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. Connect with Adam @pastor_adam