Do you find bi-vocational ministry challenging? You are not alone my friend. There are many pastors and wives that have purposely chosen this route because the church can’t afford to pay them, or because they have chosen not to accept pay.
My husband and I have never served as bi-vocational pastors but after talking with a couple of friends who have and doing research, these are some thoughts I’ll share.
Balancing family, work, and church life seems to be the most common issue among bi-vocational ministers. God called you to your family first. You must be intentional about taking time with your spouse and children if you want them to be happy, healthy, and whole. In Mark 8:36 Jesus says, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” In a similar way, what if you reach a community for Jesus but lose your family? I would suggest that you put date nights and family time on the calendar. Stick to it unless a dire emergency comes up, and when that happens, reschedule your date night or family time immediately. Your spouse and children deserve to know they are your priority.
One person recommends that you teach your congregation to take responsibility in the ministry. Encourage them to get involved. Let them know you are in this together. You can’t and shouldn’t do it alone.
One of the joys of bi-vocational ministry is working among people that might never darken the doors of your church. You have the possibility of reaching them through your secular job. My sister said that while her husband sold insurance as a way to help provide for their family, he never missed an opportunity to share Jesus. Some of his clients became born again church members over time.
My friend Rodna shared that her husband Greg had many witnessing opportunities while working a secular job. This also gave him a better understanding of the working man. Before Greg worked outside of the church he didn’t understand what it was like to clock out at 5:00 and then need to be at church at 7:00 on a Wednesday night, or get involved in an outreach ministry on a Saturday, possibly his only day off.
In this video, Rodna shares how she and Greg went through six years of bi-vocational ministry. She talks about things they learned and what they would do different if they could go back in time.
What are some tips you have for other bi-vocational pastors/wives?
2 thoughts on “Bi-Vocational Ministry”
God has been so good to me in this area. I’ve worked both as a full time pastor’s wife and as a bi-vocational pastor’s wife. I prayed that God would give me jobs that would work with the ministry schedule. Our ministry schedule was very hectic. However, God is a God of ordering our steps. He allowed me to work as a DCFS Advocate for many years. The advantage was with a client caseload of 100 families my office was in my home and I chose the times I would go to visit the clients. Then the allowed me to work with CPS/ Chicago Public School. I still am working with them today. I choose the days I want to work and I can choose the area of the city I want to work in and if I want to work 1/2 day or whole day, one day a week or up to 5 days a week. Even with tailor made jobs I still had to be careful to make sure that I consciously did not get so tired that I didn’t enjoy the time I had with my family. I had to learn to carve out time to regroup so when I was with my family I was really with them. I also had to learn in ministry when to just say “NO”. I learned that two cars are better than one and that it is alright to leave church in my car when service was over and not to have to stay to turn off the church lights and lock the doors. Sometimes on week night services with my small children I would bring them to church dressed in their night pj’s so when they fell asleep on the way home in the car from mid week service all I had to do is put them in the bed. God was so good, I could put them on the toilet and with there eyes still closed just say tee tee and they would without ever waking up out of their deeper sleep. Prayer for direction on how and when to do things was my life saver, especially when I followed God’s directions.
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Kathy, thank you so much for sharing some great insight for pastor’s wives. I love that you took your little ones to church in their pj’s for the night meetings. That was so smart!