The New Normal: 9 Realities And Trends In Bivocational Ministry

If I could only teach one vocational principle to young pastors-to-be, it would probably be this.

Learn how to pay the bills outside of your pastoral salary. You’ll probably need it.

Whether you want to be a church planter or pastor an existing church, it’s likely you’ll spend at least some of your pastoral ministry being bivocational.

Bivocational ministers (pastors who work outside the church to provide most or all of their household income) may be the most under-appreciated and overlooked leaders in the church.

Here are 9 realities and trends I have picked up from my research, observations, and conversations with dozens of bivocational pastors.

#BestOf2014: My Church Is an Endangered Species – Unless…

Fifteen years ago, my church was less healthy than it is today. It had half the attendance it has today. But we could afford to pay our mortgage, two full-time salaries, and the upkeep on the building, while giving a good percentage to missions and funding all the ministries the church needed.

Today we have double the attendance, more volunteerism and a healthier mission and ministry. But we’re having to do more with less every year.


There are several reasons. Many of which no one has really figured out yet. But, for today I’ll outline three changes we need to acknowledge.

#BestOf2014: Big Cities Need Great Small Churches, Too

Small Churches aren’t just for small towns. There are thousands of Small Churches in big cities and sprawling suburbs, too. But there aren’t enough of them. Yes, you read that right. The problem with the church in big cities isn’t that we have too many Small Churches, it’s that we don’t have enough of them. Big churches …

#BestOf2014: Big Cities Need Great Small Churches, Too Read More »

6 Realities & Trends In Bivocational Ministry

I’m not a church planter. But I spent three days teaching at the Exponential West conference for church planters last week.

I’ve also never been bivocational. But almost all the teaching I did was with bivocational pastors – most of it tag-team teaching with Hugh Halter and Artie Davis.

So why was I there? The one thing we all have in common is the Small Church experience.

I had a great time sharing my story and the lessons learned along the way, and hearing their stories, too. Bivocational pastors have a lot to teach the rest of us.

Because of the chance to spend so much time together (over 10 hours of teaching and conversations) we all learned a lot about the current state of bivocational ministry and some trends we’re likely to see in the near future.

Here’s a recap of six of them.