A bi-vocational pastor is one who has a secondary job outside of his church. This is something that often happens when planting a church. Although it has its difficulties, there are also a number of benefits that can be found when doing so.
One of the biggest benefits when being a bi-vocational pastor is how it helps both the pastor and the church financially. Having another job makes it easier for financial growth in the church because they do not have as much of a strain to sustain the pastor. Meanwhile the pastor has a salary that will allow him to provide for his family. This one less financial allocation allows the church to do more outreach, missions, ministerial development, and other church needs.
In conjunction to this, bi-vocational pastors have more freedom to lead because they are less afraid of obstinate leaders. It can be difficult to change the culture of a ministry sometimes because a full-time pastor is working in the same culture daily. The people become comfortable and careless with the pastor’s leadership. The willingness to try new and different things from what the church is used to must first be a goal of the pastor. A bi-vocational partor’s varied experiences allow for the church to have more opportunities to try things that may not have taken place before.
Simultaneously, discipleship is something that develops new leaders within the church because out of necessity the pastor cannot do it all. With the pastor needing to manage his time more, it maximizes the efforts of others to fulfill the goals of the church. Bi-vocational pastors delegating and empowering laypersons, while encouraging and guiding them, will create leaders internally that will help the growth and development of the ministry.
Bi-vocational pastors are able to team up with the evangelistic efforts. Most pastors are not working in a silo. Working at a secondary job is having a primary pond to be a fisher of men. Coworkers and employees are given the opportunity to experience the love of Christ and see the gospel in action through the work of the bi-vocational pastor. At times, it lends itself to future church growth or ministry opportunities.
Serving as a bi-vocational pastor can be stressful and/or rewarding, when properly planned out and balanced accordingly. It can serve as a great foundation for the church in the years to come.