Should pastors have other jobs?
“So what else do you do?” is a question that is asked of me pretty often. I guess the assumption is that pastors really do only work on Sundays and therefore, should have other jobs… This is a question about which I am thinking nearly every hour of the day.
As I’ve said before, I’m a self-professed work-a-holic. I have to be careful or I will work too much. I think I come by this honestly. My dad was a high school math teacher who drove a school bus every day of the year, refereed basketball and baseball and worked a summer job while school was out as either a delivery truck driver or a golf course ranger.
It is because of things like this that my dad was able to pay for my college, stay out of major debt and be there for me if I ever had a need. And I certainly want to be that to my kids.
When I succumb to the call of ministry, lol, I anticipated that I would spend my life working for the church. I was raised in a large church with a pastor who was well educated, worked hard, was compensated well and had no need for additional work.
So, when I became a pastor, I sought after a good education. I have the terminal degree for my field from one of the country’s most well respected schools. I always thought that this would mean that I would always be a ‘fully funded’ pastor.
But recently I have been considering otherwise.
My church has always struggled financially. Even though we are a fairly large church who handles money very well, we tend to operate with a fairly small budget. Some would blame this on the economy, younger adults not giving like their parents and grand parents did, and basically the world around us not valuing giving to the church as previous generations. Add to that the globalization that has happened which helps people connect to many other very worthy causes through financial donations.
I’m not sure all of the specific variables which contribute to the need to operate off of a smaller per capa budget.
But, with that said, we have always learned to do what is necessary to grow the kingdom and spread the gospel…
So now, we are asking ourselves if ‘bivocational ministry’ is the next step to effectiveness. ‘Bivocational minsitry’ is the title given to churches whose pastors operate a full time ministry with part time pay. These pastors raise funding elsewhere to fully meet their families needs.
This would mean that our fully funded pastors find part time employment elsewhere in order to reduce their compensation from the church. It would also mean that the church would have to learn to adapt to having fewer usable hours from their pastors. It would mean that very important roles would need to be covered by volunteer hours from different people within the congregation. It would mean that pastors might be less accessible at times. And that more would certainly be expected from the congregation as a whole. I could see this being very good for us if people rise to the occasion.
For me personally, the up side to this move is that I can now explore some of my passions that I have always placed on hold for the sake of the church. For instance, I’ve started teaching college courses for Mid Continent University. I absolutely love doing it and it scratches an itch that I’ve had for a long time. I’ve also interviewed for a few other jobs… each with their own interesting scenario.
If we choose to go down this road, it will mean some organizational reorganization… lol. But if this is to be our future, or at least temporary future, I am excited to try it. I, as well as our other fully funded pastor, are open to God’s will in this moment and looking forward to the results of disciplined obedience in this area.
So what do you think? Have you wondered what we pastors do with our day? When you hear me say that I worked 60 hours in a week, do you secretly wonder… how? How do you think your church would fair if they chose to utilize bivocational pastors…