Friday, July 06, 2007

Bi-vocational Pastors

Bowden McElroy posted this on his blog Interregnum (which is now closed) December 8th, 2006. I think it is worth passing along.

1. Paul was “partially funded” and it’s hard to go wrong with Paul as your role model.

2. There is a built in argument against the “hired gun mentality” that is prevelant in so many of our churches. When no staff member, including the pastor, is full time the laity must step up. Or, watch the church die a slow death while lamenting the lack of a full-time pastor.

3. It is easier to be fearless. I believe men are hard-wired to be providers for our families. Even the most faithful of men will think twice - and possible shy away from taking a much needed stand -- if their livelihood is on the line.

As a bi-vocational minister, I am completely at ease over this kind of tension. The worst thing the congregation can do to me is fire me… in that case I’ll simply go to my office and make more money there than what the church was paying me. I’ve maintained my integrity, my family is provided for, and the congregation is free from any kind of prolonged battle over whatever the issue was.


Anonymous said...

was Paul who also said that "A labourer was worthy of his hire..."

A pastor to-day is called upon to perform more than preaching and teaching, and this is difficut to do when only working parttime. Why not just become a Plymouth Brethren and have no paid clergy?

I worked as an architect in one church that could not afford a pastor, but that was MY choice. Once we built up the church, a full time pastor was called, and I moved on.

By the way, if a pastor if truly doing his job, the so-called laity will be fully engaged in the work of the church.



R. L. Vaughn said...

Jim, I think McElroy only promotes bi-vocational as an option and not necessarily the only way.

Also, I'd say that it is not necessary for us to become Plymouth Brethren in order to have no paid ministry. That is and has been the standard practice of a number of Baptist groups.