The word bivocational describes a person who holds two different jobs that are often completely unrelated. When applied to the church, bivocational frequently means double work and one-half pay. In fact, many who serve as bivocational pastors and staff receive no pay at all.
How important are these people to the work of the church in our state convention? Records indicate there are more than 520 bivocational pastors serving in BGCO churches and more than 3,600 others who serve in a variety of staff positions. I don’t know about you, but to me those numbers are staggering. Where would our churches be without faithful men and women who are willing to provide for their families at a day job and then serve the church at night and on weekends? My answer is that we would simply be in a world of hurt!
Growing up, I was privileged to live near my grandparents. Gramps was a bivocational pastor throughout most of his ministry. He worked on the farm and in the oil field. He would turn off the tractor, clean up and head to church to lead Wednesday night prayer meeting. I have watched him leave the oil field and be at church in time to lead revivals. Saturdays were often given to visitation and Sundays to leading worship.
Some people think that bivocational is a synonym for a person who is not qualified to hold a full-time position. I assure you that is far from accurate. I know several successful businessmen who are bivocational pastors. They will quickly tell you that they are bivocational because of God’s clear direction. They are strong preachers and leaders who are capable of leading much larger works; but they stay where they are because it is the will of God.
Many of our churches would have no pastor or music leader if it were not for these faithful servants. I am always humbled to be around them because of their humility and dedication. I have observed some of them spending the day at the church and then catching a nap on a pew in the afternoon. Some spend the weekend in a Sunday School classroom transformed into a small motel room. Their sacrifices are great.
Since this month is set aside to honor pastors, I especially want to affirm and commend these faithful servants who hold full-time jobs and also give leadership to our smaller churches. They deserve recognition, love and support. They and their families give much to the people of God. Without them many of our pulpits would be empty and there would be no music to glorify God.
I encourage you to take time this month to honor your bivocational pastor and staff members. Give them a weekend at a bed and breakfast or some other gift that expresses your appreciation. They deserve the recognition, and you need the opportunity to let them know how much you love them and thank God for them.