Friday, 03 May 2019 00:00

Paul, Bi-vocational Pastor

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We all know pastoring is a full-time job. How can anyone, especially Paul, serve as a pastor and hold down a full-time job? Surely, “Paul, Bi-vocational Pastor” must be a misprint. Surely, Paul could not have worked a secular job and have been the great missionary preacher he was. Surely, Paul could not have worked a secular job and written approximately half of the books in our New Testament. Surely, Paul could not have worked a secular job and proclaimed the gospel in all the locations he visited. Yet he did.

In Acts 18 we meet a couple named Aquila and Priscilla. Paul shared a common occupation with them. They were tent-makers. We do not know where and how long Paul served as a tent-maker. We can rejoice that God gave us this glimpse of Paul’s heart. He was willing to do whatever it took to get the gospel out.

This is the plight of many men who serve as bi-vocational pastors, even today. There are some circles where the phrase bi-vocational might appear to be a demeaning term. That should never be the case! Bi-vocational pastors should never think of themselves as second-class citizens in the ministry realm. Church members should not see these men as anything less, just because they work a secular job.

Rather, the term “Bi-vocational” should be seen as a term of endearment. Bi-vocational pastors pay a huge price to serve.

These wonderful servants pay a price in energy expenditure. They sacrifice family time; they lack study time, and they are awake when other church members are asleep. What a demanding task!

When Paul served as a tent-maker he knew the mission churches he served could not pay a pastor. So he made tents. This same scenario is true today. Many churches cannot afford a full-time pastor. The bi-vocational pastor fills this need.

The bi-vocational pastor is on the very front lines of ministry expansion. He is there providing a service that helps gospel expansion go forward. And he is probably meeting and influencing more people in the secular world than full-time pastors do.

Those of you who serve in a bi-vocational capacity are to be commended! Your sacrifices are enormous. I call on all church members to join me in applauding our ministry partners—the bi-vocational pastors of our world.

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