Week 4 – Preparing to Go Back to Work! Why Be a Bivocational Pastor?

It has been just over 4 weeks since I had my L4 and L5 vertebrae fused.  I am preparing to go back to work in my secular job next week in the insurance claims office.  I have been blessed to work for the same insurance company for 21 years.  As a bivocational pastor for the last 6 years, my schedule has been pretty busy and I must say that I have appreciated the opportunity to rest the last couple of weeks.  I have been afforded the opportunity to do some extra reading, spend some more time with my wife, kids and granddaughter that I would not have been able to do and I have been able to start this website to track my progress, keep my mind busy and to ultimately use for solely for ministry and devotional efforts going forward once I am out of my brace and finished with the rehab and recovery process!  I must say that I have enjoyed the last few weeks of rest.  I also have to say that I think that when the appropriate time comes, I will have no problem with not being bivocational and just being involved in full time ministry.

Some questions that I have been asked from time to time are, “Why are you bivocational?  Why don’t you go fulltime?”  I believe that most of the time the question is asked genuinely without any preconceived notions or someone trying to intimate that as a bivocational pastor “You are perhaps afraid to fully rely on God to meet your financial needs as a full-time pastor if you quit your secular job.  He feeds the sparrows sir, He will feed you.”  I bring this up because I have heard it a couple of times before.  Most of the time when the question comes about why I am a bivocational pastor, the question comes genuinely from someone who is interested in simply knowing how God is working in my life.

I am bivocational because I believe that God wants me to be bivocational.  I surrendered to the call to be a pastor relatively late in life and I was already established in a career in the insurance industry with a good company.  I prayed about whether or not to quit my secular job, but I was not led to do so.  My continuing to work and be bivocational is not because I do not trust God to take care of me financially; it is because I trust that is where He wants me to be.

I look forward to the day that God calls me to full time ministry.  (Can I tell you that there is not really any such thing as part time ministry even for bivocational pastors.)  I know that some day He will call me to leave or retire from my secular job.  I often pray about it and ask Him when; but He has not released me yet.  The bivocational pastor has a relevant ministry and presence in his community and in his workplace.  The workplace is a part of the mission field and presents great opportunities to grow and exercise one’s faith, and share one’s faith.  A bivocational pastor is definitely not secluded and can certainly relate to the issues and daily struggles that the members of his congregation face.  When people know that you are a pastor, they definitely watch to see how you act and react to the various changes and challenges in the workplace.  You will definitely have opportunities to practice what you preach!  Sometimes you won’t do as well as you would have liked and you will have to ask others to forgive you and ask the Lord to help you do better.  Your faith will grow and you will be strengthened as you face the same challenges as the members of your congregation.

A bivocational pastor is also able to meet and interact with a community of people which is larger than the congregation of his church.  As such, he is able to minister to a broader and larger group of people.  Additional opportunities for prayer, comfort, counseling, ministry and evangelism as the Lord leads can take place because of the relationships that develop in the work place.  One must be respectful of the proper workplace protocol, but one can readily and regularly be a Christian presence in the workplace – even if one is not a bivocational pastor!

I do look forward to going back to work next week.  I have been blessed with some wonderful friendships through the years at the office.  I have also been blessed with some wonderful Christian brothers and sisters whom the Lord has allowed me to pray for and who have prayed for me!  The work place can and should be a place where God’s presence is on display for all to see.  I pray that as I return, He will help me to work hard, to be successful and to do a better job of representing Him and fulfilling the words of Matthew 5:16

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

 If you would like to know more about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can send me an email directly at pastorpstephens@aol.com

About pastorpstephens

I have been blessed to have served as a pastor, a chaplain and to have been involved in other ministries throughout the years. My wife Marta and I have been blessed with a wonderful family that includes our daughter, her husband and their two daughters and our son and his wife and their son. Each of them are very special to us so please keep them all in your prayers. One truth that I always try to share with people I meet is that anything God asks you to do, He will help you to do. God has your back.
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