How Do Bivocational Planters Impact our Movement?

By Amy Schenkel, Christian Reformed Home Missions catalyst leader for new churches,

The reality today is that an increasing number of our church planters are bivocational. And although my husband and I served as bivocational church planters for a number of years, this shift raises more questions than answers for me. So instead of writing an article that tells you about best practices for bivocational pastors, I invite you to join me in conversation about why this shift is happening and how it affects our multiplication movement.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Church planters who chose to be bivocational in the past most often did so because it was a budgetary necessity. Today, more and more pastors expect and want to be bivocational when they plant a church. Why do you think this shift is happening?
  • How does the larger church view our bivocational pastors? How should they view them?
  • How does our church polity need to change to care for our bivocational pastors? Being bivocational affects everything from a pastor’s health insurance to his or her pension. One classis recently questioned whether a pastor’s seminary loan would be forgiven if she was bivocational (as would be the case if she were in ministry full-time).
  • What in our classis structures needs to change to welcome and enfold bivocational pastors?
  • How can a pastor remain healthy and whole while balancing the demands of bivocational work with church planting, pastoring, and personal relationships?
  • How does bivocational work affect the rate of growth in a church? How should a church plant structure its staff if its pastors are bivocational?

Join the conversation—share your ideas about bivocational ministry at the Mission Catalyst Coalition Facebook group.