How Do Bivocational Planters Impact our Movement?

By Amy Schenkel, Christian Reformed Home Missions catalyst leader for new churches, ashenkel@crcna.org

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.