Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bivocational minister pipeline

While many of my readers are bivocational ministers, some are lay people who are interested in learning more about bivocational ministry.  For those readers I have a serious question to ask:  Have you felt God's call on your life to be a minister, and if so, what are you doing about it?  Recently, an individual called me asking how one prepares educationally for the ministry.  In our conversation he admitted he had felt called of God 25 years ago and had been running from it ever since.  He was tired of living in disobedience to God's call on his life and had surrendered to that call.  While I believe he has a very good future in ministry I can't help but wonder what his ministry might have been if he had obeyed God's call on his life 25 years ago.

Just recently I was talking to a judicatory leader from another denomination who admitted to having the same problem the denomination I serve has.  The number of churches needing bivocational ministers is growing faster than we can identify people who can serve them.  Because we cannot suggest quality people to serve as their pastors some of these churches go out and bring in the first person they can find who claims to be called to the ministry and isn't afraid to get up and preach a sermon.  Sometimes it works out well for the church; sometimes it's a real train wreck when the church realizes they have asked someone to serve as their pastor who has serious issues in his or her own life.  The judicatory leader and I agreed that we need people in a leadership pipeline so we will have them available when our churches ask for our assistance in finding a bivocational minister.  Perhaps we need to be talking to you.

If you have felt called to bivocational ministry but haven't done anything about it I would encourage you to contact a leader within your denomination to discuss your situation.  It isn't required by most denominations that you go to seminary before entering the ministry.  Many denominations do have training opportunities available that would give you some practical and theological training that would be helpful as you serve a church, and I would certainly encourage you to take advantage of such training.  I only know of one denomination that requires their ministers to complete such training before they will assist them in finding a church.  We need bivocational ministers now, and we will need even more in the future, so it is important that we have people in the process of being trained so when one of our churches calls asking for the names of potential bivocational pastors we will have quality people we can recommend.

For those readers who might be part of a denomination, there are still people you can talk to about your sense of call.  You may want to call a denominational leader in your state.  If you live in Indiana and sense a call to bivocational minister you can always contact me.  I'll be glad to talk with you about your sense of call or if you live too far away for us to meet I have other people in Indiana I can have contact you.  If God has called you to bivocational ministry we don't want to miss you, but we will not know of that call on your life unless you let us know.  We have churches who need your ministry, and even more importantly, the Kingdom of God needs your ministry.  Why not contact someone today to talk about your sense of calling?

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