In recent weeks I've had the opportunity to talk to judicatory leaders from three different denominations who just had or were planning to have in 2012 a training event for bivocational ministers. All three said that it was the first event they had offered specifically for bivocational ministers. This is a great statement of how they view the importance of the bivocational ministers in their churches. They recognize that we face different challenges and need training to meet those challenges, and it was the goal of each of these judicatory leaders to come alongside their bivocational ministers and provide the assistance they need to accomplish the task God has for them and their churches. A fourth judicatory is going beyond offering an event but is currently planning an 18 month emphasis that will offer seven different workshops for the pastors and lay leaders of their churches averaging 120 or less on Sunday morning. Many of these pastors will be bivocational as well. What a great statement this judicatory is making about the value they place on their bivocational ministers!
One of the fears associated with these events is that bivocational ministers often do not attend these types of training opportunities. Each of these judicatories is spending a lot of time and money to offer them, and if no one attends they may be reluctant to do anything specifically for bivocational ministers in the future. I want to strongly urge you to make time in your schedule to attend these types of events when they are offered. All of the ones I referred to above will be held on Saturdays. I know Saturday is often a very busy time for bivocational ministers because we are trying to make up for the things we couldn't do during the week, but it is important that you invest this one Saturday a year in your own personal development, and it is important that you support your denomination's desire to invest in you.
I know some training events are better than others. I have attended some where I couldn't write fast enough to keep up with the presentation. The material was so good that I left there inspired and full of new ideas to take back to my church. I've sat through others wondering if there would ever be anything presented that mattered, but even in those I always found a nugget of information that was helpful. (I happen to be in one this week that falls in the latter category, but I will leave here with enough new information to make these three days worthwhile.)
It is exciting to see denominations and judicatories now offering training opportunities specifically designed for their bivocational ministers. When I pastored that never happened, but it is now happening with much more frequency. Please take advantage of these opportunities to grow and learn new things that will benefit your ministry and that of your church.