Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bivocational ministry in the 21st century

Most denominations report that the numbers of bivocational ministers in their denomination are growing.  A number of churches that were traditionally led by fully-funded pastors now seek bivocational ministers when their former pastors leave.  The reasons for this increase in bivocational ministry are many, and these bivocational ministers and the churches they lead need a number of things from their denominations to make this transition successful.  For the past few years I have offered a seminar on "Bivocational Ministry for the 21st Century" to help meet some of those needs.

For twenty years I served as the bivocational pastor of a small, rural church in Indiana, and for the past thirteen years I have served as a Resource Minister with the American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky.  Although I serve churches of all sizes, the majority of the churches in my Area are smaller churches, many of them bivocational.  I have published eight books on bivocational and small church ministry.  Obviously, I have a passion for such ministry.

The purpose of this seminar is two-fold: I want to encourage the individuals who have accepted the call to bivocational ministry and the churches they serve, and I want to give them information that will help them in their ministry.  Sometimes, churches with bivocational leadership struggle with self-esteem issues, especially if they have called a bivocational minister after having a fully-funded pastor.  Many bivocational ministers struggle with doubts about their ministry and often feel isolated and forgotten.  My seminar addresses these problems.

In the seminar we look at

  •  how common bivocational ministry is today and address how we should measure success in ministry.
  • some of the advantages of bivocational ministry to the church and to the minister's family.
  • some of the unique challenges of bivocational ministry and the ministry challenges we all face in ministry today.
  • how to prepare for bivocational ministry and the importance of being a life-long learner.
  • how to maintain balance in five areas of our lives while serving as a bivocational minister.
I've been privileged to present this seminar to numerous denominations in various settings.  The bivocational ministers who attend have been very appreciative of the information they received and the affirmation they felt from the material.  They have also appreciated the fact that their denominational leaders offered something especially geared for them and their needs.

Some of the material from this seminar comes out of my book The Bivocational Pastor: Two Jobs, One Ministry. If this sounds like something you would like to offer to the bivocational ministers in your denomination or judicatory, please contact me.  Together, let's equip our bivocational ministers so they can best fulfill the call God has given them.


Rev. Luckett said...

Hi Dennis, I would like to attend your conference if you are having one close to the Midwest area. I am in Wisconsin . pastor Anthony Luckett.

Dennis Bickers said...

I do not have anything scheduled in that area at this time. Please contact your judicatory leaders and encourage them to schedule me for a conference. I would love to lead one in that area.