Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bivocational ministers are entrepreneurs

The best bivocational ministers I have met have been entrepreneurs. The very nature of their calling forces them to approach ministry with a different mindset. This mindset is very similar in many ways to that of a person starting a new company. An effective entrepreneurial, bivocational pastor will share some common personality traits with the entrepreneurial business person.

There have been numerous articles written on these personality traits, and the list of these traits number anywhere from 5-25 depending on the article. I think these five personality traits will be found on most of these lists. These five traits are explained in more detail in a Forbes article you can read here. These traits are

  1. Passion - Most bivocational ministers I know serve because they are passionate about their calling. Few people would willingly serve as a bivocational pastor if they were not passionate about doing ministry in that context.
  2. Resilience - Not everything we attempt to do works out the way we planned. Most bivocational ministers do not view failure as the last word. When something doesn't work out as we planned we try to learn from the failure so we can improve. It's hard to keep a good bivocational minister down.
  3. Strong sense of self - Entrepreneurs are normally very self-confident, and the same is true for many bivocational ministers. It's not so much a confidence in ourselves because most of us know our weaknesses and limitations, but it is a confidence in our calling. A weak leader who lacks self-confidence, bivocational or fully-funded, cannot effectively lead a church, and it's painful to watch them try.
  4. Flexibility - A bivocational minister better be flexible. Every day is an adventure. I always use a pencil when I schedule something in my calendar because the one thing I know that's constant is change.
  5. Visionary - The only thing more painful to watch than a minister who lacks self-confidence is to watch one without vision. If the pastor doesn't know where God is leading it will be impossible to lead the congregation in that way. Entrepreneurs in business and ministry have a sense of where they are going, and sometimes it is that vision that prevents them from getting stuck.
How many of these personality traits do you have? Chances are that if God has called you to bivocational ministry you have some of all five of these traits. You may be stronger in some of them than in others, but it is likely at least part of all five of these make up your personality. If you identify some that cause you to struggle, they may be something you want to address. As you become stronger in each of these traits you will see positive improvement in your ministry and in your overall life.
If you struggle to improve in some of these areas a good ministry coach might be able to help you. If you think that is the case, it would be a good investment of your time and finances to work with a coach to help grow in those areas. If you do not know a ministry coach in your area, feel free to contact me.

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