I'm a bivocational pastor. Let me tell you what that's like. It may actually surprise you.
Bivocational means I have two jobs. In my case, I pastor a wonderful church, and I work at a great funeral home. Each week, I perform duties for both.
One neat thing about this kind of life is that I get to interact with all sorts of people. A lot of the people I deal with in the church world are Christians. When it comes to the funeral home, my coworkers (who are Christians) and I do business with a variety of people. Some of the people who come to us are Christians and have churches. But there are others who are not people of faith and do not have a church home. I've had plenty of opportunities to work with families who need a minister's help. I am glad I get to come alongside these hurting people and serve them in the name of Jesus.
Bivocational pastors will tell you this often. Getting to deal with the unchurched, unsaved world through that other job often opens many doors to do God's work. It leads to some cool ministry moments.
Also, when it comes to being bivocational, I have to think realistically about time. There are only so many hours in a day, and I have to map out a schedule in my head or on paper to get it all done. Some weeks I'm better at this than other weeks. But I'm learning, and I'm getting better at it. Fortunately for me, everyone has been very supportive and patient with me as I juggle my two places of employment.
Bivocational pastors deal with this on a daily basis. It's about using time wisely. That requires careful planning and scheduling, but it can be done.
Another component of being bivocational is communication. This past Saturday, three people from our church wound up in the local hospital. As soon as I got the phone call, I spoke with my boss at the funeral home. I explained to him the situation at hand. He immediately figured out a way for me to get to the hospital so I could visit them. Then, I returned to the funeral home and resumed my work there. He's always been supportive of my ministry, and communicating with him is vital to making things work. To succeed in this kind of life, I have to keep in touch with people about what is going on around me. It's true with the church too. I work closely with church leaders and fill them in on my schedule so they know what is going on in my life.
Bivocational pastors quickly find out that sharing information is a must. It's essential to communicate with people from both jobs and make sure they are aware of what is happening. This reduces confusion and enables things to run smoothly.
Finally, as I bivocatonal pastor, I choose joy. I like my life! Sure, it gets busy and exhausting at times, but I'm thankful that God meets my needs and allows me to partner up with great people at both places. I'm joyful because I get to do things I love with people I love. And I get to use the gifts God has granted to me. Plenty of people in this world work two or three jobs, and they know that the attitude they have about their situation is up to them. We all can choose to be joyful or miserable. I pick joy!
Bivocational pastors are fortunate in a lot of ways. They get to do a variety of things with their time and talents. And that's a fulfilling way to live.
Who knows what my future holds? Maybe the church I pastor will grow to the point where I solely focus on the church. If that happens, I will gladly do that, and enjoy it. But if it doesn't work out like that, I'll be just fine continuing what I'm already doing. Either way, I love New Calvary Baptist Church, and I'll serve them regardless. I've learned to just be thankful for what I have in life, and enjoy whatever God puts before me. It's just good to be alive, enjoy good people, and serve God.