Part-time pastors increasingly juggle jobs, ministry to fill churches' needs

For many of the millions of Americans who depend on their pastors, ministers and spiritual leaders, a full-time minister is becoming an out-of-reach luxury. To keep small churches open ”” and to provide individual care at big churches ”” religious groups are increasingly relying on part-time, or bivocational pastors.

Worship is just one of the many expectations being placed on these part-timers. There are church council meetings, Bible studies, suppers and other gatherings, and ”” most important ”” being there for believers.

“A bivocational minister can be a lot of things, but he can’t be lazy,” says Ray Gilder, national coordinator of the Southern Baptist Bivocational Ministers Association.

When such a hectic schedule is added to the demands of work and family, the results can tax even the hardiest person.

“Sometimes it means I don’t sleep,” the Rev. Alton Dillard says with a laugh, “but I make myself available.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry

4 comments on “Part-time pastors increasingly juggle jobs, ministry to fill churches' needs

  1. Chip Johnson, cj says:

    Shoot, I’ve done that since 1971, and am now a ‘non-stip’ vicar and missioner…voluntarily…

  2. Harvey says:

    Scripture speaks of Paul still plying his trade as a tentmaker when it was necessary. It seems that “part-time” ministers will always be faced with needed second jobs. To add fuel to this fire I know of one Bishop who insists on high entry salaries that are not affordable by congregations, and as a result 17 parishes have had to close their doors (one of the reasons). This same Bishop had to sell a Cathedral building and adjoining land because the Diocese could not afford to maintain the building

  3. KAR says:

    Oh I get to brag! I love to boast, especially when it’s Proverbs 27:2 moment!

    Rev. Richard Chrisinger is probably not a name you’ve heard of before, no Christianity Today article, his small congregation meets in rented property for twenty years. After the serving with USMC in Vietnam, he felt the call of the Lord in the ’70 so when off to Gordon College to study Bible, then M.Dev at Gordon Conwell. He has never had a full time position and works as a painter to support his family while faithfully serving each Sunday, Tuesday night men’s study, Thursday often city-wide prayer at the hospital with other pastors, hosts an ecumenical prayer gathering on Saturdays. Meanwhile it is strange just how many Vietnam vets or cancer survivors he gets jobs to do at their house, often folks who might not darken a church door.

    He also was instrumental in helping me grow in the Lord. He had on thing many paid pastors don’t seem to have, time and patients for me. I guess I’m too high-church Anglo-Catholic, else I’d probably would have left Anglicanism for his church, but that was never held against me.

    (My Uncle was a missioner to CofE, when he started out he had to hold a job in London to support himself for the parish in Redding could not fully support him).

    May the Lord richly bless the tent-making pastors!!

  4. libraryjim says:

    The manager of the local KFC rest. is a pastor as well. I was talking to him today and mentioned that I was glad the weekend was here. He laughed and said “Yep, now the work starts, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything, my friend!”
    I said “Yeah, being a pastor as well really ties up your time, doesn’t it?”
    “Oh yeah, but I enjoy it. I was just spending my break helping someone. That’s what it’s all about, my friend, I don’t mind it at all.”

    Three cheers for the working pastors! (and I mean it sincerely!)