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.”