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I am so glad Jim Futral, Steve Stone and David
Michel have placed me in a position of partnership with you, the foremost Mississippi missionaries.
For many years I thought I was a failure in ministry. I never doubted my call, but I misunderstood my dual role ministry. I met
discouragement in my own family. They pondered “when will he ever be a real preacher?” Friends I went to seminary with said plainly, “Dale,
if you’re going to work in education why don’t you get out of the ministry, or if you’re going to preach, why don’t you turn education
loose. Where is your faith? If you plan to walk on water, you must get out of the boat.”
Then in September 1977, the Home Missions Magazine had beautiful stories about bivocational ministers. In the northwest they were cutting
down trees, in Ohio they were school counselors, in Alabama they were mail carriers. This life lift experience was almost as great as when I
was saved as a Junior boy. After this I was a different daddy, a different minister and a different worker in education. I reached this
wonderful conclusion, “I am legitimate, my father is God and my double duty, twice blessed ministry, is God’s plan for me. I am living,
growing, and blooming where He has planted me.”
My homemade definition of Bivocational Ministry is “a mission strategy of responding to circumstances as they are, doing whatever it
takes to work out the ministry God has planned for me.”
All of you are called to be missionaries to your own minister brothers. Our Lord spent most of his waking moments ministering to 12 men.
He lived with them, ate with them and walked beside them, as he taught them. I don’t believe you can differentiate the call of your single
duty ministers and your double duty ministers, but their schedule and daily lives are different.
My goal is to assist you and walk beside you in providing encouragement and affirmation of your bivocational ministers. Together we can
understand their felt needs and provide a stronger tie to the association and the Mississippi Baptist Convention.
In addition to providing resources and materials, we need to give them something else.....our sincere attention. We need to look in their
eyes, open both our ears to their perceptions and felt needs. Let us not be presumptuous to what they need. They do need inspiration and
challenge. They do need also a caring shepherd to walk beside them as they work out the unique ministry God has planned for their lives.
I am glad associational missions directors are my mission brothers. I know missions is in your heart. I suspect if we checked we would
find missions is in your DNA. I marvel at the great mission work taking place in your association, not the least of which is being The
Pastor’s Pastor. I want to partner with you in providing:
to your bivocational pastors. God has called some of us to be successful. God has called all of us to be faithful.
Speech given at Church and Associational Interpretation Conference, March 3-4, 2005.