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The title of this article reflects on a group of men across our state who more often than not are referred to as bivocational, and sometimes seen more accurately as having a dual vocation. They serve in our churches as pastors and leaders but they also serve working in other professions and vocations. In all honesty, I would have to say most of these men do not just have two jobs or vocations that would appear to be part-time. They are men with two full-time jobs and they do a magnificent work in the kingdom of God. In our state, about 1,500 of our 2,100 pastors of churches fill this role. Some of them are pastors who are also CPAs or doctors or dentists. Others are pastors and have insurance jobs, or sell cars, or teach school, or drive buses or trucks. Some are pastors and work in retail or managerial positions in companies, or operate family owned businesses. Some of our pastors are in construction jobs, and others work in services provided by funeral homes. Each and every one of them is focused on serving the Lord Jesus while at the same time engaged in just about every occupation you could imagine.
They have great examples of living out this multi-faceted role, not just from the farmers and ranchers and frontiersmen who helped settle this great nation, but also from the biblical heroes of the faith. The best known of these is the man who wrote more books of the New Testament than anyone else, the Apostle Paul. He was a prolific writer, but his works are not published by any company, nor did they appear on the New York Times bestseller list. He traveled extensively in sharing the Gospel, but he was not supported by any travel agency. Occasionally he did get a free trip provided by the Roman Empire, but in all of his travels and all of his evangelistic endeavors, he probably did more to support himself by his abilities as a tentmaker. His insistence on doing that is well known.
It is a wonderful thing for a church to love its shepherd and take care of the leader who is taking care of the flock, but sometimes, because of a number of circumstances, they are not able to do that, and a pastor must provide in part while they are providing in part so they can have a pastor and the work can continue. Thank God for these men and the ministry they provide and the great heart with which they serve the Lord. Like all of us, and maybe sometimes beyond us, they find themselves pushed to the limit and overwhelmed by the amount of work and the lack of hours in a day to get everything done and every need met and all the preparations for the next service and provide for their family and find a few minutes rest and press on again.
I thank God for who you are, what you do, and the incredible spirit with which you do it. Some time ago I ran into one of our bivocational preachers in a restaurant and he was there in the middle of the afternoon meeting with some of his members to talk with them about church. Grabbing a few minutes away from his other responsibilities, he sat there at a table taking care of church business. I took a picture of the table and what was right in front of him. There was a piece of pie on a plate, a cup of coffee, a Bible and his cell phone. You get the picture. I started to have it blown up and framed and titled, “The Picture of a Bivocational Pastor.” Sure, it might be true of all pastors trying to meet needs and take care of responsibilities and pulled in one direction and then suddenly pulled in another. But for the bivocational, the double blessed guys, it is a constant pull and push and shaking in one direction and then another and somehow by the grace of God they keep their equilibrium, they stay at the task, they maintain a sweet spirit and a great heart for God.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month all across the land. Maybe your church can take a few moments to honor and express appreciation for the servant God has brought to your church. It can make a difference in his life, but if the church is not going to do anything as a corporate body, don’t you miss out on letting your pastor know of your love and prayers, your support and encouragement. And that needs to be expressed to them whether they are full-time, part-time, bivocational or even interim. I promise you, you will be blessed for blessing the men of God.