I began to think about bi-vocational ministry on account of my concern over the passivity and consumerism latent within the average American congregation. For me, taking a bi-vocational approach to pastoral ministry is a missional strategy to create a culture in which congregational participation and shared ministry is required for the health of the church. It’s harder and requires deep reconsideration of leadership competencies and potentially a re-engineering of a congregation’s expectations and commitments.
This is a value that Life on the Vine, the community that my wife and I are a part of, both espouses and practices.
Currently, I work part-time as the Associate Director of Advancement at Northern Seminary, serve as part of a bi-vocational staff team at Life on the Vine for about 10 hours/week, and do a handful of other things to help supplement my income.
Insurance is often a major concern for people looking to be bi-vocational. We are fortunate in that both me and my wife are covered through the organization that she’s a part of, International Teams.
There are upsides and downsides to bi-vocational ministry to be sure. In my experience, it’s almost never advisable for solo leaders, but can be an excellent strategy for teams.
JR Rozko is in a part-time role at Life on the Vine in the suburbs of Chicago; he also works at Northern Seminary (links for both above). See his blog here.