Bivocational Ministry for the Sake of the Gospel
Few if any ministers began their preparation for ministry with plans to become a bivocational minister. Yet, many smaller congregations require bivocational ministers because they cannot afford to pay a full-time ministerial salary. Interesting trends, however, suggest that a growing number of larger churches that are capable of paying full-time wages are strategically choosing to hire bivocational ministers because of their impact in the church and community.
Michael Kennedy, himself a bivocational minister, examines the effectiveness of bivocational ministry when it is focused on the gospel. Drawing on extensive research among thousands of ministers, Kennedy seeks to answer two questions:
- What does it mean for a bivocational minister to be gospel centered?
- How can the gospel help the bivocational minister be more effective?
Claiming that bivocational ministry should be a dynamic strategy rather than a fallback position, Kennedy presents bivocational ministry for the sake of the gospel as an effective and fulfilling method of ministry.
- More than 20 tables, charts and graphs present important data related to the subject of self-supporting ministry and its place in the churches of today.
- Extensive footnoting enrich this study and provide valuable resources for anyone wishing to dig deeper.
- Nine-page bibliography adds depth and dimension to topics
- Each chapter concludes with 10 to 12 discussion questions for both personal reflection and small group discussion.
- A five-page testimony from an active bivocational minister describes how he has followed this path for over 35 years.
- Appendixes explaining the surveys used in gathering the data that provides the basis of the book. Three separate surveys were utilized, one of over 5,000 churches (Christian churches and churches of Christ), the second one was of over 400 bivocational ministers and the third was of colleges and universities that train people for ministry positions.
“Bivocational ministry for the sake of the gospel assumes that believers need to see and experience practical examples of vocational stewardship in the lives of their spiritual leaders. Vocational stewardship is seeing the calling that God has given us as a precious gift of his grace. It is making the most of every opportunity to use our vocation to exemplify the gospel of grace and create a culture of grace in the workplace. This is far more likely to be effective and contagious among Christians when they see it exemplified by their spiritual leaders.” (p. 154)
“Bivocational Ministry for the Sake of the Gospel is a must-read for everyone concerned about the present status and future of the church. What Kennedy proposes is reasonable, practical, biblical and eminently doable. He has done us all a huge favor through his research and reasoning in this truly unique book.”
-- Victor Knowles, Founder of Peace on Earth Ministries
“In case you haven’t noticed, we are losing ministers faster than we are training new ones. We are closing more churches than we are opening new ones. If there was ever a time when we must encourage our ministers, it is now. Bivocational ministry is not a sign the church can’t afford a good minister … to me bivocational ministry is a sign somebody is following a clear New Testament pattern. It is a sign someone is taking seriously their calling. It is a sign of commendable dedication.“
– Jeff Adams, Religious Coordinator (Chaplain) for the Washington State Department of Corrections.
From the Author
Over thirty years ago, God led me into the ministry of preaching the gospel and I truly believe that it is the most important and fulfilling thing I can do in this life. For the last 21 years, I have been serving the Minnehaha Church of Christ in Vancouver, Washington. Of course, there have been times of declining numbers and difficult struggles, but there have also been times of glorious growth, both spiritual and numerical.
For the last 14 years, I have also served the community around the Minnehaha Church by driving a school bus for the Vancouver School District. At first it was something I had to do for financial reasons. However, through the struggles, God kept leading me back to the message and the model of the gospel. The more I focused on the gospel in all areas of life—including my job as a bus driver—the more I saw God working in those areas in powerful ways. I began to see how the gospel can make any Christian ministry effective and fulfilling, even a bivocational ministry.
I wrote Bivocational Ministry for the Sake of the Gospel because I understand the difficult struggles that come with this kind of ministry. If you are a bivocational minister, I pray that this book will help you experience the power of the gospel in your ministry. If you are preparing for ministry or preparing for a transition in ministry, I pray that this book will help you make the decisions your facing “for the sake of the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:23).
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