How do you know if you are “called” to a bi-vocational church? I think the answer is pretty simple. Do you think God is calling you to the church? Can that church pay you a full-time salary, or can they pay you enough to provide for your family? If not…congratulations, you have been called to be a bi-vocational pastor!
While we are starting to see a multitude of men seeking to be a part of a movement that embraces serving and replanting dying churches, I have not seen a lot of talk about going to a church that cannot pay a decent salary. We know that Paul told the church to pay a pastor well, especially those that “labor in preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17-18). We also know that Paul, at times, paid his own way in ministry (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9). So what do we make of this tension?
Depending on the situation and circumstance, a pastor must be willing to humble himself in regards to his salary. I understand that this can be problematic and challenging, and bring up a host of questions. However, Paul makes it clear that the calling of ministry is more important than our finances. We can, and must, trust God to provide for our needs. By humbling ourselves in regards to our financial stability, we get to trust God to provide. Trusting God is a supremely important tool in replanting. If God has called you to replant He will be the only way that you will be successful. The same God that can heal and revitalize a dying church is the same one that can provide for you and your family financially.
Do not be afraid of the challenge of bi-vocational replanting—embrace it! Doing so may be the difference between the death or life of a church.
Adam Wyatt is the senior pastor of Corinth Baptist Church in Central Mississippi. A bi-vocational pastor, Adam also serves his community as an English Teacher, Football Coach, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsor at the local high school where he has the opportunity to serve alongside his wife. He loves his wife, his three beautiful daughters, good conversation, books, and coffee. He is also pursuing his PhD in Biblical Theology from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. Connect with Adam @pastor_adam