When we decided to leave our first church plant to plant Emmaus in Kansas City, we knew that we were being asked by God to be bi-vocational. The reality is that bi-vocational is a generous term! I have a full-time job and do not take a salary from the church at all right now.
We did this first and foremost for calling, but that calling, we felt, was for 2 purposes; First, to help our church successfully get off the ground financially, and second, to learn how to be bi-vocational so that I could help train others to be bi-vocational. We are a little over one year into this journey of being bi-vocational. Here are 3 perks that I have found come from bi-vocational church planting.
1. I get to lead by example.
The people of our church see their pastors volunteering great amounts of time and energy into serving one another, sharing the gospel in our community, and leading the church. Every elders meeting we attend, every training we offer, every counseling session we go to, every worship service we are a part of, is simply out of our hearts desire to be committed to this local body of believers. It is a great example and challenge to our people to invest their lives in God’s mission through God’s church.
2. I have security that my family is provided for financially.
I know the stresses of planting a church that is trying to pay your salary so that you can provide for your family. I remember the stress of conversations like, “If this Sundays offering doesn’t bring in $2,000 then we won’t get paid this month babe”. The joy of having a full-time job is that my family is provided for while we pour our hearts into our church. We are not stressed over church finances or numbers. We work hard to see the church grow in reaching people and financially, but we can do so from a place of rest in God’s provision through our job.
3. I am learning how to work harder and smarter than ever before.
Church planting is not for the lazy, unless of course, you are the lazy one and you are planting a church simply to get out of accountability and structure. If you want to be faithful to the Lord and to be successful in reaching people with the gospel and growing a healthy church, then church planting is not for the lazy. I’ve never been lazy, but having to work a full-time job and then plant a church in addition, has taught me about a whole new level of productivity. I have to work harder than I ever have but I also have to work smarter than I ever have. I have to prioritize, strategize, and organize all that I do or else I will not have time to do anything that is important.