A church history of bivocational ministry

A change is happening throughout the Western church in the nature and form of church leadership. There is a significant shift towards what is known as bivocational ministry. David Gustafson (@dgustafs1) associate professor of evangelism and missional ministry at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School has written a helpful introduction to the long history of bivocational leadership. Here’s the introduction:

Bivocational ministry is trending today. Driven by missional theology, incarnational ministry, theology of work and realities of post-Christendom, conferences and cohorts are being organized to equip pastors for bivocational ministry.

“Bivo” pastors and missionaries are not new, however. Dual-role ministry, or tentmaking, as a means for Christian leaders to finance their mission has been the practice of the Church since its inception. In fact, throughout church history, the full-time, fully funded pastor is the exception and bivocational ministry is the norm.

Moreover, bivocational ministry is not rare today; most pastors around the world earn their living from means other than serving their churches. This may sound unusual to Christians in America, where we have become accustomed to fully funded clergy as the norm.

And here’s his concluding paragraph:

Today, however, as the West becomes increasingly post-Christian, bivocational ministry is again a viable means to proclaim the gospel, offering it free of charge (1 Corinthians 9:18). It may be time to rethink the “professional ministry model” of Christendom and again consider the validity of bivocational ministry. It has not merely a biblical basis but a long history.

You can read the whole thing here.

For more articles on bivocational ministry, you may want to look here

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