Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bi-vocational ministry

Here's an interesting post by David Fitch reflecting upon bi-vocational ministry and the missional church. In the article he reflects on three good things that come from bi-vocational ministry (actually multiple bi-vocational, meaning more than one person doing bi-vocational ministry). In brief these are:

Challenging passivity in the congregation
The formation of church that reflects the rhythms of life versus heavily programmed routines
Fostering an outward focus

To some extent, and this could be the greatest cop out of all time, this sounds easier to do in a planting context rather than an established church context. But that isn't to say that an established church does not need to foster greater participation of its congregation, avoid over programming and shift away from being focused upon the "doing of church" towards "being church".

The bigger question of course is could our established churches, churches that are heavily dependent upon budgets and full-time staff, ever cope with a bi-vocational ministry structure. Perhaps they will have to if we are to become truly missional. That of course would mean that for many of us who are those very staff members might have to consider a very pattern to our lives. Honestly, after just short of twenty years in ministry, I wonder what else I could do!

Secondly, we will have to de-professionalise ministry. In other words, we will have to stop seeing ministers as a breed apart, almost other worldly. Ministry will need to become something in which we can all conceive of participating.

Maybe one day I will become bi-vocational. They tell me that B&Q have a policy for employing older people! Perhaps when I'm 60 they'll be a job for me reminiscing about the days when the first plastic wall fixing were introduced!

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