There are positives and negatives to being bi-vocational. I would like to point out, however, that I am not complaining. I am very grateful to the opportunities that God has provided for me by letting me serve as a bi-vocational pastor.
- Being in ministry is hard work. Some may wonder why this is a positive, but, for me, it is. I need to have that constant pressure to make sure that I am performing. I am easily distracted, so the requirements of ministry are good for me to make sure I am getting things completed.
- Having a day job provides me some stability. Jon Acuff addresses this issue in his book Quitter. As a teacher, I have a stable paycheck and good health insurance that doesn't cost me as much as it would if I were to pay for it another way. This is really good because I have a houseful of children.
- Working as a teacher keeps me in touch with the lives of real students. As a youth pastor, I get to see my students on Wednesday nights and Sundays at church. Of course, being at church, they are on their best behavior (at least we hope). Being with students all day at school, I get to see them at their best and at their worst. It keeps me fresh in regards to the issues and joys and pains that students experience.
- Being in ministry is hard work. The astute reader will notice that I am using this point twice. Being a pastor is very draining and requires a lot out of a person mentally. We are made aware of the ugly side of life on a regular basis.
- There is a large time commitment. I often find myself feeling guilty because I am not spending enough time doing on job or the other. There are so many things that I want to do as a youth pastor, but am unable to because of school commitments. I also find myself thinking about one job or other when I am with my family. I know it drives my wife crazy when I am with her, but not really with her.
- I can't give 100% to either jobNo matter how hard we try, it is impossible to give more than 100% effort to anything. If you divide that between two jobs and a growing family, there is a great deal of frustration because you can't do more than you already are.
My goal is to turn these negative aspects into positives. I spend a good deal of time in prayer, asking God to make being bi-vocational a thing of the past. I do know, however, that I will continue to do this until the end of the school year. With that knowledge, I am doing what I can to put things in place to make full-time vocational ministry a reality.
The Lord is going to do great things and I can't wait to be a part of them.