A Case for Bi-Vocational Ministry

A CASE FOR BI-VOCATIONAL MINISTRY

by Pastor Joe Chadburn

Allow me to preface this article by sharing a bit of my own personal experience.

I was a twenty-one year old United States Marine who was naive and extremely zealous, when first called to the five-fold ministry. As a young man, I had very little idea of what this calling entailed. All I knew was that God Himself had separated me, from before the foundation of the world, for a specific purpose. Others soon recognized this call on my life, mentored me, allowed me to speak on occasion, and supported my decision to attend a Bible College.

During those formative years, an American Baptist pastor (who also happened to be a successful business man) encouraged me to minor in a subject which would help me to become a bivocational success.

Being much smarter than he was (sarcasm), knowing that I had a call to fulfill, and believing that Jesus could return at any moment, I felt that following his advice would be extremely irresponsible. Besides, I didn’t want to let Jesus down, and I had been taught that if you weren’t in “full time” ministry…you were basically a loser.


It had also been ingrained in me that “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:22). I now have a much better handle on what Jesus was saying in the context of that verse, but I’ll save that for another article. I was also taught that it was a virtue for preachers to be poor, which only served to reinforce a most debilitating stronghold in my thought life.

I could go on about my own personal experience, but I think it will suffice to say that I am now forty-eight years old and have pastored churches, served as an associate minister, youth minister, and itinerant minister…both in the United States and abroad. I have also served in various roles in Christian Schools, along with being a postal letter carrier, waiter, painter, salesman, auto service manager, and personal trainer.

Had I followed that wise pastor’s advice, I have no doubt that I would be much further ahead in both ministry and the area of personal finance. While I have learned from my mistakes, and the Lord is restoring things to me by His Love, Grace, and Mercy, I write in hopes of saving others from much hardship.

If you are one of those people who was called to ministry at an early age, and have been serving in a well paid, “pulpit ministry” position ever since, I am happy for you and bless you in the Name of the Lord.

If that’s not exactly the story of your journey, then perhaps this article is for you (although I believe that all can glean from it).

The Case For Bivocational Ministry:

I. Your God-Given Grace Ministry may not even be recognized by 90% of the church establishment. While Apostolic and Prophetic roles may seem glamorous, the primary ministries which are
respected in most circles as being “legitimate” are Pastor, Evangelist, and Teacher. See Ephesians 4:11. There are some wonderfully gifted preaching ministers, whom the Lord has IN NO WAY equipped to pastor churches! Let’s face it, the greater percentage of those “paid positions” usually don’t pay very well these days.

While I have absolutely no problem with a five-fold minister receiving a good income (understanding that truly “pastoring” a church of substantial size is more than a FULL TIME job), I also respect those who are willing to serve while having another primary (or secondary) income.

II. The Apostle Paul made tents and did what he had to do during the years of his ministry (Acts 18:3). Even the Lord Jesus served as a carpenter for most of His life in an “earth suit”, with only 3.5 years of “full time” ministry. Jesus and Paul served without guilt or shame, so can we!

III. You can minister what the Lord puts on your heart, while leading as He has called you to lead…without those who “control the purse strings” (while attempting to control you) holding things over your head. In layman’s terms, no one can attempt to pimp your message or leadership without knowing that you don’t need their money.

I DO belive in TRUSTING THE LORD. I also understand that TRUST often includes having the wisdom to get wealth from a supplemental income.

IV. If you receive Revelation from the Bible that your denomination (or ecclesiastical circles) refuse to receive, you aren’t out on the street…attempting to start a new work from scratch (with no income). You will also be less effected by church splits…and your heavenly Father DOES CARE about your family’s financial well-being.

V. You won’t become a self-promoting nuisance to pastors and congregations, by always begging for meetings and offerings. Instead, you can enjoy relational networking and have an adequate income…while trusting the Lord to open ministry doors for you. I need not mention that ALL believers are “full time”, “24/7/365″ MINISTERS.

VI. You are much more able to relate to those who are in the general workforce, because you aren’t stuck in a church building…and perhaps a church subculture which can’t relate to the REAL, outside world. You will be better equipped to minister in THE MARKET PLACE, as well as serving within the four walls of a building where your local assembly meets.

VII. You will also be more empathetic with people when they do things like YAWN during an evening gathering…after working a 12 hour shift with only 6 hours of sleep.

I could go on…but perhaps I will save that for another time.

Shalom! Joe

Pastor Joe Chadburn lives in Suwanee, Ga with his wife Tamie and their two kids. Both Joe and Tamie were ordained by Dr. Kluane.

Dr. Kluane is a Commissioned Ambassadorial Apostle by Apostle John P. Kelly. She is an international apostolic minister, author, mentor, teacher, and friend to the Body of Christ. She has a mandate to release:

1 - The "Revealing of Christ in a People. 2 - Present Truth. 3 - Life-changing Third Day reformational concepts. 4 - The fullness of the finished work of redemption to the nations

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Dr. Kluane Spake


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