When you talk about bivocational ministry, what I hear is:
We don’t value you.
The church's way of saying - figure it out on your own. Oh, and good luck with that. Click To Tweet
Put your money where your mouth is
Most of us were raised with the idea that value comes from financial worth. We’re taught that CEOs are worth more than janitors and working women are worth less than men because sometimes they have babies and want some time to care for them. Which also means that babies are pretty much worthless.
Then we come to church and we hear Jesus say
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
So we have to assume that no one’s heart is in church.
Just trying to help…sort of
I went to a conference two years ago that was full of clergy under 40. Not only were we all around the same age, it meant none of us were at it for 30 years.
So…you need to start getting new skills.
Someone took the bait.
You’re saying that we will all need to be bivocational?
Yes. So it will be prudent to develop a new set of skills so that you can be more marketable and able to serve long enough to get your 30 years.
<the room rumbles>
So we spent this time in seminary, going into debt, developing this specific set of skills to do this work we were called to do, relocating our families, some of us giving up jobs to pursue this thing, and now we have to go back to grad school on our own dime so we can do something in addition to this?
<the room erupts>
Some of us have only done this.
This is what I’m good at.
The church helped pay for our peers’ seminary, but we had to pay our own and now we have to go back again?
What is the church doing to help us?
Are you saying this to the over-40 group?
What was the point of seminary if there is no chance?
And some of us really do want to explore bivocational ministry. But this is a warning that we’ll all be going this way — that budgets will be balanced on our backs alone — that we are the problem and that we are the solution. That we will have to take the hit for all. Alone. Without the support or the sense that we’ll all be in this together.
It sounds more like figure it out on your own. Oh, and good luck with that.
Work harder…now with 2 vocations!
I already feel as if, to do my work well, I need to spend
- 20 hours in goal-setting, vision casting, staffing, and vestry leadership
- 20 hours in communication, evangelism, and marketing
- 20 hours in visiting, spiritual discernment, mentoring, and discipleship
- 20 hours in preparing sermons and liturgy and in leading worship
all in one week. Somehow making 20×4 into 40.
And the church will want me to make that into 20. Oh, and pay me less for it.
And still have all the things
When we moved, my spouse had to leave her job. Just like she left one the last time we moved. And the time before.
They love that we have kids, except that we can’t afford babysitters.
And we don’t have savings and can’t buy a house, but somehow we’ll need to. On that 20 hours.
I guess that’s what that “real” job is for.
But what I really hear is
Love us more than we love you.
Support us more than we support you.
Give more of yourself than we are willing to give to you.
Because you should want to serve and we
the church writ large
our dioceses and presbyteries and our national assemblies
we don’t have to serve you anymore.
Times are too tough to keep our promises.
And man, this following Jesus thing is really hard.
And we stare back and say
tell me about it.