March 24, 2020
Bivocational ministers in Alabama have a new resource to help them navigate the unique challenges and pressures of their calling.
The Alabama Baptist Fellowship of Bivocational Ministers recently launched a private Facebook group as an online space for pastors and church leaders to share concerns, needs and resources.
“We want to connect bivocational staff members,” said Tim Henning, pastor of New Beginnings Fellowship, Trussville.
Henning was elected president of the Alabama Baptist Fellowship of Bivocational Ministers at the 2020 Bivocational Minister/Spouse Retreat held Feb. 21–22 at Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega.
While no exact numbers are available, an estimated 50–65% of churches are served by pastors who also work other jobs, said Joe Wright, executive director of the Bivocational and Small Church Leadership Network.
In Alabama, an estimated 55% of pastors are bivocational. Many more serve in other church roles. All are pulled in many directions, Henning said.
“A lot of bivocational pastors, because they’re spending so much time working, they’re disconnected from others,” Henning said. “This Facebook group is one way to bring some connection to people who are very, very busy.”
Ken Allen, lead church health strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) and adviser to the support organization, said he hopes bivocational ministers will join the Facebook group because it will offer a “communication point for all things related to the unique demands and calling of those involved in bivocational ministry.”
The purpose of the Facebook page is threefold, Henning said.
1. To connect bivocational pastors, as well as student and children’s pastors, those serving in Christian education and “anyone, man or woman, who is paid in part by the church.”
2. To encourage bivocational workers through prayer and sharing needs.
3. To share resources from the SBOM, TAB Media and other entities.
The group will not be a place to debate doctrinal differences or political perspectives, or to criticize people, ministries or entities, Henning said.
“We are trying to expand the ministry of the Fellowship to be a blessing,” Henning said.
In addition to Henning, serving as officers in 2020 are: vice president, Benjie Miller, pastor of Bynum Baptist Church, Weaver; treasurer/secretary, Ken Wells, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, Scottsboro.