Spring 2016

Letter From the President

Reaching all people will take all kinds of ministry models.

by Kevin Kompelien

From the first century to today, God has used bivocational leaders to multiply many churches worldwide. The apostle Paul was committed to not be a burden to those among whom he was doing ministry; that commitment led him and his colleagues to be the first “tentmakers.” Ever since, tentmaking—or bivocational ministry—has been powerfully used by God to grow His church.

Serving in a bivocational role is one of a variety of ministry models for starting and shepherding congregations. Yet too often, it has been regarded as less-than-desirable. After all, if someone has committed years to prepare for pastoral ministry, the need to augment finances by working in education or the marketplace might not be that pastor’s preferred option.

Yet, as this issue of EFCA Today illustrates, the Lord of the Church is calling some incredibly gifted leaders to pursue bivocational ministry for far more than financial reasons. Bivocational pastoring and church planting are strategic ways to carry the message of the gospel into the community and to model a gospel-centered way of life to those within the church.

I am convinced that it will take all kinds of leaders to launch all kinds of ministries and multiply all kinds of churches to reach all groups of people with the gospel. If we are committed to reaching those who are far from God and those in communities without a significant gospel witness, a bivocational ministry approach might be one of the most effective ways to see this take place.

The challenges in bivocational ministry are real. Time is short, while family, ministry and work demands are seemingly unending.

For that reason, I’ve found myself praying for business leaders in EFCA churches to gain a bivocational vision: to consider inviting bivocational pastors or church planters into their businesses in order to help provide the platform for launching new ministries (at the same time, getting quality employees).

I’ve also been praying that the Lord would call more marketplace leaders to get involved in the leadership of new church starts. All over the world I have seen that some of the most effective bivocational pastors and church planters are business leaders whom God calls to church ministry without leaving their ministries in the marketplace.

The challenges in bivocational ministry are real. Time is short, while family, ministry and work demands are seemingly unending. Many of the opportunities for continued learning and fellowship enjoyed by pastors are not available to bivocational ministers, simply due to their marketplace responsibilities. I would love to see our existing churches come alongside these bivocational leaders and their families to provide encouragement, prayer support and some of the opportunities for growth that fully funded pastors enjoy. Is there a bivocational pastor or church planter near you whom you could bless in the days to come?

My prayer is that we can affirm the calling and ministries of these courageous leaders who are pursuing ministry with a bivocational focus. Let’s celebrate the exciting things the Lord is doing through them by recognizing the incredible sacrifice they are making to be engaged in both the marketplace and the church.