Archive Monthly Archives: March 2012

Bivocational Ministry, Part 2:
Lay People Are Willing to Help Pastors
But Only If They Are Trained

March 22, 2012

Dr. Dorsett is a bivocational pastor and church planting missionary in Vermont. He is the author of Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church and Bible Brain Teasers: Fun Adventures through the Bible. He also serves as a church planting catalyst with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has a passion for helping the next generation discover a meaningful faith and become leaders in sharing that faith with others.

This is the second article of a series on leadership in local churches. The first article is Part 1: Bivocational Ministry is a Growing Method for Ministry.


H. B. London expresses the feeling of many pastors in his book Your Pastor is an Endangered Species, when he writes, “pastors serve in a me-centered world where church members and attenders are becoming more and more apathetic” (15). Many pastors are frustrated because every year it seems that fewer and fewer lay people are willing to serve on committees or accept volunteer positions in the church. A few days ago I wrote a post about how pastors need to learn to delegate. One pastor posted a response that lamented that “it is difficult to get the church body to do the things that need done.” Most pastors would agree with that statement.

But I wonder sometimes if we pastors have unintentionally taught the people in our congregation to be spectators instead of leaders. One pastor friend of mine insists on printing the bulletin himself. He says this is because no one in the congregation is willing to do it correctly. When I asked if he had ever showed anyone how to do it correctly, he said no. How can we expect a person to serve correctly if we have never trained them? Another pastor friend of mine teaches all the adult Bible studies himself. He says he is the only one who knows the Bible well enough to teach it. While that may have been true when he first went to the church, after more than a decade of service to that congregation, why has no one in his church learned enough yet to be able to teach a Bible study? Why has he trained no one how to teach in a decade?
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Bivocational Ministry, Part 1:
Bivocational Ministry is a Growing Method for Ministry

March 21, 2012

Dr. Dorsett is a bivocational pastor and church planting missionary in Vermont. He is the author of Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church and Bible Brain Teasers: Fun Adventures through the Bible. He also serves as a church planting catalyst with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has a passion for helping the next generation discover a meaningful faith and become leaders in sharing that faith with others.


When a pastor is referred to as “bivocational,” it means that he works a second job in addition to his service to the church. This does not mean he is a part-time pastor, as all pastors are in full-time service to the Lord. Only a few pastors are bivocational by choice. Most have been pushed in to it due to the low wages that small churches are able to pay pastors. In many situations, both the pastor and the church wish the pastor did not have to work the second job, but both realize it is just the reality of the situation.

Regardless of the preferences of both pastors and churches, bivocational ministry is a growing practice across North America. There are a number of reasons that bivocational ministry is growing, but the three that are the most obvious are the lack of stewardship training, the rise of the cost of living in North America, and the current economic situation.

A number of studies have demonstrated that older generations were more generous in their giving to churches than young generations. Part of this is that older generations generally carried as little debt as possible, while younger generations tend to want everything now and are willing to take on debt to get it. Once they have all the payments that come with debt, they have less money to donate to the church than their parents or grandparents might have had. Churches must also take part of the blame because many churches are less comfortable teaching about stewardship issues than in the past. Since churches have failed to teach on this subject, even church members who are committed to their church may not be as generous as they would be if they had been taught better. As older generations have either exhausted their resources in retirement or passed away, the younger generations that have replaced them give less money to the church. Therefore, churches that may be relatively the same size as they have always been may have fewer resources than in the past. This often results in the pastor’s salary and/or benefits being reduced. This frequently leads to the pastor having to seek a second job.
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Why Your Faith Is Secure, Part 5:
It is Based on an Unchanging Relationship Status

March 20, 2012

by Steve Lemke, Provost, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, McFarland Chair of Theology, and Director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.


We have been examining reasons for the security of the believer from Ephesians 1 and other Scriptures – that persons who are genuinely saved are saved forever.  We have seen four reasons in previous articles why the Bible teaches that we cannot lose their salvation:

Part 1 — Salvation Is of God, Not of Us,”
Part 2 — It is Based upon a Life Changing Experience with God,”
Part 3 — It Is Based on a Scriptural Promise.” and
Part 4 – It Is a Logical Necessity.”

In this fifth article of the series we see another compelling reason why we believe that we cannot lose our salvation – because eternal salvation is based on an unchanging relationship status.

Eph. 1:13-14 describes the Holy Spirit as sealing and guaranteeing our salvation.  On the basis of this Scripture and many others, we believe the Bible teaches that once someone has a genuine salvation experience is saved forever – sometimes described as “once saved, always saved.”  Another reason that we have this confidence in our eternal salvation is that it is based on an unchanging status of relationship.

One of the most fundamental confusions about the security of the believer is that it is earned by good works.  Some teach that if we “keep persevering” with good works that we will eventually be saved.  Yes, if we are truly saved we will demonstrate “bear fruit consistent with repentance” (Matt. 3:8, HCSB; see also Acts 26:20).  But we are not saved by our continuing in good works.  We continue in good works because we are genuinely saved.

Salvation is not earned by good works, and neither is it kept by good works.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addressed those who listed all the good works they had done for Him, and Jesus gave them a surprisingly strong rebuke:  “I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:23, NASB).  Note that although these would-be believers had done many good works for Jesus, these good works were not sufficient for salvation.  The basis for salvation was whether or not they had ever entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Obviously, they had not done so, for Jesus said, “I never knew you.”  Salvation, then, is based on a relationship with God, not on our performance.
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