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 series looks at the importance of bivocational ministry and bivocational ministers in today’s church. The previous articles in this series are:
Part 1: Bivocational Ministry is a Growing Method for Ministry.
Part 2: Lay People Are Willing to Help Pastors – But Only If They Are Trained.
Part 3: Rethinking Our Perception of Bivocational Ministry.
Part 4: Bivocational Ministry is Normal.
Part 5: Bivocational Ministry Is More Common Than Most People Realize.
There are an increasing number of pastors experiencing burn out. Bob Wells has done extensive research on the health of American clergy. In a 2002 article in Pulpit and Pew, Wells concluded that “doctrinal and theological differences aside, North American churches have in common not only the Cross and a love of Christ, but also a pastorate whose health is fast becoming cause for concern.” Pastors are not as healthy as they should be. This lack of health contributes to the higher burn out rates currently being experienced by pastors.
Though all pastors are prone to burn out, bivocational pastors, who work secular jobs in addition to serving churches, are even more likely than fully funded pastors to experience burn out. Bivocational pastors seldom have as many resources at their disposal to help them recover from burn out, so it is particularly important that they avoid this syndrome altogether. One of the best ways for bivocational pastors to avoid burn out is for them to delegate some of their duties to others. It is simply not possible for a bivocational pastor to work full time at the church and also work a full time secular job without paying the price physically and emotionally. As bivocational pastors learn to share the burdens of ministry with an entire team, they will no longer feel as overwhelmed. Building pastoral leadership teams can help pastors avoid feeling burned out.
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is the third of a four-part series by Eric Hankins entitled “Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism: Toward a Baptist Soteriology.” This series attempts to frame Baptist soteriology in a different structure than the traditional “TULIP” comparisons with the doctrines of Calvinism or Arminianism.
The Theological Presupposition in a Reformed Soteriology:
Both Arminians and Calvinists assume a “Covenant of Works” between Adam and God in the Garden of Eden, even though there is no biblical basis for such. The Covenant of Works, they assert, was a deal God made with Adam whereby Adam would be rewarded with eternal life if he could remain morally perfect through a probationary period. Failure would bring about guilt and “spiritual death,” which includes the loss of his capacity for a good will toward God. Adam’s success or failure, in turn, would be credited to his posterity. This “Federal Theology” imputes Adam’s guilt and total depravity to every human. In Calvinism, actual guilt and total depravity are the plight of every person. Free-will with respect to salvation is, by definition, impossible, and with it, the possibility of a free response to God’s offer of covenant through the gospel. The only hope for salvation for any individual is the elective activity of God. In Calvinist soteriology, election is privileged above faith because regeneration must be prior to conversion. In Arminianism, the effects of Federal Theology and the Covenant of Works must be countermanded by further speculative adjustments like “prevenient grace” and election based on “foreseen faith,” a faith which is only possible because prevenient grace overcomes the depravity and guilt of the whole human race due to Adam’s failure. All this strays far beyond the biblical data. Such speculation does not emerge from clear inferences from the Bible, but is actually a priori argumentation designed to buttress Augustine, not Paul.
By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice.
These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.
Dr. John Ervin Huss (1910-1987), former pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, confesses,
It was so beautiful in Bellingrath Gardens I wanted to stay. I met God there. I can better understand now that if one goes to the Holy City, never would he have a desire to return to this world. Yes, I wanted to stay. God said, “John, I need you to preach My Word.” Yes, I realized again that life’s “Ridgecrest experiences,” and life’s “Glorietas” and visits to gardens has as their real purpose enduing of greater power to serve God in the hard places.
According to the LifeWay website, “Ridgecrest Conference Center, near Asheville, North Carolina, and Glorieta Conference Center, located near Santa Fe, New Mexico, have ministered to millions of guests during their many years of ministry.” For more information, click here.
Dr. Huss further recalls his memorable visit to the palatial home and garden paradise near Mobile, Alabama, envisioned by Mr. and Mrs. Walter D. Bellingrath in his book titled I Met God There (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1956).
Noting a sign in the gardens that simply reads, “Look,” Dr. Huss comments,
Sad to say, the sign is necessary. We can live in a paradise and never look. . . . People live near Niagara and have yet to see its awesome beauty. . . . We can have at our disposal the Word of God, and yet keep its pages closed and never see the Christ the Bible tells about.