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8 Characteristics of the New Bivocational Pastor

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Thom Rainer: “The new bivocational pastor is similar to the traditional bivocational pastor with some key differences.”

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The new bivocational pastor is appearing on the scene quietly.

Not many pundits are noticing the emerging trend. They are a different kind of bivocational pastor.

The traditional bivocational pastor, by common definition, serves churches that are unable to compensate a pastor with full-time pay. These pastors are incredible servants who fill a huge need among American congregations.

The new bivocational pastor is similar to the traditional bivocational pastor with some key differences. To avoid confusion, I will refer to this new role as the marketplace pastor. Here, then, are eight characteristics of marketplace pastors:

1. The marketplace pastor serves in churches that could offer full-time compensation to the pastor, but they choose not to do so. This difference is key. Both the pastor and the church have decided that the pastor will be bivocational, even though the church could pay full compensation.

2. Marketplace pastors get their name by their desire to stay in the marketplace with one of their vocations. One pastor noted he gets over 20 opportunities each month to share the gospel because he kept his marketplace vocation.

3. Marketplace pastors tend to have extraordinary leadership skills. They utilize those skills effectively in both of their vocations.

4. These pastors have a high work capacity. This position is not for everyone. These leaders must take on a huge volume of responsibilities.

5. These pastors will have long tenures. They are not financially dependent on the church; they are thus able to lead change and deal with the consequences, resulting in longer tenure.

6. Marketplace pastors will be able to deal with critics more freely. Because these pastors are not financially dependent on the church, marketplace pastors have a great deal more freedom dealing with critics and problem church members.

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