Full time pastoral ministry is still a possibility in most church traditions. However for many groups, those locations are scarce. Many congregations choose to employ a part-time minister. Those who choose that path are quick to acknowledge that the only thing part-time about arrangement is the compensation! Reduced hours are a stated expectation, but when ministry needs arise, the minister needs and wants to respond.
Among Friends and other denominations, the number of part time pastoral opportunities is greater than fully employed opportunities. One consequence of this transition is that those entering ministry must think about how they will fund the remainder of their financial needs. The bi-vocational response is becoming popular, and not just among pastors. Those involved in the ministry of chaplaincy report an increase in part-time rather than full-time positions.
As part of understanding the realities, financial and otherwise, of this ministry model, Earlham School of Religion, conducted a survey of bi-vocational ministers and their congregations. The participants were from multiple denominations. The goal of this study was to understand the joys and the challenges of this form of ministry, understand how this context should inform ministry preparation, and introduce appropriate changes to the curriculum.
Resources produced from that project include: