Over the past several years there has been an increasing interest in church planting. As a result of declining attendance and the closing of many existing churches, every major denomination is focusing more resources toward starting new congregations. In recent years, we have also seen the creation of church planting networks that emphasize church planting across denominational lines.
In the midst of this proliferation of church planting, one of the most significant trends is the starting of new churches by bivocational leaders. Historically the phrase “bivocational pastor” was used to refer to a leader who served a church that was unable to compensate a pastor with a full-time salary. Therefore, the pastor would work a second, or third job, to supplement what the church could provide. In many cases, it was out of necessity not preference. However, today there is a new movement among bivocational leaders. More church planters who are choosing to plant bivocationally. They are making this decision out of the conviction that bivocational church planting actually provides a more desirable way to plant a new church, rather than on the basis of limited funds. In other words, it is becoming a first option, not a last resort.
While there is no need for bivocational church planting to compete with the more traditional approach—it is clearly a both/and proposition—there are some significant benefits to planting bivocationally, especially in a post-Christendom context. Lets consider three.