I laughed as a friend of mine introduced me. "This is my pastor," he said. "He's part-time-but he has a church of full-time sinners!"

I am not alone. Bi-vocational ministry (in which secular employment and pastoral ministry are balanced) is becoming increasingly common. I have several friends who rely on secular income to support their ministry. One is a real estate agent and denominational director of church planting, another a firefighter and pastor of a growing rural congregation, still another an insurance salesman and preacher.

Personally, I have enjoyed the challenge, but it isn't easy. The part-time approach to pastoring is filled with both peril and promise.

The perils

The first disadvantage is that people often forget your job description reads, "part-time." Part-time or full-time, to them you are the pastor. And, since many churchgoers assume that no pastor actually works full-time, it really makes no practical difference to them anyway. In fact, as my wife puts it, "You are part-time ...

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