Nobody talks about their second rodeo. Instead, everybody tells you it’s not their first. First rodeos are over-rated. Mine was a full-time paid pastorate at a megachurch, and it prepared me for nothing out in the real world. My second rodeo was probably the big game changer for me in regards to going bivocational as a minister. Besides, my first rodeo wasn’t as cool as my second. That’s usually the case. Over the years, I’ve had to develop a system of moving forward without having to start over every time. Bi-vocational planting is the rage right now, but the problem is that few who are telling us it is the way of the future, have actually done it in the past. Everybody wants to talk about church multiplication, but nobody wants to live like a multiplier. Multipliers live like missionaries. They leave family, friends, and funds. You want to be a multiplier? Kiss Your Best Life Now Goodbye, because you’re not getting the mansion of a megachurch t.v. preacher. There are financial considerations for this lifestyle, as well as family strains and tensions. Paul himself was unmarried, but what does it look like for someone who is balancing life, work, and family? After 17 years of bivocational ministry in hard-bitten soil, from Industrial Europe to inner City America, I’ve learned to minister on the move, weigh priorities, and balance a bunch of factors in the struggle to pay my bills so I could preach the gospel. Those who haven’t worked with their hands to do so still seem to have a lot to say with their mouths.
When I accidentally planted in a European Starbucks I was working as a barista. I thought I had “failed” as a minister. Hard for you to believe, but I never really fit in with other Pastors. I made jokes nobody got, and wore the wrong clothes. Oh…scratch that. What I mean is that Christians and Pastors didn’t seem to get me. But lost people? It was like we were singing off the same hymn sheet; drinking the same coolaid. Perhaps all the years as a factory worker, firefighter, psych nurse, or barista had taken its toll on me. Little did I know that God was about to use me bi-vocationally to revolutionize my understanding of ministry by planting a church there with 50 non-believers. These combined experiences reforged me into a serial, bi-vocational church planter who has never looked back.
I’m always amazed at how far from the 1st century we’ve let things get. It’s standard practice for church planters and missionaries to be fully funded before they’re released into the mission field. Like the old school flannel-graph fundraising thermometer, the red line has to reach 100% funded before we’ll allow people to launch out. Paul didn’t wait around for Christians to fund him. Instead, he worked with his own hands so that he could go anywhere at any time. The overreliance on funding holds us back from going.
I imagine that some pastors reading this feel trapped by the very church that they planted. After all, the money is finally good, the church is thriving, but they are bored. And what really held them back from venturing out on a new adventure is a paycheck.
To quote me:
“The recurring pattern in my life has been that I’ve never really been effective in ministry until I’ve left full-time vocational ministry. What if our ideas of “ministry” are keeping us from reaching the people right outside our doors? The key to success for Paul was that he got out there. Paul didn’t have the luxury of rolling up to a city with a sexy logo, flashy website, and rented space. He buried himself in the marketplace, immersed in crowds of people, not in a clandestine cell lined with books, cloistered away in a drywall fortress, guarded by receptionists, secretaries, interns, and associates, like ministerial royalty”
What if there was a better way?
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.