Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Need for Bi-vocational Presbyterian Pastors in West Virginia

Thinking recently about how difficult it is to locate Pastors for some PCA churches in West Virginia. Many churches are so small they cannot afford to employ a pastor full time.  This means that their pastors must be bi-vocational--working a secular job to provide for their needs while pastoring the church on the side. Tent-makers after the model of Paul the Apostle.   No doubt other parts of the country have a similar problem.

Even starting new churches is difficult, especially since it is difficult to raise the money within our borders to sustain a full-time church organizer.  Raising money outside our borders is even more difficult.  The result is that many of our small churches do not have pastors and there are very few new churches being planted within our state.  This is sad, because our state needs a strong Reformed presence.  I believe the Reformed Baptists face the same problem.

It is difficult to find people with established careers and solid employment who can take the time to gain the qualifications necessary to become pastors.  So I wonder whether a better alternative would be to ask the Lord to work it the other way around--raise up qualified, ordained pastors who are willing to work bi-vocationally.  Instead of hoping that laymen with jobs will go through the years of education and training necessary to be ordained, perhaps ordained pastors should consider gaining qualifications to work secularly.  The track for either would be difficult, but it seems to me that the track for the latter would probably be easier than for the former.  Regardless, without more bi-vocational pastors and church planters, our State will continue to struggle to fill pulpits and plant churches.

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