The Dilemma of a Bi-vocational Pastor

Darryl Williamson | May 25, 2017

In the final scene of the film Risen, after Jesus ascends into heaven, the disciples go out to spread the gospel with new purpose in their lives. As they’re departing, Peter asks Clavius, the Roman military tribune, “Will you join us in Jerusalem? This Spirit we are promised, we are called to receive it!” Confused by this declaration of a new vocation, Clavius asks, “But you are called to be a fisherman.” Peter replies, “Aye, for men! How can I now do anything else?”

Peter’s single-minded focus seems consistent with Jesus’s words about what it means to follow him. In Mark 12, Jesus gives the rich young ruler, a man divided between his faith and his wealth, a new commandment—one requiring all his life to be subject to Jesus. The message is clear: The lordship of Christ demands a life of devotion, and all competing good things must fall in line behind him and his cause.

Feeling Conflicted 

Paul teaches that the life of a minister should exemplify wholehearted devotion to God. To support this all-consuming vocation, the church should financially support his work: “The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should make their living by the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14). 


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