A big amen to my fellow School of Theology grad Pastor David Hansen on this one:
Simple logic would suggest that when we say “bi-vocational” we mean someone who is living into two of these vocations, two of these life-giving, joy-filled callings.
But we don’t.
When we say “bivocational” the most common meaning is someone who has (1) vocation that gives them life and joy and (2) a different job that gives them a paycheck.
Notice: Not a second vocation. A job. A paycheck.
That’s what we most often mean by suggesting bivocational ministry: “Do this ministry that is your vocation. And then go find a paycheck doing some other job.”
There are exceptions to this – people who genuinely live into the vocation of congregational ministry and a second vocation. That is a beautiful and also a rare thing.
There are also people who faithfully serve by having a job that pays (which they may or may not enjoy) while also serving in an unpaid or underpaid ministry position. And that is also a wonderful thing when (1) the individual knows full well what they are getting into and (2) the congregation is honest about what is going on.
But that is not what usually happens.