By Steve Matthews, FaithX Senior Missional Consultant
Across the US, churches are discerning how to continue their ministries (and stay open) as many experience decreased attendance and giving. Some churches have addressed this issue by decreasing the hours and salaries for their priests and pastors, which often means that the pastor needs to find other work to maintain their needed income. Thus, these priests are often referred to as “bi-vocational.” Some churches with bi-vocational leaders find ways to continue their ministry in sustainable ways. Some thrive, and some see this as the beginning of the end — increasingly scaling back on their ministry as their income and human resources dwindle.
It is common for churches to believe they are clergy-dependent. The ecclesial water in which many of us swim suggests that seminary trained leaders can and should lead our congregations – setting visions and priorities, offering prophetic sermons and compelling worship, visiting the sick, increasing membership, growing stewardship. Is this model sustainable? Is it even desirable?[Read more…]