by Thom Rainer
As predicted, this is a trend which those preparing for priesthood should be aware of as Christian exclusion increases.
They are appearing on the scene quietly.
Not many pundits are noticing the emerging trend. They are a different kind of bivocational pastor.
The traditional bivocational pastor, by common definition, serves churches that are unable to compensate a pastor with fulltime pay. These pastors are incredible servants who fill a huge need among American congregations.
The new bivocational pastor is similar to the traditional bivocational pastor with some key differences. To avoid confusion, I refer to this new role as the marketplace pastor. Here, then, are eight characteristics of marketplace pastors:
- The marketplace pastor serves in churches that could offer fulltime compensation to the pastor, but they choose not to do so. This difference is key. Both the pastor and the church have decided that the pastor will be bivocational, even though the church could pay full compensation.
- Marketplace pastors get their name by their desire to stay in the marketplace with one of their vocations. One pastor noted he gets over 20 opportunities each month to share the Gospel because he kept his marketplace vocation.
- Marketplace pastors tend to have extraordinary leadership skills.They utilize those skills effectively in both of their vocations.
- These pastors have a high work capacity. This position is not for everyone. These leaders must take on a huge volume of responsibilities.
- These pastors will have long tenures. They are not financially dependent on the church; they are thus able to lead change and deal with the consequences, resulting in longer tenure.
- Marketplace pastors will be able to deal with critics more freely.Because these pastors are not financially dependent on the church, marketplace pastors have a great deal more freedom dealing with critics and problem church members.
- Marketplace pastors will be serving in a wide range of churches of varying sizes. By definition, the churches will be large enough to compensate a pastor fulltime, even though they choose not to do so. The range of church size by worship attendance will be 300 to 3,000. The greatest concentration of these pastors will be in churches with worship attendance ranging from 1,000 to 1,999.
- Marketplace pastors will get their ministry and theological training online. Bible colleges and seminaries will do well to begin to prepare for this new and growing vocation.
I see the marketplace pastor trend as a very healthy movement in American congregations. We will soon see many attorneys, physicians, and key businesspersons who will continue in their marketplace jobs while serving a church as well.
Let me hear your perspective. Do you see this future in marketplace pastors too?