Thoughts from a bi-vocational pastor

It’s been over two months since I’ve started my second job working at the hospital as a patient sitter. It’s time for some reflective thoughts on the journey thus far…

  • I am surprised at how my Christian faith compels me to acts of mercy. Things I would not have imagined myself doing, like wiping eye boogers from the eyes of sick patients, holding the hand of lonely and confused patients, helping to clean patients, etc. I now do… and I can’t help but do them. It’s as if I see the need and am compelled to meet the need. I’m confident that this is not a normal “Paul response” but rather the result of Jesus working in and through me. WOW!
  • I sleep less than I used to but I still accomplish the most important things (dating all of my ladies, exercising, basic spiritual disciplines, reading, pastoring, etc.). This second job has forced me to prioritize and act on those priorities.
  • It’s neat to work outside of the church. As a pastor it’s easy to get swallowed up in the church world so that everything you do and everyone you know is connected to the church. After a while, if you’re not careful, you forget what it’s like to be like the man or woman who comes to your church. They don’t think, read, talk, and breathe church like you do. I’ve typically staved off the “swallowing effect” of church life by things like: gym membership, doing office work at local coffee shops and restaurants, etc., but this is an entirely new and effective means of getting outside of the “pastor mind set” (which by the way is not necessarily a bad thing… as long as one doesn’t forget that it is a unique one).
  • It’s neat to be a “nobody”. In the church I’m a “somebody.” Everyone wants to meet with, talk with, hear from or speak to the pastor. That has nothing to do with me… every pastor experiences this phenomenon. If we’re not careful this can go to our heads. We (i.e. pastors) live in a small world (the local church) where we fill kind of a “big” role. Being in an environment with several hundred employees and several hundred patients is completely different! No one cares much what a “Patient Sitter” thinks and not many people are lined up outside of my office to talk with me… oh, that’s right… patient sitters don’t have offices!
  • Working outside of the church gives me a great opportunity to sharpen my “faith sharing” skills. As a pastor everyone expects you to barge into conversations with “Hey, let me proselytize you… then baptize you.” As a patient sitter no one sees it coming! It’s been fun to share with people (after they ask) how my life has changed because of Jesus!
  • Working outside of the local church has done a couple of things for me: 1) it has made me realize how much I love the local church (in my case it is Church180)! 2) It has helped me realize that ministry is so much bigger than standing in front of people and preaching!
I’m grateful to God and Piedmont for this chance to step outside of my normal environment, serve people, make a little extra income, and see how God works outside of the church environment!

 

2 thoughts on “Thoughts from a bi-vocational pastor

  1. This is great. Are you newly bivocational? I’m on staff at a church in Western New York (I see you were in Batavia at one point. That’s not too far from me) but I’m itching to shift into bivocational mode. Shooting for an online business of some kind (think: tentmaker meets 4-hour work week). I’m not sure why. Kind of resonates with me.

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