Thom Rainer observes that “over two thirds of American churches have a worship attendance under 100” (The New Very Large Church). In another post, Rainer shows that numbers indicate, “more pastors and staff will become bi-vocational and co-vocational” in 2023 (Ten Major Trends for Local Churches in America in 2023). The terms he uses in this last post are similar, but not synonymous. However, without getting into the details of the terms, what they do have in common is that these types of pastors (co-vocational and bi-vocational) serve the church while also earning compensation from outside employment opportunities.

What Do These Numbers Tell Us About the Challenges These Church Leaders Will Face?

First, the growth in co-vocational and bi-vocational ministry means that a pastor’s time will be limited. This means that systems, processes, structures, automations, volunteer development, leadership development, and policies will need to be efficient to assist those who serve in these capacities. To be honest, many pastors across the spectrum struggle in these types of administrative areas making their jobs more difficult to perform, but the co-vocational and bi-vocational pastor may have less time to allot to these tasks.

Second, resources are limited. Smaller churches have a smaller allotment of resources. This means that some churches can’t spend astronomical numbers to hire outside consulting firms for guidance even if they think they need it. Smaller churches will need budget friendly and flexible options to help either the organization or their pastor.

Third, many of these pastors need further training in the various areas of pastoral ministry, which will be complicated due to the nature of their positions. Pastoral ministry is a process of being a life-long learner. Yet, time and monetary restrictions will make this a difficult task for many co-vocational and bi-vocational pastors. Many pastors want to be further trained and developed, but they desire this training in their own terms.

Fourth, with over two thirds of churches in America having a worship attendance of under 100, they will need coaches and consultants who know what it is like to serve at these size churches. In other words, these pastors and churches need people to help them with experience and knowledge from serving in similar contexts. Churches smaller in size bring a variety of issues that need to be solved with patience, wisdom, prayer, and a sound strategy.

How I Want to Help You

With over ten years of ministry experience in a variety of contexts, I would like to help you and your church if you fit any of the criteria above. One of my pastoral roles and passions is building systems and structures in churches–I would be glad to provide you with references. However, this is not me handing you a structure or system as a generic template, but rather spending time with you, your staff, or your church body to help you build processes that will make your job more efficient and by God’s grace, see his church grow.

In addition, I will work within your budget and the budget of your organization. We can negotiate an agreement for me to come alongside you in your current ministry context to either help you think through various issues your church may be facing (consulting) or to create a plan for you personally in your own development (coaching). This means I can help you build budgets or develop staff meetings or volunteer procedures or provide an analysis of your current place of ministry or spend time helping you grow in the areas of leadership, theology, or pastoral ministry.

Why Would I Do This?

One of my mentors once asked me what I believe God’s calling on my life is in as few words as possible. My response, “To use my gifts to serve the church and help others grow closer to God.” To do that, God allowed me to grow in my leadership and administrative capabilities in the United States Marine Corps. Serving as the second in charge of the largest recruiting station in the nation taught me a ton about executive level leadership and how to build systems and structures to be efficient with my time as I managed and was responsible for a vast amount of administrative areas and large recruiting quotas. Perhaps I could be a source to help you in your current ministry context.

Secondly, I have served churches from about 50 to over 200 and served as a director at a seminary, and earned degrees ranging from a Bachelor of Science, two Masters, and an academic doctorate (PhD) in theological studies. May the Lord allow me to use this knowledge to help others grow in the learning process–i.e., leadership, theology, pastoral ministry, or ethics–so that they may be better equipped to serve the Lord and his Bride.

Your Next Steps:

Let me close by asking this question, “How can I serve you to maximize the calling God has placed upon you and the church you serve?” If you think I could help you through coaching or consulting, contact me at jeremy@beimitators.com to schedule a free one-on-one phone call. If I am unable to help you, I would be glad to point you to others who have the resources or expertise to assist you with your current ministry need.

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