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    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    Bi-Vocational Youth Ministry

    It's funny how, when I typed into google images: "bi-vocational ministry" this little lego guy juggling legos popped up. I liked it and thought it true that bi-vocational ministry is a lot like juggling.

    I've recently re-entered the bi-vocational world and it is harder than I remembered. I was a full time pastor for a little over a year, and in that time I forgot about my "bi-vo" days. Now, I know that this is only the beginning of my new "bi-vo" time and it will get easier as time goes by for me to figure things out and re-organize my life, ministry and work schedule.

    One of the major benefits to this new development is the fact that I can get a 50% discount at Chili's, since I work there now! I now take all my students to Chili's when I take them out to eat. It is now only SLIGHTLY more expensive than McDonald's, so it's a nice treat for the teens. I believe in relational youth ministry and for me a HUGE piece of that is one-on-one time with students eating and talking.

    One of the disadvantages to bi-vo ministry so far has been my time with my wife. This is an area I desperately need to find a way to manage. I have spent very little time with my wife since starting my bi-vo time. One of the ideas I had was to go to my wife's work (she's a 2nd Grade teacher) and have lunch with her on days that this is possible. I think this will show her how much I care and also will allow us to spend some time together.

    Another advantage to bi-vo ministry has been my time to write...well not yet but I believe it will be soon. I have about 4-5 hours by the time I wake up until the time I need to be at Chili's for the lunch shift (the times change). This leaves those open hours for my writing and reading. This excites me because I need my time to write out my thoughts, and read some good books that will aid me in my journey to getting closer to God.

    The reason I'm writing this blog is to share will everyone, including Bi-Vo or Full time Youth Pastors that bi-vo ministry is possible and it can be a good thing. I was reading Rev-Magazine about 3 months ago where they discussed the issue of bi-vocational Youth Ministry and I remember laughing at it, scoffing at the idea...little did I know God was ready to humble my haughty position.

    Being a man with a passion for cities, I recognize my Urban Youth Pastor brothers are mostly bi-vo youth guys. They have to put less time into their youth than I do and they still run successful, Christ-filled Ministries that are not only growing in their relationship with Christ, but numerically as well. This whole event of going back down to part-time has really changed my perspective on a lot of things...especially bi-vo ministry. I hope that we can cultivate an attitude as Youth Pastors and leaders that will help guys like me who find themselves in bi-vo ministry.

    What ideas can you think of that would bring about some effective assistance to bi-vo ministries? Maybe some ideas to help minister to us who are in bi-vocational Youth Ministry?

    Also, don't be like me who so easily scoffed at Bi-vocational Youth Ministry...it is a necessary piece of our churches and if the Rev Magazine is right, we are soon going to be seeing a lot more bi-vo ministers than we have in a long time...


    Wreckless Abandon said...

    I really feel that in situations like these, and in normal youth ministry as a whole, that the concept of team is vitally important. Being purposeful and prayerful in the people you choose and develop to help relieve the burden of running a successful youth program can do wonders for your effectiveness. I am a huge advocate of this principal, even to the point that developing the youth into the leaders and allowing the adult volunteers to be your eyes and ears over different areas. It creates ownership and gives you more time to concentrate on the vision God has given you for the youth.

    Just my two cents.

    Marv Nelson said...

    @ Wreckless Abandon
    Thanks and you are ABSOLUTELY right. One of the things I did as soon as I was full time was develop a Leadership Team. They OWN what we do and they lead a lot of things that we do. They even come up with a ton of ideas for games, events and outreach opportunities. When I first started in YM, I was a solo shooter. God has since humbled me and shown me the utter importance of team.

    The hard part for me NOW is I'm losing the team I created...my leaders are moving and my super independent students are graduating. Pray that God will show me the new team, and people to raise up.