Home > Weekend Wonderings > Weekend Wonderings: Greek and Bivocational Ministry

Weekend Wonderings: Greek and Bivocational Ministry

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. So, it is with great pleasure I bring you two Weekend Wonderings as we move more fully into summer!

First, new SBTS professor Jim Hamilton writes a post that shivered me timbers. In Reading the Greek New Testament, he said:

If you decide to read through the Greek New Testament, be careful. The things in that book got most of its authors killed, and when people have taken it seriously in the history of the church, crazy things like the reformation have happened and some folks even got themselves burned at the stake.

The Greek New Testament is decidedly unsafe. If you embrace it, you will be hated (see John 15:18-20). To paraphrase Lester De Koster: there it is, throbbing on your desk, the living word of God.
(HT: Said at Southern)

Man, I do love me some Greek.

Second, Gordan Runyan of the aptly titled Reformed Mafia writes Top Ten Small-Church Pastor Challenges (Part 1), and in so doing hits the nail squarely on the head about bivocational pastors like me. He says:

1. Time.

There’s never enough of it. I’m sure this is true of all pastors, but it is particularly true for small-church pastors. There aren’t enough hours in the day. (You should hear a little whiny tone as you read the following sentence…) It is even more true for bivocational pastors.

It’s become fashionable and accepted as an axiom among exegetically-minded preachers that you should do one hour of sermon preparation for every minute you intend to preach. I generally shoot for about 30 minutes on a Sunday morning. (I know, that makes me a light-weight to all you hardcore Reformed giants out there.) But then on Sunday evenings, it’s generally closer to 40 minutes or so.

If I’m to follow the axiom here, that adds up to 70 hours worth of sermon prep time during the week, on top of 40 at my “day job,” on top of hoping to be a decent husband and father before all of that.

It’s the first time I’ve actually sat down and put numbers on it, but I’ve got to tell you, now I understand why I’m so sleepy all the time.

To be honest, I’m just an average middle-aged guy, fighting Dunlop’s Disease and watching my hair go away, and I simply can’t do all of that, not all the time. So what gets trimmed back? What suffers, time-wise? Well, sadly, all of it, except my day job, which can demand time and threaten consequences for not meeting the demand.

I don’t spend the time with my family that I’d like to spend. I don’t get enough hours of sleep every night. I don’t get enough “alone” time where it’s just me and the Lord. I don’t get enough book-time in sermon prep. I hardly do any visitation at all. I don’t get enough exercise. Yikes. What I do get is exhausted. Got plenty o’ that, thanks.

Now, keep in mind that I work 3rd shift at UPS, in management, and perhaps you might grimace. Gordan’s post is a good example of what I call Stephen’s First Law of Ministry: only the pastor’s family sees what really happens in the pastor’s life as a result of ministry. I will be spending the day alone with my wife today for that very reason. That’s right, alone. Grace is going to Grandma’s for the day. 🙂

Enjoy your weekend, and go have a cookout somewhere.

  1. Steve Dye
    June 4, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    GOtta love our women, eh! I hear ya man! When I was bivocational, it was hard. I praise you and all the other bivocational pastors. I know, been there, done that. But its gotta be a rewarding experience when they get to Heaven, its gotta be

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