Giving youth pastors the tools they need to make and shape disciples.

Balance and Boundaries: Bi-Vocational Ministry Done Right Part 1

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I am, currently, a bi-vocational youth worker. I have held this title before so I am well versed in it’s demands. For me it boils down to keeping these two elements in line, balance and boundaries.


Have you ever tried to balance a see-saw? You have to have the right amount of weight on each side for that board to achieve an equilibrium. It’s fun to try to balance it but absolute balance is never really achieved. I think that is the first thing a Bi-vocational minister should give up, the belief that perfect balance can be achieved.

Yes there will be times you will feel that life and ministry is balanced, until a bird lands on one side of the see-saw to throw everything off.

Let me begin with offering three tips for balancing, the best you can, the fickle see-saw of ministry.

Balance your emotions

There will be times when you are feeling like you are not giving any area of your life your best which results in guilt. You should never feel guilty for serving your family more than you serve the church. In serving you family you are being a good example to your students.

There will be those who might question your commitment, you may even question yourself, but guilt is not something you should carry because God has not called you to be a savior or a super hero, he called you to serve to the best of your ability. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for doing your best, in fact, I would challenge those people to get out here in the fields and help with the harvest.

Balance your time

You may be working a job that pays the bills and have position that pays something or near nothing or you may be doing if for free, which I do not recommend. Your time is worth something and your Pastor should recognize that. Don’t be afraid to say no to things your Pastor requests if it interferes with your bill paying job.

The key to getting things done, is giving away as much of the ministry as possible. Equip the saints for the work of the ministry and you will have more time, less burden and get more done.

Your students will understand if you can’t go to camp because of your regular job. Your regular job may not understand if you want to take time off to go to camp. Keep the job that makes the family work.

Balance your expectations

You may be dreaming of getting out of your regular job to do youth ministry full time and that’s awesome, but your church may not be ready to hire you full time. I would also add, I don’t know if your youth ministry would benefit from you being full time. If you think, “If I was just full time, this ministry would grow”, I would challenge that.

Your ministry isn’t small because you’re not faithful.

Your ministry isn’t dynamic because you’re not giving your best.

If I was full time at my church it wouldn’t change a thing. My students would still be who they are. The church would still be who they were. There are plenty of churches, under 100 people with full time pastors. Time isn’t the factor you think it is. God moves in lots of ministries where no one is full time.

Balance the expectations of yourself. You plant, you water, God brings the growth.

The major work of the world is not done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people, with balance in their lives, who have learned to work in an extraordinary manner. Gordon B. Hinckley

Read part two where I tackle building proper boundaries with your church, your youth and your family.

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