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November 16, 2017

Bivocational Research

By Daniel Im

*Plus Members can listen to this entire Behind-The-Scenes interview by logging in and clicking here.

The Numbers Tell Us a Story

An integral part of research is gathering data. These numbers tell us a story. At LifeWay Research, McConnell, along with others, gathers information about culture and the church and uses that data to help the church understand the culture in which we today. This quantitative research gives them their bearing to better understand the stories behind the numbers. With bivocational ministry becoming a more prevalent means of doing ministry, LifeWay Research has gathered some helpful insight into what bivocational ministry looks like today. I got to speak with McConnell about some of the dynamics and pressures that a church planter will face if they are bivocational.

Why Bivocational Ministry?

Simply stated, bivocational ministry means you have another job, in addition to serving as a pastor. The research tells us that over half of all church planters are bivocational today. Whether it is driving Uber 10 hours a week or owning a side business, planters are becoming more and more familiar with multitasking (or at least considering it). The majority of the time, they are needing to take on additional work outside the church to support their families financially. However, other times, this is an intentional strategy for ministry.

Not only does bivocational ministry help with finances, but it also opens doors to ministering outside the church walls. Research shows that pastors and planters that choose to work a non-church related job are frequently exposed to their communities, giving them an evangelistic advantage. Additionally, this exposure seasons their understanding of those they are trying to reach.

To read the remainder of this article and to listen to the entire Behind-The-Scenes segment with Scott McConnell, click here for the full post.

This video is part of Plus Membership. To get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.

To learn more about this research or to learn practical tips for serving in bivocational ministry, check out our Bivocational Ministry course, featuring McConnell, Hugh Halter, Ed Stetzer, and more.


  • “Pastors equip people for ministry. Is that something we just know, or is that our actual attitude toward ministry?”
  • “Always have connections with missional efforts because it fosters a culture of being outwardly focused on reaching people for Christ.”
  • The research tells us that over half of all church planters are bivocational today.

Additional Resources


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.


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