How It All Began

Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church is an initiative of the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry providing support to part-time, multivocational and not-paid-to-scale pastors in their own context.

A survey of District Executives in 2018 found that approximately 77% of Church of the Brethren congregational pastors serve in less-than full-time pastoral roles.

One of the challenges of part-time, multivocational and not-paid-to-scale pastors is that their multiple vocational commitments make scheduling, meeting, and travel especially hard. Part-time pastors are often unable to take advantage of district or denominational gatherings or resources because they cannot take vacation time from their second job, can’t afford the travel, or are simply don’t have time to add one more event into a week’s schedule. Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church supports and resources to strengthen skills and practices available in ways that address this particular challenge.

Survey Results

The first step in unrolling this new program was to commission a large-scale, qualitative and quantitative survey of all the denomination’s part-time, multivocational pastors. CRANE Metamarketing, Inc. created and interpreted the survey process. Invitations were issued to 600 pastors, and approximately half participated. Here’s some of what we learned:

  • 65% of multivocational pastors in the Church of the Brethren serve as solo pastors. 20% are part of a ministry team, 9% share a pastoral position with their spouse, and 7% serve in “second staff” roles.
  • 73% of multivocational pastors are over age 55.
  • 23% of multivocational pastors have another part-time job. 22% hav a full-time job in addition to their congregational work, and 11% have more than one job in addition to ministry.
  • 39% of multivocational pastors in the Church of the Brethren supplement their ministry salary with retirement income of some kind.
  • Most multivocational pastors (56%) serve congregations that are made up of mostly middle-aged and/or elderly members with very few teens or children.

The most mentioned needs of multivocational pastors included financial support, opportunities to connect with other bi-vocational ministers, training opportunities for specific kinds of pastoral counseling, and resources to help educate congregations about part-time ministry and its implications.

Advisory Committee

Mayra Calix, multivocational pastor from the Atlantic Northeast District
Jen Jensen, Thriving in Ministry Program Manager
Kris Hawk, District Executive in Northern Ohio District
Nancy Heishman, Director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry
Mark Kell, multivocational pastor from the Northern Ohio District
Ben Lattimer, representative of the COB Ministers’ Association, and a pastor from Middle PA district
Janet Ober Lambert, Director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership
Steve Schweitzer, Academic Dean at Bethany Theological Seminary
Walt Wiltschek, District Executive of Illinois and Wisconsin District