Church staffing is undergoing a seismic shift. Part-time positions are becoming increasingly popular. Bi-vocational positions have always existed, particularly in smaller churches. Some estimates reveal over half of all pastors are bi-vocational. They are many, but they get only a fraction of the attention given to pastors of larger churches. They receive little recognition, but they are the workhorses of churches that do much of the heavy lifting.
There will be more—not less—part-time pastors and church leaders in the future. In fact, the movement is already underway.
Part-time vocational ministry is becoming the norm. At Church Answers, we estimate there are around one million part-time pastors and staff in North America. This trend is not always due to financial limitations. Some staff choose to be part-time, a reality we call “co-vocational ministry” or “marketplace pastors.” People serving in co-vocational roles purposely choose to have two jobs, mainly because of a desire to have a workplace mission field.
This shift did not occur overnight. Nor was it prompted by the pandemic. But this church staffing movement has accelerated in the last couple of years.
This trend excites me. As a co-vocational pastor, I’m biased, but I believe this movement is healthy.
At Church Answers, we spent two years developing a new resource to help equip and train pastors and church leaders with this movement in mind. Here are a few trends we see developing:
- Self-paced education and training will increase in popularity.
- More church staff will be hired who do not have formal theological training but will seek it after moving into a role.
- Affordability and attainability are two key factors in choosing training. Many cannot afford to spend tens of thousands over several years.
- Certifications have been popular in the business world and other fields. However, they are beginning to catch quickly in the church world.
With these trends in mind, we created Church Answers University (CAU). An affordable, accessible, and attainable way to train and equip church staff. Not only do we believe this ministry certification is perfect for bi-vocational and co-vocational church staff, but we also believe it works well for those in full-time ministry. For example, when I worked in the financial services industry full-time, I regularly sought additional certifications to further my knowledge. My bosses expected me to do these courses and certifications even though I had a degree in finance.
What is Church Answers University?
Church Answers University is an online training institution that offers ministry certifications designed for today’s church leaders. Each certification is comprised of ten courses that include video training from experienced Christian leaders and scholars, a course textbook, and digital learning guides.
What makes Church Answers University different?
Church Answers University offers an exciting and innovative path toward ministry training and certification that is affordable, accessible, and attainable. CAU is flexible and efficient without sacrificing a quality education. A certification is specific and streamlined, while a degree includes more general courses. Church Answers University seeks to offer quality Christian education for those who desire further training without the cost and time commitment of a degree.
We even offer a group model with lower tuition rates for churches that have multiple people enrolled in CAU through our Ministry Training Centers.
Your books are included! There is no additional cost for textbooks. And we offer low monthly payment plans!
What certifications are offered by Church Answers University?
This year we launched with two certifications: Certification in Christian Ministry and Certification in Women’s Discipleship.
What if you could access foundational ministry preparation on any device, at any time, from anywhere in the world? What if your training included free textbooks? What if a certification could be completed in six to nine months?
Does it sound too good to be true? With Church Answers University, it is possible!
Want to learn more about this subject? Check out these resources: “The Changing Landscape of Ministry Education and Training” and “Why We Are Launching Church Answers University.”
Posted on November 16, 2022
As President of Church Answers, Sam Rainer wears many hats. From podcast co-host to full-time Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Church, Sam’s heart for ministry and revitalization are evident in all he does.
More from Sam