Voices Bivocational

Bivocational/small-church ministry is vital

Are you a small-church pastor or minister? Are you the spouse or child of a small-church pastor or minister? If you are, I want you to know you are not alone. In our state, there are over 3,500 Texas Baptist ministers who serve in the small-church ministry.

What does this mean? It means you are vital to our Lord in building up his kingdom.

richard ray130Richard RayI remember growing up watching my father serve as a pastor in a small country church in Fairy. I saw how he balanced his time by putting bread on our table and providing the Bread of Life from the pulpit. Each Sunday, we would travel 85 miles to church, where he would preach and minister to the congregation and its community.

It was on a particular September Sunday as I was again sitting on the second row waiting for my father to finish preaching that God showed me just how important my father was to him. I recall looking at my father preaching and thinking about all he does for our family and the church family. At the time, I was unfamiliar with the word “bivocational,” even though my father was clearly bivocational. But what I did understand was that my father loved what he was doing. My father was called by God to serve this small country church.

A passion for victories

God has instilled that love in me and in many of you, and for that I am proud to say I serve the Lord as a bivocational/small-church minister. I understand that for a minister to serve in the small church, you must have a passion for victories. You must be willing to give your time and energy to your home and to your church. You must be able to learn on the go as you balance life and ministry to the point that they become one. I often compare serving the Lord as serving in the military.

I served our country more than five years in the U.S. Air Force during the time of Desert Storm. It was during those days that I trained to manage multiple missions at once. Each mission was important and vital to the overall efforts of the operation. The Air Force called it “on-the-job training.” I saw 18- to 20-year-olds working on million-dollar aircraft and creating war plans and strategies to defeat the enemy. I witnessed young men and women willing to do what was necessary so victory could be achieved.

Each is important

Today, in our small Texas Baptist churches, we have ministers who need to understand how important and vital they are to the overall efforts of God’s plan. These ministers are creating plans and strategies to defeat the enemy so victory can be achieved in the souls of man. Each small-church minister is important to the overall efforts of God’s operation.

As the president of the Bivocational/Small Church Association, I want you to know if you have been called by the Lord to serve in the small-church mission field, you are not alone. We as an association are here to serve alongside you as an advocate for small-church ministers and their families. We understand what it is to serve in the small church, and we want to assist you as you serve by providing ready-to-use resources, fellowship with other small-church ministers and assistance in time of need.

In the upcoming articles, I will share with you about how our association can assist you, I will share stories of victories from your fellow ministers, and I will offer up prayer concerns for those in need.

Until next time, please visit our website:

Richard Ray is president of Bivocational/Small Church Association, pastor of First Baptist Church in Wink and director of missions for Pecos Valley Baptist Association. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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