Kathleen Owens: Empowering the Full Body of Christ

This is one of a series of video posts from the authors of Bivocational and Beyond: Educating for Thriving Multivocational Ministry (forthcoming April 2022). This book is an edited volume for church leaders and those that teach and support them. Contributors include bivocational pastors and other reflective practitioners as well as theological educators and researchers.

Kathleen Owens, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is former moderator of the John Knox Presbytery in Wisconsin.

In Chapter 13, “Empowering the Full Body of Christ,” Kathleen Owens aims to equip the full body of Christ for ministry using the variety of gifts, or charisms, found in all members. She employs the image of the Body of Christ, as developed by Paul in the early church and invoked by Luther during the Reformation, to guide the church through times of great technological and societal shifts, such as today. The church still needs people trained for various forms of ministry; changing, argues Owens, is the need for all these skills to be found primarily in one person. She proposes a new model of theological education, empowering the full Body of Christ through discernment of gifts, education and training, and ongoing support and accountability. The transition from full-time to part-time, or bivocational, pastorates offers the church an opportunity to utilize existing educational resources to empower and equip members with specific gifts for ministry. Bivocational pastors need the partnership and support of seminaries and middle-judicatory leaders in this effort.

For resources on bivocational and multivocational ministry, see the book’s webpage.