Bivocational and Beyond

Intentional bivocational ministry requires bringing your whole self into service for others, in the workplace and at church.

When you seek resonance with the transcendent in all areas of your life, you have achieved a multivocational mindset.

Bivocational and Beyond: Educating for Thriving Multivocational Ministry is an open access, 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.

Bivocational and Beyond: Educating for Thriving Multivocational Ministry is available open access at Books@Atla Open Press or for purchase on Amazon.

A feature publication of the American Academy of Religion.

“an ambitious, informative resource that delves into the complexity and diversity of bivocational ministry”

Heather Grennan Gary, In Trust Magazine, Fall 2022.

“Bivocational and Beyond offers an insightful and solidly researched entrée into the strange new landscape of part-time and bivocational ministry, not as an indicator of failure in the metrics of numbers and money, but as a rich, new possibility for calling forth Christ’s people in God’s mission.”

Ross Bartlett, Reading Religion, April 2023.

Bivocational and Beyond is an ideal resource for church leaders, aspiring church leaders, and for those that teach, mentor, and support such leaders, including mentors, practical theologians, and the governing bodies of religious organizations.

Anne-Marie Ellithorpe, Vancouver School of Theology, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, Summer 2023

Advance Praise for Bivocational and Beyond

“The three-fold structure of the book—landscape, leadership, and learning—offers a comprehensive analysis of bivocational ministry that is badly needed. The blending of researchers and practitioners gives this volume a substantive discussion of bivocational ministry we have not had before. . . . Make full use of this resource to learn and assess clues for your future!”
— Dr. Lovett H. Weems Jr., Distinguished Professor of Church Leadership and Founding Director/Senior Consultant of the G. Douglass Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Wesley Theological Seminary

“For congregations with a history of professional clergy, the emphasis on the priesthood of all believers will address the invitation scripture provides that all are called to make disciples and carry out the mission of the church.”
— The Rev. Dr. SanDawna Gaulman Ashley, Transitional Synod Leader, Synod of the Northeast, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Bivocational and Beyond is a comprehensive discussion of bi/multivocational ministry that offers cultural insights on multivocational ministry beyond the mainline church purview, while noting the challenges such ministries present to congregations and educational institutions. . . . a solid reference for any minister or congregation considering the possibilities that may be beneficial from a broader view of collaborative ministry.”
— The Rev. Dr. Renée C. Jackson, Minister for Ministerial Formation, United Church of Christ National Offices

Bivocational and Beyond is a crucial book for this pivotal moment in church history. It brings into focus the unmet educational needs that surface, both for clergy and laity, in settings where a pastor brings a bivocational or multivocational approach. Bivocational and Beyond does a masterful service by exposing the vast gap between what’s needed and what’s actually provided in higher theological education today.”
— G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Author, Part-Time is Plenty: Thriving without Full-Time Clergy

“Darryl W. Stephens opens a world of exposure through this edited volume that has the potential of radically reshaping theological education as we know it. This work is quite timely, considering the changing landscape of theological education—prompted by shifts in academy-denominational relationships, declining memberships in many Catholic and Protestant denominations, the browning of student populations in ATS institutions, feedback from ATS graduating student questionnaires about their expectations around ministry options, and recent pedagogical and curricular designs prompted by the impact of COVID-19.”
— Mary H. Young, MDiv, EdD, Director, Leadership Education, Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada

“This book addresses a significant topic in ministry and theological education . . . There are some books on bi/covocational ministry, but they tend to focus on congregational life. I do not know of any books that spend as much time as this one does thinking about how theological education needs to adapt to serve these ministers and their communities.”
— The Rev. Dr. Ted A. Smith, Almar H. Shatford Professor of Divinity, Candler School of Theology

Author videos

Darryl W. Stephens, introduction to Bivocational and Beyond

Darryl W. Stephens, Bivocational Ministry as the Congregation’s Curriculum, Chapter 1

Hartness M. Samushonga, British Perspectives on Bivocational Ministry, Chapter 2

Jessica Young Brown, “Black and Bivocational,” chapter 4

Jo Ann Deasy, “Black Student Perspectives,” Chapter 5

Mark D. Chapman (pictured) and James W. Watson, “Calling in Multivocational Ministry,” Chapter 6

Kristen Plinke Bentley, “Pitching Our Tent with Bivocational Ministry,” Chapter 7

Kwasi Kena, “Exploring Distributive Ministry,” chapter 8

Steven C. Van Ostran, “Incarnating Christ through Bivocational Ministry,” chapter 9

Anthony Pappas, Ed Pease (pictured), and Norm Faramelli, “The Bivocational Congregation,” Chapter 11.

Herbert Fain, “The Bivocational Pastor as Mentor,” Chapter 12

Kathleen Owens, “Empowering the Full Body of Christ,” chapter 13

Darryl W. Stephens (picture on right), “Preparing to Educate for a Thriving Bivocational Ministry,” Chapter 14

Darryl W. Stephens, “Reimagining Theological Education with a Multivocational Mindset,” Chapter 19

Video and Audio Resources for Teaching and Learning

Webinar: “Let’s Talk Bivocational Ministry: Equipping Bivocational and Multivocational Pastors,” presented by Jesse Rincones and Darryl W. Stephens, Duke Common Table, August 19, 2022.

Interview by Matt Huffman of In Trust magazine, April 2022:

Interview by I. Ross Bartlett, Atlantic School of Theology, October 25, 2022. “Bivocational and Partially Funded Ministry.”

Grand Rapids Seminary. 2018. “Bi-Vocational Ministry: Balancing Dual Roles.” Audio from conference: Excellent resource for gaining a personal understanding of the challenges and benefits of bivocational ministry. Panel discussion moderated by Julián Guzmán, director of the Urban Church Leadership Center. Panelists included Khary Bridgewater, Angel Ortiz, Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, and Chris DeBlaay. Panelists spoke for about an hour.

Christian Reformed Church in North America and Financial Shalom Project. 2018. “What Role Will Bivocational Ministry Play in the Future of the CRCNA?” Two-day conference in Grand Rapids, MI, April 24–25. Nine videos from the conference, including talk by author Hugh Halter (co-founder of Missio, He suggested how to congregationalize a missionary movement.

Lancaster Theological Seminary and MESA, Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization of the United Church of Christ. Embracing Multivocational Ministry Conference. May 14, 2022. Opening panel disucssion and closing panel discussion. Panelists: Kwasi Kena, Kathleen Owens, Constance Simon, and Steve Van Ostran. Moderators: Renée Jackson and Darryl W. Stephens.

New Leaf Network. 2020. Falling Forward: Negotiating New Realities, web event recording.

Samushonga, Hartness. 2020. “The Bivocational Pastor.” Interview with Dennis Bickers. December 12. Index 23:57–1:28:42.

Samushonga, Hartness. 2020. “Ministry Beyond the Church.” Interview with Shingi Munyeza. December 12. Index 18:10–1:07:04

Stephens, Darryl W. 2021. “Bivocational Integration: Connecting Call and Livelihood.” Interview with Gerald Simmons and Connie Mentzer. February 23.

Stephens, Darryl W. 2021. “Double-Time: Time Management, Self-Care, and Boundaries in Bivocational Ministry.” Interview with Barry Chambers, Amelia Price, and Barbara Rowlett. January 19.

Stephens, Darryl W. 2021. “Tomorrow’s Church Today: Bivocational Ministry in a Mainline Denomination.” Interview with Marvin A. Moss and Karen Monk of the New York Annual Conference, UMC. January 25.

Print Resources

Bartlett, I. Ross, and Kate Jones. 2022. It’s Real Ministry: How Part-Time and Bi-vocational Clergy are Challenging and Empowering the Church. Altona, MB Canada: Friesen Press.

Edington, Mark D. W. 2018. Bivocational: Returning to the Roots of Ministry. New York: Church Publishing. Available online: Short book making a strong case. Author is now a bishop in the Episcopal Church in Europe.

MacDonald, G. Jeffrey. 2020. Part-Time Is Plenty: Thriving Without Full-Time Clergy. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox. Excellent, positive presentation of the change in mindset required of white, US mainline churches in order to thrive.

Stephens, Darryl W. Bivocational and Beyond: Educating for Thriving Multivocational Ministry. Teaching Religion and Theology series. Chicago: Books @Atla Open Press, Scholarly Editions, 2022.

Watson, James W., Wanda M. Malcolm, Mark D. Chapman, Elizabeth A. Fisher, Marilyn Draper, Narry F. Santos, Jared Siebert, and Amy Bratton. 2020. Canadian Multivocational Ministry Project: Research Report. Year-long study, questionnaire followed by 40 semi-structured interviews.

Related Publications

“Bivocational Ministry as the Congregation’s Curriculum.” Religions 2021, 12 (1), 56. Special Issue Practical Theology & Theological Education — An Overview.

“Preparing to Educate for a Thriving Bivocational Ministry: A Seminary Case Study.” Religions (July 2021), 12(8), 592;


Portions of this research were made possible through Lancaster Theological Seminary and a matching grant from the In Trust Center for Theological Schools.