God has led me to enter a new chapter in my life. Officially, I now have a new job in addition to being a pastor. The reason I am writing this is to let you know that at one time, I was against being bi-vocational…and I was wrong.
I had excuse after excuse (I called them reasons) why being bi-vocational was bad, or not exactly ideal. My excuses were not just for me. They were for any pastor who was bi-vocational.
Then I had a change of heart. Being bi-vocational is not necessarily forever but it is…sometimes necessary. This is what I have had to learn because God doesn’t always work the way I think.
- Being bi-vocational is temporary because it takes time for a church to grow. It takes time to disciple believers and train them to make disciples. It takes time to train men who God has called to be pastors so that they can go out and plant other churches.
- Being bi-vocational brings in some extra income so that you can pay off bills, take a vacation, buy a new car or an air conditioner, pay off student loans or maybe just rebuild your savings account.
- Most pastors are bi-vocational. Most pastors do something in addition to being a pastor. For instance, there are pastors who are bloggers, consultants, evangelists, conference speakers, and authors.
This is what I had to get into my thick brain:
If God knew that I would not be able to handle it, he would have chosen somebody else.
The Creator of the universe knows me because he created me. God knew from the start that being bi-vocational would both excite me and challenge me.
Yes it means that I have less personal time. It also means that I have to prioritize time with my family. I need to be intentional about spending time with my wife and my boys.
Being bi-vocational does mean that I am twice as busy but it is definitely not a bad word.
The overall reason that FaithPoint Community Church was planted comes straight out of the book of Acts. Luke shows in Acts how the church started. Luke writes on how the church spread, shared the gospel, planted other churches, and endured with boldness and confidence in Jesus in the midst of persecution.
FaithPoint Community Church believes that its mission consists of five key components:
- Making Disciples > We are commanded by Christ to make disciples. Jesus gives us the Great Commission in Matthew 28. Luke writes in Acts 1:8 that Jesus gives a more explicit command to be his witnesses wherever your foot touches the ground. The church has to be about the business of making disciples. If the church fails to make disciples, it is ineffective at what it has been called to do. Ministries and programs are great. However, if the church fails to make disciples – disciples not converts – it has failed its main mission. We are not called to make converts only. Converts can get saved and then left at the altar. Some people act like they believe that upon salvation the Holy Spirit just magically empowers you with all of the things you need to live the Christian life. That does not happen and that belief is not biblical. It takes mature believers to come alongside the new Christian and show them how to live the Christian life. Mature believers guide the new Christian showing them how the gospel is not just for salvation but is very much needed for sanctification. The gospel is needed in every area of our lives. For the church to be healthy, grow and flourish, we believe that making disciples is of utmost importance.
- Training Men > In our society today, there are a lot of boys and few men. There is a lack of men leading in our culture today. Just because you have a beard, can drink a beer, have sex, and watch football does not make you a man. Real men love their wives. Real men love their children. Real men love Jesus. Boyhood was never meant to last into the age of the twenties and thirties. It is time for the church to help boys become biblical men. Men need to be as Darrin Patrick puts it, both tough and tender. Jesus is our ultimate model for what a man is supposed to be. We desire to help push men to conform to the image of Jesus.
- Planting Churches > We desire to be a church that plants churches. Why? We believe that every successful ministry begins in the local church. We want to plant churches in cities, states, and countries where they can reach many lost people for Jesus. We want to plant churches that will come alongside their people and disciple them. We want to plant churches that will lead and teach their people how to read the Bible, what spiritual disciplines are, how to serve others, and look like the church in Acts. We take the Bible seriously and we believe that the church in Acts is the ultimate example of what Christ intended the church to be. We understand that there is no perfect church but that will not stop us from striving to accomplish everything that God has given us to accomplish.
- Developing Pastors > It is the church’s job to come alongside men that God has called into pastoral ministry. Preaching and shepherding are taken very seriously in the Bible and FaithPoint takes these things seriously as well. We believe that the preached word is the main thing. It is of utmost importance. We will not change our view on this and we do not apologize for having this high view of both Scripture and the preached word. We do not believe seminary is bad or wrong. However, we believe that if God has called a man into pastoral ministry and he goes to seminary, then the church should help him through seminary by helping him put into practice (real life situations) what he is learning. The church should also pray for him and not just men in pastoral ministry but all men in the church. While seminary is good, we also believe that it is very expensive. We see nothing wrong with a man buying books from Amazon and reading and studying them as long as they are church approved and do not contradict the Bible in any way. Isn’t that what happened before there were seminaries?
- Sending Missionaries > We believe that every regenerated person is a missionary. We do not believe that the Great Commission is for “special” called people to go over seas into other countries and share the gospel alone. We believe it is a both/and. The Great Commission is for every disciple of Christ. It is for those that are home as well as abroad. If God wakes you up in the morning, you are a missionary. If the Holy Spirit leads and guides and lives in you, you are a missionary. Disciple: You go to church to be equipped for the work of the ministry. When you walk out the door, you are a missionary. Being a missionary is one of the ordained works God has given you before the foundation of the world. He predestined you for the mission of sharing the gospel, talking about Jesus and his church. We believe that every disciple is a missionary. You are either a good one or a bad one. In other words, you are either obedient or disobedient. We want to help you become obedient, passionate, devoted disciples of Christ.
Want to learn more?
Follow us on Twitter: @faithpointcc and you can follow Pastor Jimmy @jimmyproulx
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The conversation was about planting a church in a town that was about 45 minutes from where we were standing. The conversation ended with the issue that no churches in our area have considered planting a church in that town because the people were a little different and if a church decided to plant there, they would want that church to be just like them.
Here are some thoughts on this issue:
- Every church should be a church planting church. If the church cannot plant a new church by themselves then perhaps the option to partner with another church would be available. If this is not possible, they may try opening their building for a church plant to use until the can find their own meeting space.
- When a church cares more about its fame and glory then the Great Commission, they have misplaced their focus. It is about Jesus and his fame, and his name, and his glory.
- When a church becomes more about itself, it loses its effectiveness at reaching lost people.
- When a church ceases to reach out to lost people they are failing to be obedient to Scripture.
Jesus did not give us the Great Commission so that we as the church can sit idly by and do absolutely nothing. You are well able to do everything that God has called you to because Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in you. You can do what Jesus commanded you because the Holy Spirit will lead you as you go.
The Great Commission is to be given to all peoples, all nations, all ethnic groups, all sub-cultures.
I am a firm believer that all ministry is done best through a local church. For a church to plant in a new area, they should study the area, and the people and get an idea of how best to share the gospel in the context of where they will be planting.
The church is not supposed to plant a church so that the people will conform to the image of the church. That has never worked. Remember when the Jews wanted the Gentiles to conform to Jewish rules and traditions?
The church is to do everything in its power to push people to Jesus. You should want people to conform to the image of Jesus not to the image of your church.
You, as a member of a local church, have been commissioned to run with the message of the gospel. If necessary take more people with you.
Make disciples, baptize people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and walk alongside them in their sanctification process.
The church has been called to make disciples. Not converts.
Why would any church not be interested in the Great Commission? Seriously. This was going through my mind after the last interview that I had. If you had been there, you would have known that it ended as well as it possibly could.
I knew immediately after the interview, there was another door to walk into. The door that had never closed. The door into church planting. I told my wife that we would just trust God and go in that direction.
It took over a year for me to finally realize that church planting was where God was taking me. It clicked. I started listening to Acts 29 podcasts. I begin to read books and online articles on church planting. My brain begin to download all that I could get information wise on the subject of church planting.
However, I had no plan when to launch a church.
While still serving as a college pastor, a friend came up to me and I will never forget what he said, “You talk a lot about faith. It is time for you to live that out and do what you are supposed to do.”
Yep. It felt like the Holy Spirit just punched me in the gut.
I talked to my wife.
SIDE NOTE: My wife is my greatest encourager and supporter. If it was not for her being my best friend and being alongside me in this adventure, I would be almost crazy. She keeps me grounded and pushes me not to lose focus on Jesus.
We set our date to plan our first service. We talked to people that we knew were growing Christians and people we trusted to pray for us and asked them to come alongside us and help be part of our core group.
The process begin.
I was convinced that there was not a church that existed within an hour of us that actually functioned the way that I wanted this church to function. So, I went to the book of Acts. It made sense that if we were going to plant a church, the perfect model would be the church that started in the Scriptures.
The date of our first service arrived. We did not have a place to meet. We met in my house. The first service of FaithPoint Community Church was in my house. I will never forget it. It is a marker of how our church began. On our first Sunday, we exceeded the comfortable capacity of my living room.
I shared this with some pastor friends and one of them talked with me and volunteered the building they meet in. He said that they meet in the building on Sunday mornings but do not use it on Sunday nights. We took the offer. We now share this building with the church that my friend pastors.
Our one year celebration is just around the corner. I am excited as this is another marker for us.
I look forward to where God is going to take us. Where He leads we will follow. After all, this church is not about it’s own glory. This church is not about the pastor. This church exists for the glory of God and to do the work that He gave us to accomplish.