Category Vocation and Church Planting

Part XXV: Is creative planting possible within Irish Presbyterian structures?

Due to the complex and troubled history of Ireland, denominational labels can carry negative connotations, so that any move by the PCI to become truly missional and break new ground in terms of planting is not only going to have to deal with issues of self-identity, but also issues of perception from within the majority […]

Part XXIV: Presbyterian Church Planting in Ireland

The PCI, like all denominations, was originally a plant. Irish Presbyterian church historian Finlay Holmes notes that the PCI is essentially an immigrant church, albeit one that is 370 years old. Its first Presbytery and fledgling congregations in the early 1640s were organized to minister to immigrant Scots. This continued into the early eighteenth century, […]

Part XXIII: Do Denominations have a future?

A number of writers (Mannoia, Murray, Stetzer, Roxburgh, van Gelder) have recognized that denominations have a role to play in church renewal and planting, but that the challenges faced are different and often more complex than those faced in independent planting movements. Yet Stuart Murray reminds his readers: “Most denominations started as church-planting movements, even […]

Part XXII: “Called to Ministry”: have the reformed churches muddied the waters?

One key element to this discussion is the place of one’s call to pastor, lead, plant, or preach and teach in the context of one’s wider calling as a Christian. Some of the opposition to bivocational ministry may arise from the conviction, however poorly articulated, that a calling to church ministry is a higher and […]

Part XXI: Bivocational planting: two more voices, Fitch & Ryan

  One recent advocate of bivocational planting has been planter, author, missional-church advocate, and blogger David Fitch. On his Reclaiming the Mission site in 2011, he published an article entitled “Stop funding church plants and start funding missionaries: a plea to denominations.” Referring to the three to four hundred thousand dollars required to plant under […]

Part XX: Bivocational Planting: this side of the Atlantic – why not??

On this side of the Atlantic, Scottish Presbyterian minister and missiologist Peter Neilson has published an important series of lectures on the future of the church in Scotland, which is not without relevance to the Irish Presbyterian context. In it he coins the phrase “portfolio ministry” to describe tentmaking, giving some urban examples of it […]

Part XIX: Bivocational Planting: just a transitional option?

Nerger and Ramsay deny that it should be the goal of every bivocational planter to eventually become fully funded. On this issue, however, they are definitely a minority voice. The paucity of references to bivocationals in the planting literature has already been noted, but even those who do acknowledge its validity seem to do so […]

Part XVIII: Bivocational Planting- a ‘suicidal option’?

While bivocational ministry has a long pedigree and is becoming more common in trying to resource smaller and more isolated congregations, what of its potential as a model for the planting of new churches? One of the most commonly articulated reasons for approaching bivocational planting with caution is burn-out due to the inability to cope […]

Part XVII: Paul’s Tentmaking

Inevitably, the figure of the Apostle Paul looms large over the discussion, both in terms of his personal practice and his defense of his right both to accept financial support and his equal right to earn his own living. In one of the very few books dealing with bivocational church planting, Steve Nerger and Eric […]

Part XVII: The Rich History of Bivocational Ministry

While there is biblical warrant for teaching and shepherding the flock being seen as vocations, and for those who preach the gospel earning a living from the gospel, a variety of reasons – lack of financial resources, a desire to continue serving in some capacity within one’s field or profession, a more flexible view of […]


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