EDITOR’S NOTE — An estimated 55% of Alabama Baptist pastors serve bivocationally or covocationally. Many more serve as bivocational ministers in other church roles. In this series, TAB shares some of their stories, adapted from information provided by the Alabama Baptist Fellowship of Bivocational Ministers.
Fifth in a series — Kenneth Wells, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, Scottsboro, since 2019
Q: How long have you been bivocational?
A: I have served bivocationally the past two years.
Q: What type of work do you do?
A: I work for State Farm Insurance Company.
Q: How many people did you have to start your ministry?
A: We began with a congregation of approximately 40 people.
Q: What type of facilities did you have for gathering as a church?
A: Our main building includes the sanctuary, fellowship hall, classrooms and two offices. We have a separate building that has four classrooms.
Q: How long did it take before you started seeing growth?
A: One month.
Q: What percentage would you estimate is transfer growth and evangelistic growth?
A: It’s about 50/50.
Q: What type of outreach has been the most effective for your ministry?
A: Personal contact by the membership with others in the community.
Q: What has been your greatest discouragement?
A: Attendance has not yet reached pre-COVID numbers.
Q: What has been your greatest encouragement?
A: Several things: The faithfulness of those that have been in attendance. The prayers, phone calls and text messages my wife and I have received from the membership. Church members have remained faithful in their giving. In spite of the pandemic, our church has started a new prayer ministry and the response has been great.
Q: What are the three or four most important lessons or suggestions you would offer bivocational pastors today who also want to reach the lost and grow a local church?
- Make sure your spouse is called to be a pastor’s wife. Her ministry in the church is just as important as the pastor’s.
- Get to know your congregation. After 2 years of being at Shiloh, I feel as though I “know” the people.
- Find out if the church has a prayer ministry. If not, find out if they know how to pray. This may involve teaching/educating the membership.
- Do not be discouraged when people leave. People do that. Do not take it personally.
- Find other pastors in your area that you can call to talk with and share your accomplishments, concerns and disappointments. Know your director of missions!