The busy lifestyle of a bivocational pastor sometimes takes its toll on pastor Jim Hunsucker.
Bivocational pastors can work long hours. Some log 90 hours every week between two or more jobs. The long hours can impact their families and their ministries, and make it difficult to find time to build solid relationships.
“My wife has to remind me that I’m still a husband and father,” said Hunsucker, a 15-year veteran of bivocational ministry.
Hunsucker has served for the past year and a half as pastor of Wadeville Baptist Church in Mount Gilead.
He spends most weeknights visiting members of his congregation or handling any church-related issues that need his attention. It’s not uncommon for his average workday to extend well into the night.
Bivocational pastor, Jim Hunsucker
He also is the youth pastor, the associate pastor and the minister of music.
“A lot of people don’t understand what a [bivocational] pastor does,” he said. “If a pastor just had to preach on Sunday morning and lead Bible study on Wednesday night, I wouldn’t feel right even taking pay for that.”
In addition to his many roles at the church, Hunsucker owns a computer repair business.
With all of the responsibility, he said he loves life as a bivocational pastor.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said. “It’s been a real blessing.”
Time to connect
Lester Evans, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina senior consultant for bivocational ministries, said Hunsucker’s story is common among the more than 1,400 bivocational pastors who serve North Carolina Baptist churches.
“Bivocational ministry is not a second-class thing,” Evans said. “It’s a noble calling. If God places a pastor where God wants him, there is no move up from there. He should bloom where he is planted.”
Evans said bivocational pastors have many needs, but one of the greatest is to connect with other pastors who share similar ministry experiences.
“Many bivocational pastors tend to become lone rangers because they are out there by themselves and they begin to think that they are the only ones going through these troubles,” Evans said.
The North Carolina Baptist Bivocational Ministers Association elected new officers during its July 13-14 retreat at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro. From left: Randy Shuler, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, Brevard, was elected secretary-treasurer; David Willis was chosen as vice president-program; Gary Henderson, pastor of Orrum Baptist Church, Orrum, was picked as vice president-membership; and Tony Medlin, who works with Union Baptist Association’s bivocational ministries, was elected president.
Every summer bivocational pastors from across the state have an opportunity to connect with their peers during the North Carolina Bivocational Ministries Conference.
The annual conference features plenary and group sessions tailored to the needs of bivocational pastors and their spouses. This year’s conference was held July 13-14 at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro.
“These kinds of events allow them to connect with other bivocational couples or pastors or spouses who are struggling with the same type of issues,” Evans said. “It becomes a way of tremendous encouragement for them.”
Hunsucker and his wife look forward to the conference every year. He not only enjoys meeting fellow bivocational pastors, but the conference also allows him to spend quality time with his wife and experience personal spiritual revival.
“It’s a nice relief from what goes on from day to day,” he said.
Prior to attending the conference for the first time, Hunsucker felt no one could identify with his day-to-day routine. Yet, it did not take long for him to understand there are many pastors like him.
“It just felt good to talk to other pastors,” Hunsucker said. “I can’t put into words how much every bivocational pastor needs to be here every year.”
Next year’s North Carolina Bivocational Ministries Conference will be held July 12-13 at Caraway Conference Center. For more information, contact Lester Evans at [email protected].