Thriving as a Bi-Vocational Leader in Ministry

I’m not sure how my friend, Brandon Catoe gets it all done. He’s a husband, father, business owner, adventure seeker, and an incredible campus pastor at our Christ Fellowship Okeechobee Campus in Okeechobee, FL. I’ve never known Brandon to miss a meeting at church or the office, nor one of his son’s football games. So how does he get it all done?

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Brandon about what he’s learned the last two years while serving his family, leading his business, and growing his ministry influence, and below some tips Brandon shared:

1. “Stay anchored to the call.”
For Brandon, this is the call to ministry and building God’s kingdom. The natural pull for any business owner or leader, is the company. After all, it’s typically the company’s compensation that’s allowing you to offer additional time in ministry. Remembering the call is particularly significant on tough ministry days – days when you wonder if your sacrifice is worth it, if you’re making a difference. For Brandon, the conviction of the call compels him to stay committed to the life of the bi-vocational pastor.

2. “Establish accountability outside your business and church.”
Having a relationship that can help you process frustrations both at work, or in ministry, is key to your emotional health. An accountability partner that understands both worlds can be hard to find, but they’re out there. The most important attribute of this relationship is finding someone strong enough to remind you of your key convictions. Brandon has a weekly meeting with his accountability partner, and that keeps him grounded and focused on both his career and his church.

3. “Intentionally include your family in ministry.”
Because of the demands on the schedule, a pastor’s family can be excluded from ministry without intentionality, and that’s why Brandon is always working to involve his family. He continually shares the stories of transformation with them, and reminds them of what they’re accomplishing together. Another simple step he takes, is to keep his wife updated by forwarding to her any ministry related emails and calendar invites as soon as he gets them. This practice keeps her more connected to what is taking place within the ministry. As a bi-vocational pastor, learning how to involve your family will strengthen your family bonds.

4. “Stay connected to both teams.”
Every business owner and ministry leader knows that it’s all about the team. You can’t do one without with other. For Brandon, the corporate team gets four days a week and two hours each morning. This ensures that his day-to-day business operations will continue in his absence. Wednesdays and Sundays are committed to ministry. Wednesdays are typically for meetings and planning for the weekend, while Sundays are focused on his two services and building relationships with his volunteers. Being a team player and a team leader is vital to any bi-vocational leader’s success.

While I’m not a bi-vocational leader, I’ve learned a ton from Brandon. His ability to manage teams, protect his family time, and still have fun, inspires me to be a better leader and pastor. Are you a bi-vocational leader? If so, in what ways are you finding success in balancing both worlds?


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