Vince Stover left a full-time pastor's job in 2014 and moved 250 miles with his wife, Katie, to a city where the couple didn't know a soul. He found a job in insurance sales and planted Bible Pathway Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. The couple started a family, welcoming sons Brett and Camden.
Yet it was the prospect of filing his annual tax return—for the first time as a bivocational pastor—that kept him awake some nights.
"I was scared to death," said Stover, who still pastors Bible Pathway but now sells advertising and programming time for a local radio station. "I had been a pastor before, and we did our taxes ourselves. But I knew there was a lot more involved now." So, he and his wife, Katie, sought help from a qualified accountant.
As a bivocational minister, Stover is far from alone. Around one-third of all pastors have a job outside of their church work, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals and Grey Matter Research (see Infographic on page 3). "Bivocational ministry is how a large and growing number of the world's churches are pastored," said small-church pastor Karl Vaters on the blog he writes for ChristianityToday.com. "Even in the United States, their number is increasing at a rapid rate as the size of existing churches continues to decline and new church plants pop up."