Bivocational Pastors—Nuclear Waste Packer, Mail Carrier, Cheesemonger

CHICAGO, IL (May 12, 2016) — The cover article in the current issue of the Companion, “When Ministers Moonlight,” highlights the growing number of pastors who, for various reasons, work second jobs.

Bud Locke

Bud Locke

Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper

Whitney Hall

Whitney Hall

Mike Bingeman

Mike Bingeman

When we asked ministers on Facebook what jobs they have held while working bivocationally, we received dozens of responses. Several reported having worked as substitute teachers, school bus drivers, or baristas (the most common response). But there also were some more unusual responses.

While working as associate/youth pastor at a small church, Bud Locke, pastor of Stockton (California) Covenant Church, helped package nuclear waste to prepare for shipment from a research facility.

Gregory DuBois, pastor of First Covenant Church in Cadillac, Michigan, used to make rural deliveries as a postal worker. Now, he is driving his small town’s bus, which he said, “works more like a taxi, serves many disabled people and includes a wheelchair lift.”

Corrie Gustafson, pastor at Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California, contracted as a data collector for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mike Bingeman, who works at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Ceresco, Nebraska, serves as a chaplain and also is a cheesemonger for an organic dairy farm.

Randall Friesen, pastor at Malmo Mission Covenant Church in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, ran the electrical, plumbing, and painting department in a store. “The local Amish knew I was a Mennonite pastor and would come seeking my assistance in the small-town store,” he said, joking, “There were none of the electrical appliance returns the regular locals had.”

Ryan Cooper, pastor at Evangelical Covenant Church in South Bend, Indiana, worked at a pet store as well as a manager and corporate trainer for a global hotel company.

Reid Olson, pastor at Crossroads Covenant Church in Greeley, Colorado, twists balloon figures for Chili’s restaurants on Friday nights “for fun and for evangelism.”

Whitney Hall, pastor at Emmanuel Covenant Church in Lowell, Massachusetts, teaches adult GED classes.

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About the Author

Stan Friedman

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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