Bi-Vocational Pastors: Getting a Rest & a Break

I can’t imagine what it would be like to pastor a church and also work full-time doing something else. How do you do it? Yet, there are many, many pastors who do. They’re called “bi-vocational” pastors.

Typically, they pastor small churches that cannot support them financially, so, to put food on the table, they work during the week just like everyone else does. But, can you imagine what it would be like to come home from work, and then head right back out again to a Deacons meeting? And then the next night to another committee meeting? Or, to come home, exhausted, and then have to counsel a troubled person or attempt to bring healing to a troubled marriage? And then there’s Sunday.  While everyone else is sleeping in, you’re up, bright and (very) early, putting the final touches on that morning’s sermon. And then, there’s the mid-week Bible study. . . And then, who knows what?!

A friend of ours, Pastor Dave Aseltine, knows this bi-vocational life very well indeed.  For twenty of his twenty-seven years in pastoral ministry, he was one of these bi-vocational pastors. Daily he went off not only to work, but to church, too. Exhaustion was never too far away. In his words, “I remember at one point in my life waking up, and I said, ‘Lord, I hope it’s not a work day and I hope it’s not a Sunday that I have to preach.'”  He then added, ” at times in my life, I really needed to get away and get a break from it.”

Now retired (but not from pastoral ministry!), Dave now serves on a denominational board that serves a number of churches and pastors in the New England area. Of it, he said, “we have been making a real effort to give these pastors an opportunity to find someplace where they can get a rest and get a break, because we’ve had pastors that burn out and it is a real problem, because unlike my business job where I could get away from it, when you’re pastoring, you carry these people with you day and night, and it’s really a burden.”

Forest Haven is that “someplace.” We cannot give someone rest. Only Jesus can do that! However, we can, and do, give pastors a beautiful, quiet place where they can rest, or, better, where they can spend some alone-time with the One who gives rest (Matthew 11:28-30). (This is for spouses too, by the way.)

Dave has some nice things to say about Forest Haven and what it’s like to unwind here. Click here to hear what he has to say in a short video.


And of course, if you know a pastor or a pastor’s spouse who might be interested in this “someplace” called Forest Haven, please pass this on to them. By doing so, you’ll be helping them, and us! (Thanks.)


4 responses to “Bi-Vocational Pastors: Getting a Rest & a Break”

  1. Genelle Toll says:

    Hi Randy & Jill,
    This is Mina Paladino’s friend in CA who she connected you with after I told her the dream I felt God had given me for many years. I would love to connect and share and maybe get your feedback on what God is doing or has done to see what you would recommend. I did find your website and now really want a rest to reconnect with The Lord. I will be going to Thailand from Nov 14-24 this year with Destiny Rescue and maybe God will talk to me while I am there about the next steps in my life.
    Thanks for being so willing to connect with me.

    • Hi Genelle!
      Sorry, I’m just now getting around to checking what’s on our blog page. . . I’m assuming you wrote this before I called?

      • Genelle Toll says:

        yes and then I went to Thailand to see the work of a Christian org and got back just before Thanksgiving. Just saw this. Yes we talked before I left and you were very helpful.
        Thank you so much,
        God bless you and your ministry,

  2. Norbert Freund says:

    To Randy and Jill,
    Norbert and Jane sending this to both of you. The emails from Forest Haven are blessings that has kept alive a relationship with you in the Lord Jesus. I also want to send you more history of where we are. You’ll see the email below

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