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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bi-vocational Church Planting

During this year of Church Planting Training we receive support from a number of very generous people who really believe in us and what we are doing. Our support covers a lot of what we need but to make up the rest of our income it's been necessary to make extra doing freelance work. This presents a lot of time challenges especially considering the type of work I do. 

I have a number of technical skills including; web site design, email marketing, digital image enhancement and search engine optimization. Through divine intervention work has turned up just at the right moment without having to do any advertising. That's a huge blessing, especially with the economy right now. I have completed a number of email marketing concepts and executions recently as well as a few web sites and a web site redesign. 

On the one hand this type of work allows me to set my own schedule. On the other hand it's directly tied to a businesses success and therefore controlled by the tight deadlines of the marketing industry. Responsiveness and quality are critical to longevity as a freelancer. There is absolutely no loyalty or performance reviews and so the product has to be top notch. Plus, I find that with the myriad of constant online advancements I generally have to learn as I go, on almost every job. Innovation is a constant. 

This is not an excellent setup for a church planter. I recently heard that to be bi-vocational you need a regular job that you can clock out from and be done with it. It can be easily segregated and turned off in your mind. That's not what I find with online marketing. I find that to be innovative and produce something cutting edge you have to pour a good amount of time and energy into it. Let me give you an example. 

I recently re-launched Atlanta Magician Arthur Atsma's website. I really enjoyed redesigning the site and implementing some innovative aspects. Checkout the site and especially the video's at the top of the page, they are a blast. To make this website robust for the various types of clients Arthur has I needed to make it compatible with the ever increasing amount of browsers and browser versions. The site is fully compatible with all versions of Safari, Firefox, IE (version 5 and above, including version 8 beta) and Google Chrome. This is no small task -- it's a LOT of work! 

If anyone reading this has any bi-vocational ideas for me, especially that my skills might fit into, then please let me know. I've always been interested in starting an online company but I realize that to plant a church I'd need a business manger to run a start-up internet business like this for me. When we church plant, I'd like a tent making business that I could give 1-2 days a week to and have someone else managing it. It would be especially cool to be able to use the business to fund church planting efforts. That's my ultimate dream. 

Let me know if anyone else out there thinks the same way!

1 comment:

Phil Henry said...

Hi Matt,

Great blog, and lots of good input and posts. I especially liked your photo album at the bottom, and your video at the top ("never do live videos"). As a daddy of six, I know what you mean--though I've never done a live video with any of them yet.

I wanted to thank you also for your page that links up to reasons why we should give to the Sweetmans. I've used and modified that page for my own church planting website, and wanted to give you credit.

Meanwhile, I have a few thoughts also on bi-vo ministry. One idea would be to team up with someone else so that the ministry workload is shared.

Where are you called to minister? Is St. Louis the destination or just the training ground?

When you're done with your training, are you thinking of a specific target area, a denom., a people group, in the US/outside the US?

Anyhow, thanks again for your work, and may God bless you and your beautiful family.