Until recently, I was a tri-vocational pastor. Yes, that means I had three jobs at once. I was an Executive Assistant for a theologian, an Assistant Pastor, and an Editor. It sounds crazy, but as my dad told me (parroting John Wayne, Stagecoach ),
"A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."
I'll do whatever I have to in order to provide for my family. (Shy of stealing; I suppose I'll be begging on the corner before I resort to theft.) Taking care of them in both body and soul is my number one priority.
Having three jobs at once isn't as awful as it sounds. For one, I got lucky and had three jobs with a lot of cross-over. Further, all three jobs utilized my theological and ecclesiastical training. So that made things a bit easier than they would have been if I were say, a construction worker by day, waiter at night, and a pastor on the weekend.
That said, it was still a lot of work. As soon as I finished the 9-5 at the office, I spent the next few hours preparing for Sunday. After dinner with the wife and kids, it was back at it again in the later hours of the night to do more editing, copywriting, brainstorming, or outlining for all upcoming deadlines. Needless to say, I got used to always having new deadlines. When one job lightened up, another weighed me down.
What's the greatest advantage in having three jobs at once? Well, life can't be boring. When one job was driving me nuts, there were still two other jobs to bring me some sanity. Sometimes, my other two jobs brought me relief. And besides, being a minister isn't really a "job." It's a calling. Usually, that calling is what got me through the tedious and stressful moments at the office.
Anyway, I wouldn't recommend tri-vocational ministry or (non-ministry, for that matter) to anyone unless they need to do it for survival. We had to do this for a season and thankfully, God provided us with everything we needed through these ordinary means.
Now I'm just a bi-vocational pastor. It's a breeze now. (Not really!) With all the extra time I have on my hands (not much), I'll be writing to you—dear reader. Whoever and wherever you are on the other side of this screen, this is for you.
Here's some of the work I did for that third job as an Editor: