One of the words we hear quite a bit in todays culture, and which I almost never heard growing up is the word ‘warrior’. A warrior is described as a person who excels in all aspects of combat. They are regarded as fierce and independent. This is kind of an old concept brought up to date and is used extensively in military recruiting. It appeals especially to our Americanized concepts of the self-sufficient and unbeatable individual. In contrast to this is the term ‘Soldier. Regarded as someone whose work is warfare, but at a lower level of individual ability than the warrior, the soldier is looked down upon by people today. But here is the rub…warriors are what is regarded as a sole contributor while the soldier is trained to work in teams with other soldiers. During the late middle ages the iconic western version of the warrior was the knight. Armored and trained, the knight could beat any soldier in individual combat. But with the advent of group tactics and new weapons the soldier supplanted the knight in importance. The fact is that, as good as the warrior was, a group of well trained soldiers working as a team could take on and beat them.
Churches today often like to allude to the image of the warrior, the self-sufficient individual. The truth is that New Testament scripture does not support this, but instead speaks of the ‘soldier of Christ’. We need more soldiers, people who can work together in teams. The body of Christ, of which Paul speaks, is composed of individual parts certainly, but all working in concert as a well-oiled machine.
To carry this concept into application for the bivocational pastor, any pastor who thinks they can carry it all on their shoulders (warrior) is going to burn out. A pastor must be as much a team player as any soldier would be. The warriors strength will eventually wane in the fight, where a group of soldiers will give each other rest and allow them to carry through to the objective successfully. The pastors teammates will include people in their own congregation, but will also likely include other pastors who can listen, encourage and support each other.
If you want to be in ministry over the long term, find people who can support and encourage you, pray for you, listen to you. Be a good soldier for Christ.