BiVo: A Manifesto

BiVoOne of the fun things about reading more books is that as I finish a book I hope to write a short blog summarizing its content. Consider it a Web 2.0 book report of sorts. I will try to keep it pithy and present helpful parts of the books that relate to the content of this blog.

My first book that I read this year was “BiVo: A Manifesto” by Doug Black Jr. Doug is a simple church planter in Phillidelphia, PA, an evangelist, and an all around good guy. He and I have never met in person, but its a rare week for the two of us not to interact somehow on Twitter. And I have to say it was a lot of fun to include his book in my project because I rarely read books from authors I know.

If you’re not familiar with the term “BiVo,” it’s Christian shorthand for Bi-Vocational.  In the crazy, mixed-up Christian world we live in, someone decided that all important Christian leaders should be paid for what they do.  Then some folks came along and said, “Wait a second, being in the ministry isn’t all about being paid.”  So they started referring to themselves as Bi-Vocational, meaning they had one vocation that paid the bills and one that was a ministry calling from Jesus.  And since the advent of Twitter, everything needs to be shorter, so instead of saying “Bi-Vocational,” we use the term “BiVo.”

“BiVo: A Manifesto” is Doug’s story of transitioning from a full-time, paid youth pastor to a life following Jesus while working a full-time “secular” job. He shares about the difference it’s made in his life, helping him understand the lost world around him and opening up opportunities to reach out to lost people he never would have met inside the four walls of a church building.  It’s also an appeal for those in ministry who are full-time to consider how being a paid servant may color their approach to Christianity.  It looks at the down-sides of paid ministry and how it can hinder the growth of the church and the outreach to the lost.

What I loved about “BiVo” was Doug’s approach to the subject.  He didn’t degrade those who are taking a salary to serve the church.  In fact, in a very brotherly way, he presented his life and the fruit of stepping down from paid ministry and asked his fellow servants to consider a better way.  His heart for the lost shines through in this book.  A large part of his argument is that paid ministry hinders the outreach to lost people in a number of ways.   As someone who is BiVo himself, it was encouraging to see Doug thinking about money and the Kingdom of God in a similar way that I and others have. Sometimes not being alone in BiVo is half the battle.

“BiVo” was both a great testimonial and some really good introductions to the thought behind why BiVo ministry is helpful.  BiVo is not the full story on life as an unpaid servant, but it is a virtual tract that should be read and strongly considered by those who have never thought about how paid ministry could hinder the spread of the Gospel.  Thanks, Doug, for giving us this window into your life and learn from how God has lead you.

You can download a free copy of BiVo: A Manifesto for Kindle, Nook, or in PDF here.

About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

5 responses to “BiVo: A Manifesto”

  1. felicity dale says :

    I just skimmed through the book. Excellent. I highly recommend it

  2. Dave Quinn says :

    Thanks for the link. I am about half way through. Really enjoying it.

    • traviskolder says :


      Absolutely. Let me know your thoughts. I’ve also connected with Doug on Twitter and he’s another solid guy who is planting house churches…if you’re interested you can find him at @dougblackjr.

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