In reality a vast amount of local church ministry is done by some form of bi-vocational commitment from key people. The Brethren movement of churches, for example, have been very effective in working out the principle of the priesthood of all believers, by nurturing the commitment of those in full time employment to serve in significant local church ministries. Eldership, children’s work and youth ministry has often taken up hours each week in the lives of people who hold down very demanding jobs. They couldn’t have got those jobs, and hence means of support, without going through the rigours of vocational career development pathways.
Often in responding to God’s call on your life, it is a question of timing. Certainly if you are already mid-way through a training process (college, university or apprenticeship), the right pathway is to complete that process, at the same time developing an increasing sensitivity to his guidance as to where next.
There is also the question of priorities in your career path. If Christ and His ministry is your priority, and arguably that is the path for us all (Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God …), then that may mean turning down certain promotion paths and avoiding career moves that lead to all consuming work patterns. Seeking out posts that have flexible work hours, or the kind of work you don’t have to “take home with you” to complete, can hugely increase your availability and ability to focus on serving in a church or in mission. There can be as much sacrifice in not taking a promotion as leaving a job altogether.
As with all questions of “How can I serve God effectively?” it is important to talk things through with your church leaders or a mentor. Check out the accountability questions too.