Bi-vo pastor blood runs in the family
LICKING—Dwayne Cartwright has been a bi-vocational pastor at Corinth Baptist Church (CBC) in Salem for 20 years and is the general manager for Intercounty Electric Cooperative Association (IEC) in Licking.
His father, Norman, is also a bi-vocactional pastor at Spring Creek Baptist Church in Rolla. (Norman is a retired department head for the radiology department of the Phelps County Medical Center.) And Dwayne’s maternal grandfather also was a bi-vocational pastor.
Dwayne Cartwright works with Leslie Gatley, a member information clerk cashier for IEC. Gatley was saved at Spring Creek on June 17. She enjoys working with Dwayne Cartwright and attending church where his father preaches.
“I love working with Dwayne,” Gatley said. “He is a great guy. He has always been good to me and I just adore his father. He talks about his kids all the time. He will tell funny stories about their childhood, about them getting into trouble and the ornery things they have done. They are both great men.”
Dwayne Cartwright discussed the process of growing up in a bi-vocational environment.
“My father started preaching when he was 17,” Cartwright said. “The most he has ever been without a church was two weeks. He has always been bi-vocational. I just felt like that was the way life was. My Dad had his priorities straight. God first, family, and then church. We lived our lives that way. I have no regrets of being raised as a bi-vocational pastor’s kid. I have no regrets at all. We had a good time. I think church was a part of our life every day.”
After high school he moved to Texas to work on a pipeline. He recalled that he went there to “get away from some things.” He talked about moving to Texas and then coming back and becoming a pastor.
“I knew before I went that I did not want to do that (working on the pipeline),” Cartwright said. “And God has a way of getting our attention. I started out working and preaching at Southwest Baptist University. I was working at a countryside vet clinic. I worked through college there and also was the pastor at the First Baptist Church of Cole Camp. I met my wife, Julie, in college and got married.
“I worked at First Baptist Cole Camp for three years. I went to Texas for six months and then moved back to Salem where I became a bi-vocational pastor at Bethel Baptist Church for three years. After that I became the pastor at Corinth Baptist and have pastored there ever since.”
His wife is the church pianist. Cartwright talked about how she has helped him.
“She is a real asset,” Cartwright said. “She is what makes it work. It’s not my ministry entirely. It is also her ministry. It is us together ministering. I could not do this without her.”
Cartwright described what it is like to be in two cultures during the same week—at work and at church.
“I’m a team leader at work and at the church,” he said. “I think one of the biggest plusses I find being bi-vocational is that we do not switch with what we are where we are at. I think it does not matter to God’s people whether I’m a pastor at CBC or manager at IEC. My responsibilities are the same. That is what part of being a minister is. The opportunities are great.
“When I look at CBC, we have a Sunday School of around 80 and over 100 in church. At IEC we have over 20,000 members. To me that is possibly the biggest opportunity for a congregation in the state.
“People ask how I deal with conflicts. My response is there should be no conflicts in our daily life between our Christian walk and our walk in this world. They should be the same. You should deal with things in the same way. Granted I do have to make business decisions and employee decisions here. But God has a solution to all of them.
“In 20 years there has never been a cross word of argument among them or me as pastor,” he said. “We have had to deal with issues that churches face, but we have dealt with them without a cross word.”
His advice to his fellow bi-vocational pastors is straightforward.
“I think one of the biggest areas for bi-vocational pastors is missed fellowship with local ministers,” Cartwright said. “We need that. My advice is to find a mentor. Find a peer in your life that you can relate to.