Free Range Priest: Making Ministry Sustainable

Key Concepts

Free Range Priest is about Making Ministry Sustainable - for today's clergy, congregations, and beyond. 

These are the 10 Key Concepts for re-imagining church in the 21st century.

1. Ordained Ministry

Ordained Ministry

In an era when anyone can become 'ordained' by filling out a form on the Internet, it is crucial to define our vocation as Christian clergy. In a time when congregational clergy do 'everything', it is important to set boundaries around what is and is not our work.

2. Compensation


When clergy serve without being paid, it devalues our work and makes it even more difficult for those who need to support ourselves and our families to do so. The spiritual work of clergy is priceless, which is precisely why we need compensation. If some serve without payment, eventually all will, and this could lead to the demise of ordained clergy service.

3. Bi-vocational


We often use the term 'bi-vocational' to mean 'you are not getting paid for your ministry.' Some are truly called to bi-vocational work - serving two callings simultaneously. Clergy should not be forced into this situation because they must work a secular job to support their ordained ministry.

4. Part-time = 2 Sundays a month

2 Sundays

Most people are in church on Sundays only. Serving every Sunday supports the idea that clergy are always available. Part-time clergy should encourage lay ministry, and set reasonable expectations and boundaries. It should also allow clergy to serve more than one part-time call without exhaustion.

5. Contract not Salary


Hourly pay supports clergy work for specific tasks, and properly values what ordained ministry brings to the church and the world. It also allows congregations (and others) to pay for only the ministry they need. This is especially important for congregations unable to afford even very part-time professional salaries, and the clergy who serve them.

6. We are called to be the church of 'right now'

Right Now

It is crucial that we recognize how the church is functioning at this moment. So often we are looking back at what we once were, or ahead to what we could be. Adjusting our vision to our current strengths and challenges supports our mission - as clergy, congregations, and all Christian ministers.

7. Digital Ministry is not optional

Digital Ministry

77% of Americans are online for at least 30 minutes every day, and a quarter of us say we are 'constantly' online! It is no longer possible to effectively serve as ordained clergy without at least some of our ministry being online. Investing in simple technology skills, equipment, and infrastructure is just as essential as basic theology and Scripture study. Be not afraid!

8. Ministry can be multiple jobs, one vocation

One Vocation

Clergy can serve one vocation as multiple jobs: part-time in more than one congregation; congregational and digital ministry, etc. Claiming our ministry as a unified whole made up of parts allows us to clarify the gifts we bring and the people we serve. It can also allow us full-time status in terms of pension, healthcare, and other benefits.

9. Share God's love with 75% not in church

Share God's love

75% of Americans in their 20s do not attend church of any kind. Only 40% of any age attends 'regularly' - 1 Sunday a month (according to Pew research). A significant portion of our ministry - clergy, congregation, any disciple - must be focused on evangelism, in a world that needs it in so many ways.

10. Think post-denominationally


We are all on the same team! Yes, denominations and traditions have different worship styles, oversight rules, and theological viewpoints. Organizationally and evangelically, though, we are exactly alike - facing the same challenges in terms of sustaining congregations, and sharing the faith more broadly. We can - and should! - actively support each other in this, across denominational boundaries.

Let's get started.

Free Range Priest offers individual coaching and consulting for the challenges YOU face in the 21st century church and world. Find out how to Make Ministry Sustainable. The initial call is FREE.

Click HERE to schedule!

Or drop me a line...

Cathie Caimano

I was ordained in the Episcopal Church almost 20 years ago, after attending seminary in New York City. I was raised Roman Catholic, but changed denominations when I found Episcopal faith practices to be so much like those I learned from the Jesuits in my undergraduate days.  

Back then, being clergy almost exclusively meant serving in congregational ministry, which I did for a decade, serving in New York; Durham, NC; and Wichita, KS.

I loved it! And I loved the people with whom I served. After that, I had the privilege of serving for 5 years on the staff of the then-Bishop of North Carolina (you might have heard of him!), doing congregational development and clergy support. I started to see how the issues are the same everywhere, for everyone - how lots of clergy and congregations are struggling. 

Then I took what I learned about how ministry is changing and how to support clergy and congregations in the 21st century church - and world - and I became a Free Range Priest in 2016.  

I wrote a book, some articles, got interviewed for a great podcast, and get to serve with some amazing ministries.  

Every day, I learn new ways to help others bring Good News to the world in the most effective, sustainable ways.  

Let's talk

You can CALL ...

About sharing the Good News of the love of God with MORE people, in MORE places! Send me a message with your comment or question, or to request some time for a FREE intial call.

Click HERE to schedule.  

or WRITE ...

Clergy Coaching

  • 4 Session Packages 
  • Your Personal Creative Ministry Roadmap
  • the Digital Ministry Skills YOU Need
  • How your Gifts for Ministry can change the church - and the world
  • Are you overwhelmed just THINKING about digital ministry?
  • Would like an easy, affordable alternative (or addition) to a traditional website?
  • We can establish or enhance your online presence with minimal stress
  • A four-panel, one-page, customized website that is fully designed and hosted by Free Range Priest 

Ministry Mini-site

Tell me more

Online Education

  • Learn how to think like a Free Range Priest
  • Make one vocation out of more than one kind of service
  • Serve online and in person to reach more with Good News
  • Why Congregations THRIVE with part-time ministry
  • How Denominational Leaders support Free Range Priest Ministry
  • Changing the Institutional (not the Theological) Mindset
  • Why 'Free Range' does NOT mean 'running wild'

Leadership Training

Making Ministry Sustainable

Reimagine Ministry

There has never been a better time to be in creative ministry. Most people are NOT in church!  

Most congregations cannot afford full-time salaried clergy.  

You can step out into digital ministry and expand what brings you - and others - joy!

Many people are waiting to hear GOOD NEWS. 

YOU are called to share God's love, and the Christian faith inside - and beyond - the walls of the church.  

NOW is the time to find out how.

Find out How

What is a Free Range Priest?

Free Range Priest is helping clergy and congregations navigate the 21st century church and world.  

Bring your ministry into the digital age, and get paid in ways that are sustainable for ordained clergy and the small congregations they serve.  

Free Range Priests are:  

  • Ordained ministers serving within and beyond the walls of the church  
  • Digital ministers bringing GOOD NEWS to those who have not heard it yet  
  • Creative ministers, finding new ways to share God's love  
  • Compensated ministers, serving one vocation, in many ways, beyond the traditional 'one minister, one building, one congregation' model  

Take our QUIZ to find out if YOU are a Free Range Priest - or could be!  

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How a Free Range Priest Works

  • Serve congregations on contract, not salary.  
  • Serve in the digital world as a coach, teacher, guide, mentor, retreat leader, spiritual director, and more!  

Click the photo to read how 'Free Range Priests Solve Traditional Problems.'  

Click below to read more articles by and about Free Range Priest... 

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"Cathie has been a courageous truth-teller as long as I have known her.

Free Range Priest in Austin, TX

Free Range Priest is a call for the church to embrace new structures without losing the heart of our ministry - to explore creative ways of connecting clergy with congregations that can bring life and energy to the Jesus Movement."

- the Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

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Discover Creative Ministry - and share your own!

A Ministry Mini-site is a simple, affordable way to establish or enhance your digital presence.  

Reach people online with Good News!

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