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.

Sign up HERE for a convenient time. 

Cathie Caimano

I was ordained in the Episcopal Church almost 20 years ago, back when being clergy almost exclusively meant serving in congregational ministry.

I did that - and loved it! - for a decade, then served for 5 years on the staff of the then-Bishop of North Carolina (you might have heard of him!)  

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.

Let's talk

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 initial call.  

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
Find out More
  • 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

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

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 for bringing Good News to congregations - and beyond! 

You can thrive in ministry, and make part-time congregational work mean a full-time vocation. Support small churches and expand your own calling, and most of all, share God's love more fully.

Find out How

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.

Let Free Range Priest do it for you.

Get a one-page 'Ministry Mini-site' for your church or creative ministry.

It's perfect for you if you are just starting your digital ministry, or if you already have a website but it's outdated or unruly. Here's what you'll get: 

  • Designed and hosted by Free Range Priest
  • A lower cost, clear and effective way to launch (or enhance) your digital ministry
  • Easy to update and edit, forward your own domain name.
  • Comes with a customized logo!
MORE about Ministry Mini-site

Say 'bye-bye' to 'bi-vocational'

'Bi-vocational' technically means being called to both secular and sacred work. Increasingly, though, it is used to mean 'I don't get paid for my ministry'!

That's because so many congregations struggle to pay clergy, and clergy don't know how to serve in ministry beyond the congregation. Free Range Priest helps you fully claim the call to ministry, and get paid for sacred work that happens online and in-person, but not at church. 

This way, clergy can sustain ourselves and our families doing the work we are called to, AND we can afford to serve congregations in ways that affordable.

Here's how...  

  • How 'digital' and 'in person' ministries are compatible - not mutually exclusive
  • How clergy can get paid on contract - not salary
  • How 2 Sundays a month = Good News
  • How Free Range Priest can help

What is a Free Range Priest?

Why Free Range Priest?

Only about half of all clergy get paid a full-time salary, and that number continues to decline.  

Creative, sustainable ministry is necessary to support the work of sharing Good News in today's world. 

The mission of Free Range Priest is to help make that happen. For YOU and YOUR ministry.

Faith and Leadership article

How a Free Range Priest Works

Serve congregations on contract, not salary. Serve in the digital world as a coach, teacher, guide, mentor, spiritual director...

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

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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Clergy, Congregations, and Creative Ministers bringing Good News to the Digital World

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

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