On Being a Pastor’s Kid, Part Three

I love pastor’s kids (PK’s). I loved being one, and I love having them. I don’t mind the term PK and still wear it with pride. So far in this brief series, the first article focused those who are not the parents of pastor’s kids, and the second article addressed those who are. In this last article, I want to talk about being a pastor’s kid.

This is not just another piece on “how to be a PK and live to tell about it.” I have much more respect for the pastor’s family than that. I’ve heard all the jokes. I even tried to think of a few with which my PK friends can relate:

  • If folding bulletins and pot luck dinners are a night out on the town, you might be a PK.
  • If people bring banana pudding to your house in October (Pastor Appreciation Month), you might be a PK.
  • If you’ve ever finished off the remaining cups of grape juice after the Lord’s Supper, you might be a PK.
  • If you’ve stayed to lock up the church building more often than the janitor, you might be a PK.
  • If family vacations usually involve a Pastor’s Conference and Annual Meeting, you might be a PK.
  • If everyone in the church knows who you are, even if they don’t know your name, you might be a PK.
  • If multiple people in the church tell stories about changing your diapers when you were “this tall,” you might be a PK.
  • If you can actually identify the “unnamed people” in the pastor’s illustrations, you might be a PK.
  • If you know every great hiding spot in the church building, you might be a PK.
  • If the word parsonage is in your vocabulary, you might be a PK.

We all know the famous stories of rebellious pastor’s kids, ranging from Franklin Graham to Friedrich Nietzsche to Alice Cooper. And I am conceding without apology the exceptional example set by my parents, and the extravagant grace afforded to my wife and me from the Lord in our four remarkable sons, all of whom are out of the home and remain faithful to the Lord and His church.

But, may I say with all love and compassion, if you are rebellious or turn from your faith, your parents are not responsible and the church is not to blame.

I want to change the tone of the conversation so often demonstrated regarding pastor’s kids. So, in the spirit of celebrating who we are as pastor’s kids, I want to suggest several important lessons on being a PK.

  1. You are a pastor’s kid, but your identity is more than just a PK. Being a PK is not a role that you play. You didn’t choose to be a PK; God chose it for you. It’s an opportunity. Celebrate it. Enjoy it. Thank God for it.I believe that being a PK is a gift. It’s a blessing. I’m not persuaded that your life is harder than anyone else’s. It’s different, to be sure. But you have far more blessings than challenges.Consider, for example, the privileges of being a PK:
    • You are blessed to experience regular exposure to God’s Word.
    • You are learning that being a Christian is not an occupation but a lifestyle.
    • You get to witness firsthand people’s lives being changed and people using their spiritual gifts for God’s glory.
    • You get to meet people, attend conferences, and travel.
    • You have a platform and a certain amount of respect in the church and community because of the position of your father. Many of us have seen opportunities in ministries because we are a PK.
  2. The responsibility your dad carries is ordained of God. Just like God assured Jeremiah that He chose him to be a prophet, God chose your dad to be a pastor. That calling of the Lord can be a heavy responsibility. You might occasionally need to cut him some slack.
  3. Don’t forget, your dad is also your pastor. He is the God-ordained spiritual leader of your home and of the church where you serve. As such, he deserves your support, your respect, and your faithful prayer support.
  4. Let your father be your dad. Contrary to popular opinion, your dad is probably pretty normal. He probably struggles at times to understand you or be there for you. But, when he skips a deacon’s meeting to attend your ball game (whether you start or ride the bench), make sure he knows that you know he’s there.
  5. Make your faith your own. Early on, I was in church because my parents brought me, just like I initially became Southern Baptist because they are Southern Baptists. But later on, those decisions became personal for me.
    • Don’t confuse your parents’ faith for YOUR faith. You are not a Christian because your dad is the pastor.
    • Don’t confuse going to church with having a relationship with Christ.
    • Don’t confuse spiritual information with a relationship with Christ. Just because you know all the answers to the questions the Sunday School teacher asks doesn’t mean you have a personal relationship with the Lord.
  6. If church people act poorly, don’t blame God, don’t blame your dad, and don’t blame the church. Church work can be messy. We live in a grace-starved, sin-infected world. This is why God called your father to stand in the gap. You are seeing a picture of why God sent His Son to love those people who sometimes don’t show love to you or your dad. You don’t have to let them determine how you live.
  7. Maybe people ARE watching you. But is that really a bad thing? Why not use the opportunity to show them Christ.

A PK doesn’t have to be better than everybody else. You don’t have to be more spiritual than everybody else. Your standing before the Father isn’t determined by the occupation of your father. Just like God chose your dad, God has chosen you to be the child of a pastor. And when you think about it that way, that’s a pretty cool thing!