Written By. Charlotte L. Pound
Pastor Jason Staten (MD)
One of the prevalent challenges faced by a PK is what I refer to as the “fish bowl”; where everything that a PK does is being scrutinized by both many members of the churches, well as the community. Another very real issue is that pastor’s kids are often called to many of the responsibilities of the ministry just because they were born into a preacher’s home.
Some of the ways to compensate for the challenges are to celebrate the positives. Focusing on the benefits will help PKs to view their role as a privilege and not a drudgery. Another way to compensate is to set aside times just for family. Some of the ways that our family has tried to do this is by having a family night, by spending a night or two away from home, and having an annual vacation. Another blessing of being a PK is that the children are provided opportunities to spend time around incredible men and women of God, as they come through to minister to the local church.
I would ask parents to not make the children feel that they are competing with the church for your time or attention. Get your children involved in ministry, find their passion and give them the same opportunities that any other member of the church has. I’ve had the privilege of both being raised as a pastor’s kid and raising pastor’s kids myself. The greatest ‘key’ in my life and in the lives of my children is ministry involvement and striving to speak positively of the church and the members.
Pastor Heath Flowers– (Decatur, TX)
There are inherent pressures of being better, of being a standard all other kids are compared to, and always being an example. These pressures are real but can be overcome by the pastor treating their children the same as other children and creating great relationships with the saint’s children.
There are more blessings than added pressures. Much of this attitude/perception will come from the parents, but one of the greatest blessings of being a preacher’s kid is that you are raised with your hands on the work of God. This is what we are called and anointed to do. When the parents make the work of God a joy and not a drudgery, the PKs grow up loving the work of God and having their hands in the harvest and fingerprints on the house of God. It becomes their joy, their burden, their desire, and their passion.
I would suggest that parents always be on guard and be careful. The PKs see and know the faults of the church, but please don’t let them hear that from you. They need to hear the positive about the saints. Even when the pastor is angry about a situation or an individual, don’t let the kids know any different. PK’s have our own failures and challenges and we must realize that even though Dad may be our pastor, we still must learn to hear from God and respond to God’s word and allow God to mold and form us. Love the saints……you might end up pastoring them one day!
Pastor Edward Cantu-(Colorado Springs, CO)
My six siblings and I were raised by parents who believed ministry was all-consuming. “Normal” to us meant church, fellowship, travel, worship, music practice, Sunday school class preparation, drama rehearsals, fund-raisers, and more church. The lack of a non-church life was never talked about negatively. We grew up loving people and not knowing any other way. We were not only being trained for ministry, but our hearts were being exposed to a mindset of service to others.
Not only was I raised by ministry-minded parents but we raised three children also to love the Lord by serving others. Our family’s “normal” was patterned after the way my wife and I had been similarly reared. It’s not wise to use your children as a sounding board for your discontentment with situations, disgruntles with church members, or hurt feelings due to mistreatment. If you keep telling your children they are different from others because their parents are in ministry, they may come to resent this distinction. If you go through life, as difficult as some of it is, with a non-unique attitude and approach, you will train them to simply roll with things. Don’t treat them like delicate snowflakes.
Evangelist Landon Gore (Wylie, TX)
One pressure of being raised a PK can be the “glass house” effect. Ministry is the people business, so your life is amid the constant gaze of someone else. Parents should be careful to give the same grace to their own kids that they give to the child of a faithful saint. Feeling the pressure to follow in ministry is another challenge often felt. My parents never pressured me to preach but they did facilitate a mindset of ministry. No matter what form or role of ministry one may pursue, just as the scripture teaches to, “Seek you first the kingdom and it’s righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”
The blessings of being a preacher’s kid involves a unique and special front row view on life, people, and ministry. Parents can enhance these blessings as they raise their kids to be balanced and faithful Christians. My mother and father did not wait for youth camp, NAYC, or friends to instill biblical principles into my spirit, instead, they guided me through each stage of life. Children will follow a parent’s example before they follow their advice. Don’t just have revival at church but bring revival home. Better yet, let it start there. No wonder those in Scripture who were healed or delivered were often sent back home. Perhaps a miracle is not complete until it reaches the home. I’m reminded what Deuteronomy 6:7 (KJV) says, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” A parent’s role is so vital. They are stewards of future world changers. One of the greatest contributions a parent can make to the kingdom is not just what they do, but who they raise.
Pastor Brent Watts– (Matthews, NC)
One of the greatest pressures of being a PK is that some people think you should be perfect, when in fact, you are human just like everyone else. Parents can address it head on from the pulpit and one on one informing people that there kids are just like everyone else’s. Our favorite line was, “If you don’t believe everything they tell you about us, we won’t believe everything your kids tell us about you.”
One of the blessings of being a preacher’s kid are that you probably get to have more spiritual experiences than most kids as a PK. Many parents will take their kids to conferences and other events. Plus, you get to interact with every pastor, evangelist and missionary that comes to your church. To balance it out, you must emphasize that to whom much is given, much is required. Some advice is to never give the PK you are raising any special privileges that you don’t give anyone else. Conversely, never give them a punishment you wouldn’t give anyone else. Treat them fairly. Also, don’t try to push them into becoming a preacher/preacher’s wife. Let that be a God thing in their life. If they feel directed another direction, support them. One of my most life-changing moments happened at a PK Retreat. I highly encourage district youth ministries to invest in their PK’s.
Pastor Rodney Neilson– (San Jose, CA)
I do not feel that there are added pressures to being raised a PK. My parents taught me honor and respect and lived a Christian life before me. As a result, I felt more pressure to not dishonor my parents with the way I lived my life. I was never put in a special status because I happened to be a ‘preacher’s kid’.
One of the blessings of being raised this way was that I was able to live in a spiritual home and have my life centered around the church and church events. There was nothing more important to our family than the church.
I would say to parents, be consistent and 100% sold out to biblical values. Never speak in a critical or negative way about the saints in front of your children. Follow the Bible, for it is the main source of instruction on this topic.
My father taught me that there is no greater calling than that of a minister, yet he never personally called me into the ministry. He knew the wisdom of allowing God to do the work in my life. Even though I lived away from home from ages of 16-22, my parents were still able to speak encouragement into my life. They had the godly wisdom to gently lead me to find God’s will in my life. Every accomplishment and success I have is because I am standing on their shoulders.