December 16, 2014

Pastor's Kid

For some time now, I have wanted to write about my experience being a PK (Pastor's Kid), but haven't really found the substance to form a blog post, and also because this is one of the most private areas of my life (not the fact that I am a PK, but how it has affected my life), which I usually don't divulge to others. 

However, after reading the first two chapters of The Pastor's Kid, and realizing how helpful it was to hear what Barnabas Piper had to say on the topic, I thought "why not share my own experience?"  Not because I am some great writer, or a sage, but because my heart is to be open about my life, what makes me, me.  

First, before I share my own "story" I want to share some things from the aforementioned book. 

"PKs want to be known, not just known of.  We want to be in relationships that cut through the facades and fronts and unearth the insecurities and needs.  We long for those friends and mentors who will willfully set aside all they think they know of us as PKs and get to know us as people.  These friends will engage our passions, our interests, our fears, our confessions."   
He explains how there are 5 common misconceptions about PKs, I would like to share them, because they are so relevant. 

  1. The PK has a great relationship with God.  No, we need to get to know Jesus and be won by Him.
  2. The PK has a great relationship with his family.  Only by grace can relationships between those people add up to healthy.
  3. The PK loves the church.  To assume that a PK loves the church is to oversimplify what is a tricky relationship.
  4. The PK is confident in his beliefs. Not necessarily. There is a huge difference between knowledge of Biblical facts and confidence in Biblical reality.  And, in fact, being so steeped in all things Biblical often makes those realities harder to believe because they seem mundane, even though they are the basis for all good things.
  5. The PK is a leader.  Leadership ought to be an earned role.  A PK may or may not earn it, but simply being the PK is not qualification enough.  ...We assume qualifications based on associations.

I have always been a "PK" although I didn't give it much thought until I was older.  I do know that being who I am because of who my dad is, has effected me as a person, both negatively and positively, as it has effected my view of the church, both negatively and positively, and people in general, both negatively and positively.  I would say that I was always more sensitive to what others thought for two reasons (1) my own pride, which inflated my ego to think I was something special, and (2) because I have always struggled with being a massive people-pleaser, so I was always looking over my shoulder.  As I have grown as a person, and who I am in the Lord, my confidence has risen, so I do look back less and less.  

Yes, it is easy to take anything bad, personally.  Since we were in McKinney for 22 years, and since the congregation was so small, sadly, I grew up knowing things I probably shouldn't have.  I came to realize at a pretty young age, that there are things I would hear, but need not remember, because when your dad is the pastor, inevitably, conversations happen, sometimes in your home.  I once told Jaden, "you will hear things that you don't need to hear, so even if you do hear them, don't really listen to what is being said, but just move on and ignore." There is a certain confidence (as in privacy) that is unspoken between the pastor (and his family) and those of the flock he oversees.  If one doesn't know how to place things back on Jesus, that can become quite a weight to carry.  It can even break some of lesser steel.  I am thankful that even if I know something, that I have learned to give it to Jesus, and not let it tint my view of that person.  We all struggle, we all have secrets, we all have faults, but God has grace that covers all those things.  And I am called to be an extender of His grace.  

The fact, that as I grew up, I just didn't really trust people because of inter-personal difficulties.  It's sad, because I try mightily to NOT be prejudiced against anyone.  I need to work on that with those people.  I usually don't tell new people I meet that I am a PK, as a way to protect myself against assumptions.  

I am thankful, beyond anything I could ever pen, for all of the rich experiences I have had because I am a PK.  My life has been full of unusual, exciting, scary, and awe-inspiring good-ness.  God has graciously allowed me to pack a TON of content, and adventure into my almost 25 years of life.  As I look back, I remember all of the ways God has worked, not just in my life, but in the lives of those who we have had the privilege of serving alongside in every stage of our ministry.  And while I can take zero credit for any of what has happened to and through me, I can say that I wouldn't change my position.  

So, if you are a PK, please consider it as a gift, not a curse.  It is a unique experience, which God has graciously allowed in your life, to shape and mold you into who He wants you to be.  And yes, there will be bad days (weeks, months, years), but that is just a part of the human experience due to the Curse.  Our response to bad is what matters.  We can choose to be angry, selfish, bitter, even hateful, or we can choose to see things God's way: 

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:15-17 

As a Christian, who just happens to be a Preacher's Kid, I want to say that my life is not my own, and that others are watching how I live, what I say, how I react, and I want to present them with an accurate picture of who Jesus is, and what Christianity is all about, not something that is jaded and tarnished by my selfishness or bitter attitude.  

So embrace your life, with all of it's ups and downs, because you only get this one chance to do something really amazing, for God.  


  1. That part about hearing what you shouldn't have heard rang true with me. As another pastor's kid, I've overheard conversations between my parents about certain members that left me burdened. That's good advice you gave, to lay it on Jesus.

    <>< Amy Young

    1. Aww, yes it can be so hard to put that advice into practice, even in my own life, but I have found in the times that I do, much relief. His yoke is easy, and His burden, light.


Thank you for sharing!