Contrary to popular belief and the media, not all preacher’s kids are wild and crazy. In fact, believe it or not, we are normal people just like you, whose dad’s profession happens to be pastoral ministry. The average person is under the presumption that preacher’s kids–especially daughter’s–abandon everything they grew up with to become some wild party animal. While that may be true for some, it isn’t the case for all of us. Truth be told, in high school I had “friends” betting on me doing this very thing. And if we are still being honest, I took it as a challenge to do the opposite. Not because my parents made me, but because I was hard headed and determined to be different and to show them that not every preacher’s kid becomes the stereotypical wild child.
*Note: this post is intended to be humorous and light-hearted on the reality of being a PK, and should not be taken as complaining.
Growing up, I had days where I resented being a pastor’s kid. It had nothing to do with my dad’s profession, though. As a young kid and early teen, it was incredibly hard. Due to the stereotype of what preacher’s kids are, I was bullied–a lot. Looking back now though, I see that I was bullied mostly out of either jealousy or because my life reflected what people desperately needed–a relationship with Jesus. At the time, I was still learning how to make my faith my own and didn’t know how to tell others or I was afraid. I lived in a lot of fear, because I knew the stereotype and I didn’t want people bullying me. It took me years to get past it. While my parents did teach me about Jesus, and lead me to The Lord, they were gracious with me in letting me make my faith my own as a teen. They knew that they couldn’t make me choose to believe in Jesus, and I chose that for myself. It is something I am really thankful that they encouraged me to do and supported me in doing it.
As a pastor’s kid, most of the time you felt like you were living in a glass house. Everything you ever said or did felt like it was on display for everyone to see and critique. Sometimes it was really hard at church. Although I loved my church families, the pressure was on being the preacher’s kid. There would be unrealistic expectations placed on us by other members. Meaning that, you were expected to be on your best behavior all the time and never mess up. Most of the time this looked like acting like adult, which as an energetic, clumsy, and talkative kid is rather difficult. At one point in my life, I was teaching Sunday School, leading worship, and creating & running a powerpoint in one given Sunday. That created a lot of burnout for me and I lost heart for a while. Eventually it did get better, but at the time it was really hard.
This post, is all too accurate when it comes to a few different struggles that pastor’s kids face. One of my favorite ones from the list was number five. It said “anything you do may end up in a sermon”. This was so true *insert the laughing/crying emoji here*! I was always so terrified that my dad would use me as an example in his sermons. Something else I will add is that I was also terrified that my dad would either call me out in church or ask me to participate in a visual example for his sermons (it had happened a few times, and I said no because I am bashful and hate speaking in front of people (shocker, I know). I just can’t bare the thought of getting up in front of people and having all these eyes staring at everything I do.
A lot more could be said about being a preacher’s kid, but for the sake of time, I will end with one last thing. One of the most common misconceptions of the life, is that the pastor only works 1-2 days a week. In reality, the pastor may only preach 2-3 times a week but never actually stops working. Outside of the church, my dad spent hours in his office studying and preparing for his next sermon. When he wasn’t there, he was “tending his sheep” as we called it. Meaning, he was taking care of other people that needed him. Whether that looked like talking to them, visiting them if they were sick, hurt, or delivering babies; directing funerals, counseling people and so much more. This is hard to explain to people, but if you know anything about ministry, there is a lot more that goes into it than what most people see on the surface. A lot of work happens behind the scenes, and that’s where the rest of what a pastor does happens. The families of pastor’s also work hard too. It is not an easy life, but it is one that I believe is worth everything. God’s pride and joy is people, and pastors live this out well because their entire ministry is centered around people. With everything that pastor’s and their families pour out, it is important to remember that they are still human too. We are all sinners saved by grace, and still need people who love us and pour into us no matter what profession we have.
I would not trade growing up a preacher’s kid for the world. It has taught me a lot and grown me in ways that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. I have learned how to love people no matter where they come from. I have learned how to have faith in God and His plans because being in ministry can be challenging, and sometimes God uses hard circumstances to grow you closer to Him. I gained a deeper understanding of the reality and the importance of ministry. I am so thankful for the family that God gave me, and that my dad was a pastor. In fact, I am incredibly proud of my heritage and that I come from a long line of pastors. It is a fact that I will forever be grateful to speak. God has blessed me beyond measure. Beyond what I deserve and will never ever regret. I may have resented it growing up, but the older I get, the more I am thankful for the way I was raised.
If you are a pastor’s kid yourself, what would you add? How has it changed you?