Those Crazy Pastors’ Kids

20130629_160253Thom Rainer, the research extraordinaire for Lifeway Research, recently posted an article about pastors’ kids and I thought I would share it here. Before I share the article, I would like to add my thoughts. When I was a youth pastor, we used to go to a summer camp; at that camp was a pastor and wife that every year would lament the life their poor kids had to live. They elevated their children’s suffering as pastors children to an unhealthy level. Much was made about the horror of being a pastors’ kid. I really think that these people added to the burden of their children. That is not my aim. There are many things that this article calls to our attention, and we certainly want to consider whether or not we are being a blessing to our pastors’ kids (and all kids for that matter), or whether or not our behaviors towards them will contribute to their walking away from the church and the Lord.

As dad and a husband, I don’t consider my children to be pastor’s kids or my wife to be a pastor’s wife. I consider them to be Christian kids, and a Christian lady, at least that is my aim for my family.

For me, I have said and will say until I die and will counsel young pastors with this statement… “I will never sacrifice my family on the altar of ministry”. Truth to tell though, it’s a hard lesson to learn when you are in the thick of it and when there are so very many hurting believers and unbelievers that clamor for your attention. My wife knows that should it ever come down to her or the ministry I have already chosen her. With all of this said, hit up the link at the end for the rest of the article…

It was not the response to a blog post I expected. Back in June of 2013, I wrote a post speaking on behalf of pastors for their kids. I summarized seven major things pastors wanted you to know about their children. The article had a big response when it was first posted. But, for reasons I have not completely fathomed, the post went viral a few weeks ago. Now almost 200,000 views and hundreds of comments later, we can see a pretty clear picture.

You see, the majority of those who responded were pastors’ kids. So, instead of hearing from pastors about their children, we heard directly from the children themselves. Some were teenagers still living with their parents. Others were adults who grew up as PKs. All of them had pretty strong opinions.

As I read again through the plethora of comments, I developed seven major themes from these PKs. Not all of their comments were negative, but a majority did communicate some level of pain. Here is what they said:

  1. The glass house is a reality. People are always looking at the PKs. They have trouble saying or doing anything without someone, usually a church member, making a comment. Most of these PKs (and former PKs) felt a great deal of discomfort living in the glass house. Some even expressed bitterness.
  2. Some church members made a positive and lasting impression on PKs. One of the more frequent positive comments we heard were about the church members who loved and cared for the PKs. Many of them took the children under the wings and made a positive difference in their lives.
  3. Some church members were jerks to the PKs. Many of the stories are heartbreaking. It is really hard to imagine some of the awful words that were said to the PKs. Some still feel the sting of those words decades later.
  4. Many PKs resent the interrupted meals and vacations. They felt like their pastor parent put the church before the family. One PK, now an adult, lamented that every vacation his family took was interrupted; and many times the vacation was truncated.
  5. Some of the PKs have very…