I grew up a preacher's kid or a PK as we are often called. I was in church my entire life. My father was in leadership of some kind as far back as my memory will take me. To see me now, you would think I never struggled with anything. Well you couldn’t be more wrong!
First, let me say I am not writting this because of anything that has happened and it is not aimed at anyone. I was woken up by the Holy Spirit this morning compelled to share my story. I was called to preach at 5. I remember the call so clearly and distinct. I was in Sunday School, the teacher was talking about Jonah and how God called him to preach and he didn’t want to go. I remember being mesmerized by the idea a Giant Fish swallowed him to take him where he didn’t want to go. I didn’t realize then I was being set up by God Himself. Little did I know that one day, I too would run from my call. I remember sharing with adults that I was called to preach and my PK life began. I was patted on the head, “Awe isn’t that cute? He wants to be like his daddy.” There I was, at 5, religious people got me to question my call. I tried not to loose the fire but it seemed everywhere I turned some “Christian” was ready to put out the fire of this preacher's kid. It was by 6 years old I already started running.
Preacher’s kids are always under the microscope. Lazy parents expect you to be the model child for their kids in their youth group. So if you do ANYTHING that their little one is expected not to do, you are the butt of church ridicule and complaints. However, everything you do right, their kids are told, “Look at Pastor’s Kid, why can’t you be more like that?” Thus teaching kids to compare themselves to man rather than God. Thus making it even harder on us ALL when I would fall short.
I hate to sound like it’s all bad, their was perks. I mean, my Dad was a preacher and knew the word. He taught me how to pray, prep a sermon, love on people when they were hurting, and be a good husband and eventually father. I often got the leftovers though. He was tired from sitting at hospitals, counseling, and putting out fires started by people who just wanted to stir up conflicts. The PK life wasn’t a normal one. The older I got and the closer to God I became, the harder this PK life really was. My dad was not a preacher's kid. He did not get it! He was too tired from solving other’s problems that I didn't want to bother him with mine, I couldn’t talk to anyone else about them either because, well, who do you talk to?
I eventually started to accept the call on my life to preach. That brought about an entire new set of conflicts. People really began to look for problems then. Even if I wasn't doing anything wrong, they just made stuff up! Do you Date? If so, you’re too young, the girl isn’t holy enough, she is distracting your ministry… Don’t date? You must be gay, or you think you’re better than everyone else. Good luck finding a girl who wants to even date a PK too by the way… All eyes are on that relationship!!! Many glaring and carefully watching for the demise of the relationship so that they may point their fingers and say they prophesied the destruction of your young ministry before it was started. Oh you think I’m joking or over exaggerating? When my wife and I first got together as a dating couple, people actually came into my place of employment and harassed me and called me names. I think it was because I didn’t pick their daughter. I may never know the real story.
I would often leave my bible at the church because what I loved became a burden to me. Not because of God, but because of His people I was called to love. I cried myself to sleep at night many times because of God’s people He called me to love and preach to would say mean things like, “He’s not seasoned enough” What they did not realize, at 15 years old I had been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit much longer than half of the congregation. I was not perfect but I understood that I was dealing with adult problems very early on. Preacher's Kids never really get a childhood. They hear all the adult problems of the church and are expected to behave differently than everyone else. When a PK then is more “mature” than the rest of the kids because of this, everyone assumes they are prideful or think they are “better than everyone else” actually, we don’t avoid others because because we think we are better than you, we avoid you because you assume that and alienate us by talking about us often behinds our backs and it just gets back to us. We may be preachers kids, but we are still human and your attitude towards us hurts. So rather than be your “buddy” we learn to love you from a distance.
In my adult life, I now am as a result of this an introvert. I’m guarded and I have to force myself to be in the presence of people. I went to work for hospice as a chaplain because I knew I needed to overcome this about myself. Growing up people would say to me, “You know what they say about preacher’s kids don’t ya?” I felt forced to laugh it off but I knew what they meant. It was assumed I was spoiled or I was going to run wild. There was just no way I could be totally free to be who I needed to be in Christ. In fact it wasn’t until my dad passed away that I was finally free from all of that and could finally stand on my own merits as a minister. It cost me my father dying at 50 for people to finally see me as the man of God I was called to be. I don’t think it is quite fair to have to loose my dad for that type of freedom. I not only lost my dad, but my pastor!
I am now the father of two beautiful girls. One who is 3 and already starting to find her way towards a microscope and one 14, called into the ministry as a third generation minister, and she has taken my place under the microscope. I might add, everyone else sees it as a spotlight. She can do nothing right at times and she can do no wrong it seems. No matter how I choose to raise her someone is always going to treat her the way I was treated. I have learned that I cannot shelter her, I have to teach her that church people can be some of the meanest and cruelest people at times. She has to not be babied or sheltered. She needs to face her persecutors head on and remember who has called her. Not her Dad! While I am proud of her, I would really have never wished this lifestyle on her. It’s hard enough to be a PK without being called to preach. However it is God’s call and we honor that. It is the highest call in the world. If our president can stand under the public scrutiny he is facing for just our nation, I’m sure we can handle some well meaning church people. But, don't you ask me concerning my daughter, “You know what they say about preachers kids don’t you?” I will proudly respond, “Why No? Please enlighten me you know nothing baboon.” Because what “They” say about me, don’t bother me anymore. However, what “They” say about my daughter, does! I’m not only her father but I’m also her pastor. I’m sworn to protect her and instruct her in righteousness. However it is the churches responsibility to do that for all of her kids. I will guard my Youth Pastor’s Kids and other ministers kids with this same fervor! Because I almost let religious people run me from my calling and I won't let others do that to future generations.
Today, through the Holy Spirit, I have had wonderful opportunities to minister to people in their grief, help people with church hurt, and protect people from the scathing judgmental attitudes of others. While I had to determine in my heart to keep fighting the good fight. A great number of my PK friends will tell you that they want nothing to do with ministry and often church as a result. We cannot blame others for our own actions, because most people do what they do out of ignorance and don't really understand the emotional pain they inflict. So at the end of the day PK's have to learn it's not Jesus doing this and they have to remember we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. Where there are personalities there will be principalities at work. We have to, as PK's be stronger in our faith. That doesn't make us better than you, nor do we feel that way. It is how we survive! It is the same reason I fight to be sociable today.
My goal is to build a new church where there is a culture of LOVE. A culture where evil judgmental attitudes are dead. I’m not talking about, not calling sin what it is. I believe we teach the entire gospel. I am talking about calling out the real sin of pride, jealousy, arrogance, haughty spirits, and hypocrisy. They are even more deadly sins than most preached in today's pulpits. We are quick to jump on someone else's failures but do not often see our own. We can change this if we will but only examine ourselves.
Do you attend a church where the Pastor has kids? Back off of them. They have it harder than you know because they have NO ONE to vent to. Are they running wild away from God? Pray for them and shut up, don’t run your mouth about how wild they are! Are they good kids, called into the ministry? Leave them alone! Pray for them that their faith doesn’t fail. Encourage them often! Their parents are caring for you, do not add to their burden by bashing or belittling their kids! If you cannot handle this or you feel there is TRUE nepotism in the church, LEAVE find another church and leave God’s Kids ALONE! Thank you for taking the time to read this. May God bless all my Pastors and PK friends out there I love you all and I'm praying for you.
Here are some scriptures to consider:
Matthew 18:5-7 (KJV)
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
Hebrews 13:17 (KJV)
17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Matthew 7:1-5 (AMPC)
1 DO NOT judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.
2 For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.
3 Why do youstare from without at thevery small particle that is in your brother’s eye but do not become aware of and consider the beamof timber that is in your own eye?
4 Or how can you say to your brother, Let me get the tiny particle out of your eye, when there is the beamof timber in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite, first get the beam of timber out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the tiny particle out of your brother’s eye.
1 Corinthians 11:27-32 (KJV)
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.