It’s sad that kids raised in ministry have a stereotype. They’re called PKs, but you already knew that because you have a few. Too often they grow up in the shadow of incredibly busy parents and develop some frustrating personality traits and qualities. They can be bratty, rebellious and walk around the church like they own the place. Sometimes this is the result of kids who aren’t getting the attention they need from a mom or dad drowning in the good work of ministry. Over the years, I’ve met many adult pastor’s kids who have broken relationships with their family and an abandoned faith.
I’m very aware of this problem and the very last thing I want is to lose my kids to the ministry. I want my kids to understand the work that I do. I want them to understand what drives me to work as hard as I do. However, I want them to love that they get to be Pastor’s Kids.
I’ve been encouraged and inspired over the past 3-4 years by the words of Doug Fields. Doug is one of the loudest voices in student ministry and raised three kids while serving at one of the largest churches in the country. He’s seen incredible ministry success, but his successes as a parent have caused me to lean in to listen to what he has to say. Here’s a great article on this very topic.
This last summer I had a two month sabbatical. I’ve had a lot of people ask me what I got out of it. The sabbatical wasn’t supposed to just be a vacation, but something intentional. Although there have been many good things that have come from my sabbatical, the one thing I like to say isn’t what people expect to hear. On of my primary goals of my sabbatical was to help my kids love that their dad is in the ministry.
Last I checked, not many people get to take two months off from their job. Sure, I only get to do that every 5-7 years, but I have been able to snag 2-3 weeks at a time the last couple of years. The flexibility my church has allowed me in time off has brought so much happiness to my family. It has given us time for adventures we’ll never forget.
My son Titus gets a lot of perks. Nearly every time we’re at the church, we’ll find some snacks/candy stashed somewhere and enjoy a special treat. He gets to ride his scooter through the building and I even let him run the light board in our elementary environment when I’m in that part of the building. Best of all, he gets to come to special events like Winter Camp and special events he’s not old enough to be at. He LOVES this.
Recently I was talking with another pastor who was asking for a favor for their kid in regard to the way we program. He said, “I’m not asking for special privileges or trying to take advantage of my role on staff.” I told him, “I want your kid to have special privileges because he is your son.”
Whether our kids go into ministry or into the marketplace, shouldn’t they be the most equipped to live out their faith? They grow up in a hyper-focused environment of spiritual development – but too many times they walk away with resentment and brokenness. I know that isn’t what I want for my kids.
I’m curious, what do you do for your kids that help them love that you work in a church?
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