The Ten Commandments — PK Style

I am a "40-plus" PK! My sisters, brother and I grew up in a very wobbly tight glass bowl. It never occurred to me as the oldest that our friends did not swim in the same bowl. Over the years, however, I have met many adult PKs who had difficulties adjusting to the blessings of a ministry lifestyle. Perhaps there should be a manual for these special individuals to assist them in adjusting to a world that can be unkind or to situations that appear to slice at the hopes and beliefs deep in their hearts.

There seems to be a lot of material available through web sites, conferences, books, etc., on "how to pastor" or "how to be a minister's wife." But I have rarely seen material for the PK, the "pastor's kid," the one who has to learn how to swim in that bowl regardless of their personality, time of day or age.

Here are my ten commandments of advice for ministry parents:


  1. DO NOT tell your kids or make them believe that they are responsible for your reputation. They do not hold your reputation in their hands. They do not deserve the pressure and are not capable of processing that type of rule in their heart.
  2. DO NOT teach them that they have to protect your job in the church or your reputation by not doing something (such as piercing something on their bodies!). They are kids. You are the adult. You walk closely with God so they can follow.
  3. DO NOT tell family stories that are personal to them from the pulpit or in teaching lessons unless you have received permission from them. Their life is not always available to be an open book example. How can they even dare to fail if you are going use it as an example and violate their trust? They may give up on the perfection set up for them and resort to constant failure on purpose.
  4. DO NOT violate their immature minds with the gossip, fussing and happenings from private counseling times with church members. They are not mature enough to handle it. They will no longer recognize what is "confidential" versus "public" information, and will likely tell it all again in many versions to make it sound a lot better.
  5. DO NOT decide for them what are their spiritual gifts and/or personal callings. You are Mom and Dad. Be excited and joyful in that role.


  1. DO love them as individuals created by a creative God.
  2. DO answer their questions within reason — even spiritual ones. Do not assume they gain Biblical knowledge by osmosis.
  3. DO pray over them and with them and for them — verbally and daily, where they can hear and know your relationship with God, even as a little one.
  4. DO give them a reason for not doing something with a scriptural basis. "We are not our own. We are bought with a price." This applies also to them, not just the grown-up church folks.
  5. DO make sure they see you date each other monthly (at least!) and know that you feel safe and secure in your relationship with each other and believe it is a priority. Their friend's parents do; why not you?

Article copyright © 2002, Lynda Hamby.
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
Used by permission.

Lynda Hamby is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, from which she received a Masters of Education degree in 2004. She previously served in her church as the college director and church organist.