A little more than 19 years ago, our first little preacher's kid (PK) was born. When Aarik arrived the day after I graduated from seminary, we faced the frightening reality that we had just brought a PK into the world. We had heard the horror stories about PKs. We had met and know adult PKs who resented the church and their father's ministry.
The question we asked ourselves was: "How can we raise happy, loving Christian kids who happen to be PKs?" Our search for an answer led my wife and me to interview dozens of adult PKs. We wanted to learn from their experiences, and we now want to share some of the things they told us.
PKs wish their parents knew.
As we listened over the past 19 years, we have heard two common things PKs wish their parents knew: Communication is important, and they appreciate their Christian homes.
One teenage girl recently said, "I just wish my dad would let me talk to him more and let me tell him my problems!" PKs want their parents to be normal parents — caring, understanding and always ready to listen. They don't want to hear another sermon.
Good communication skills include the ability to listen. This is an important skill for parents in general, but one that's especially important for ministry parents. Our children deal with the unrealistic expectations of some church members. Some of them are left out of activities by their classmates because of their family's faith and the father's vocation. They need to be able to share those struggles with us. They don't always need someone to fix their problems, but they do always need someone to listen to their hurts.
But being a PK isn't always a negative. We asked PKs to tell us the best things about being PKs, as well as some of the positive things their parents did. This is what they've said: "We learned biblical faith at home ... our parents taught us about salvation and led us to the Lord at young ages ... our parents taught us to put Christ first in our lives ... and our parents set an example for us in personal faith and commitment."
The fact that you have surrendered to the lordship of Christ is your greatest asset as a parent. Many PKs realize most of their friends do not have parents who teach them these valuable lessons. They value the fact that you do. They appreciate it when you share your faith and show it by the way you live.
Parents can raise PKs to be healthy, committed Christians. This doesn't happen by accident though. Consistent Christian living and good communication skills can go a long way toward helping PKs deal with the unique situations they face daily.
Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?
One minister, two jobs and the family that's at the top of the list. The number of bivocational ministers, those in full- or part-time ministry who carry an additional job, is estimated by some researchers to be as high as 30 percent of ministers nationwide.
"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.