Seven Things Pastors Would Like Church Members to Know about Their Children

I was serving a church in St. Petersburg, Florida, when it hit me hard. One of my young children had playfully fallen on the floor in the foyer after a worship service. A deacon in the church came up to me and spoke forcefully: “You need to tell your kid to get up. Pastors’ children aren’t supposed to act that way.”

My internal emotional reaction was carnal. I’m just glad I held my tongue. I was really mad. I can still remember my thoughts: “How dare this man hold my young son to a standard different than other kids! My boy really didn’t cause any harm. He was just being playful.

I recently conducted a Twitter poll of pastors and their spouses about this very issue. Though the poll was informal and not scientific, the responses were nevertheless fascinating. Here are the top seven responses in order of frequency. A representative comment or combined comments are given with each of the seven.

  1. Don’t expect more out of pastors’ kids (PKs) than any other kids. “My children need to have the same expectations as the other children in the church. They are not some kind of spiritual superstars because their dad’s a pastor.”
  2. Please offer encouragement to my children. “It’s not always easy to be a PK. The glass house thing is real. I am so thankful for the church members who go out of their way to encourage my children.”
  3. Realize that they are kids. “I know a few church members who seem to think my kids are miniature adults. They expect them to act like a 40 year old instead of a 4 year old.”
  4. Please don’t call them “PKs.” “Their identities should not be based on their father’s vocation. They have their own unique and special identities.”
  5. Please pray for my children. “I am blessed to have this one lady in my church who prays for my three children every day. She knows the special challenges of being a PK.”
  6. Our kids see and hear more than you may think. “After one particularly tough church business meeting, my seven-year-old boy asked me if I was going to get fired.”
  7. Don’t make me choose between my kids and the church. “Too many PKs have grown up bitter and disillusioned about the church. Dad gave more attention to church members than his own children.”

What do you think about these seven challenges? What would you add? What have your experiences been?


  1. says

    Don’t think my kids are “goodie two shoes” just because they are well behaved and don’t like it when other children are disruptive and impolite.

      • Mickey says

        I think each pastor should pass this out quarterly report so everyone so they will remember that a child is a matter how well they know they are to act and behave they are still children whether they are 1 or 18.

      • David Law says

        I was a preachers son !!! My little brother and I were worse than some kids that were not PK’s no doubt. Dad was by-vocational, and when he got home from work he spend a lot of time at the hospital, visiting both lost and saved folks, members and non members of the church he pastored. Lots of people expected no doubt more out of us as PK’s, but were human also even has the preacher is. Just as Dad didn’t always get treated fairly for telling the truth, preaching GOD’s Word that is. He still soldiered on for JESUS our LORD !!! I expected more of myself at times because of this thought by others for a long time. Until I realized that GOD said come just as I am !!! I can not walk on water no more than Dad could, but I know the one who could. Now I am a Preacher and my children are human also !!!

          • says

            David Law….you said the truth, agree with you completely. Deborah Overton…thank you for posting the truth you are so right. God Bless you for truth!

        • says

          I am 60 yrs. old & have been a Preachers Daughter everyday of my life & proud to be one. My Daddy is one of Gods most special Preachers. And has lived at home what he preaches from the pulpit everyday of his life. He’s 84, still pasturing & has been preaching this August will be 65 yrs. Through the years many members have felt the need to correct, speak harshly, spank etc.. I had to always be respectful, respect in earned, there is a difference in the two. My comment was JUDGE LESS YE BE JUDGED. But as I got older there were people who really got out of line. Preachers – Christians, just because some claims to be a Christian DON’T let them be with your children. Know who, what. when & where with your children. Don’t let them out of you site. I was never molested in any way but only because I stood my ground. There were times it could have been a lot different outcome had I not been so strong willed. My advise for PK’s don’t trust anyone just because they say they are Christians & always tell Daddy & Mommy everything. If somebody says something or does something in your presents that doesn’t seem right go to Daddy or Mommy. Preachers & your wife listen your Childs version of any problem they bring to you no matter how small it seems. Let them know they matter & what they have to say matters whether your dealing with other children or adults. Adults WILL lie
          right in the church house on your child especially if their children are involved. Don’t be quick to judge. There is always two sides to the story & believe it or not they can sometimes both be right or both be wrong. What I’m trying to say is no child should have to always give in to others just because they are a PK. Being a PK is one of Gods special honors in life. I knew a Preacher that was called to the bedside of a member that was dieing & he told the family I will pray for your family but I’m holding my little girl in my arms with a 105 temperature & I can’t leave my baby. I Love that man so for putting his family 1st. I tell my Preachers, Don’t come see me please, because every minute your with me your away from your Family. All I need is your prayers. I’ve vented a lot & thank you for listening BUT all I ask is pray for our Preachers & their families & remember they are mere humans just like you.

          • ilona says

            Dear Deborah, I couldn’t help but chuckle at “He’s 84, still pasturing”… is it to his flock in the pastures? God bless him, you and your family for doing God’s work. In friendship, ilona.

          • Nina Carnine says

            You just preached a great message Deborah, to the church, to the pastors and the PK’s. Amen!! God bless you for speaking the truth.

          • says

            I agree with Deborah. Sometimes we have tendency to trust ‘churchy people ” too much. We don’t know most of them well, yet we trust our children to them in the name of God. Just be parents and keep an eye on them regardless who these people. Don’t be blindsided because someone goes to church every day. You don’t know what they do outside of church. Remember the catholic priests accused of molesting these innocent altar boys. Quit trusting too much when it comes to our children.

          • Charlotte says

            I was the granddaughter of a preacher, the daughter of a preacher…..Would not trade with anyone the experience it was for me. Yes,….do keep track of your children. There are still people out there that attend church that would cause problems for your child. Most of my experience was good. I felt privileged to live in the parsonage and to be “the Pastor’s daughter”! I miss the “after church” gatherings. at my parents home. There were always funny stories of things that happened at church and just good fellowship.

          • Mildred says

            This is really good. My son is 57 years old, but there was times when he wasn’t happy being a PK.

          • acm222 says

            I am a pastor’s kid. I grew up loving everyday of it. And then, around 20, I realized my parents are flawed and our family isn’t perfect and much of who we were in the community was a lie. I struggled and wrestled with my faith and I haven’t been back to church since. Be careful when your children grow up, can understand the complexities of life, and can see through much of the bull in the church. Because of our upbringing, our faith in God may not be too far off from our faith in our parents.

        • Ruth Miracle says

          I am a Deacons wife. We have 3 kids. The same is said for a Deacon’s kid. People would say things like, you can tell that is a Deacon’s kid. My Husband worked hard, He was a Deacon, He was a Treasure. I taught SS. I was a mother of young children, We worked with Teens. And some of the older people would say things like, would I Join the ladies ball team, I said I was to busy. the remark was made that we should never be too busy to join the other Ladies. Iwas ask to join the choir I said my baby was to young to let the kids carry him a round while we had choir practice, a lady then remarked… The same God that gave you that baby could just as easy take it. I joined the choir. Needless to say after 27 yr. in that church I was worn out. I will never stop serving God to the best of my ability. My kids grew up just like other people. The would never take on the jobs in the church for long because the church people expect to much from you!! Encourage one another, don’t say things so hurtful it lastes a life time!!

          • Tuesday says

            Sorry Ruth, being the preachers kid and being the deacons kid are not the same, not even close! Deacons kids may go through some of this but NOTHING compared to being the PK

          • Shelia says

            I hate to disagree with you Ruth, but deacons’ kids are NOT held to the same standard as Preacher’s kids… Not now, not 20 years ago, not 50 years ago! My father has been pastoring ALL 49 years of my life, plus some. We see not only the loving side of church members but also the hateful side. It hurts when your dad is talked about in front of you like you’re not even there! This happened to me in a Sunday School class when I was in high school.

          • Sherri Pifer says

            I hate to disagree with you Ruth. I’m sure there may be those unspoken strict guidelines for Deacon kids, it still doesn’t compare by far to Preachers Kids. My husband & I plus our family was part of a church for a year before it was decided he would be the full time pastor there. One Sunday my children were just part of the congregation, the very next Sunday when my husband stepped into the full time Pastoral position, our daughter who was 14 at time was called on and told now that her father was the pastor of the church she’d better learn to read scripture and pray, so today was a fine time to start and she called up in front of the whole church! This did not go over well for any of us! Many times PK’s hear things from “good christian leaders” of their own church criticizing the pastors family and most of those time these people don’t even know the children are in ear shot! It’s sad how people treat their pastors and families.

        • Rev. Richard Daniels says

          I don’t understand why sometimes church members think pastors children just dropped from Heaven and they expect them to behave like angels, I maen it looks like if u are called your children are authomatically called. But it’s never like that.
          Rev. Richard Daniels.

      • Carolyn says

        As a childcare giver I feel church children should have boundries set , regardles of their ages or if they are PK ‘ or not .. there are places within churches that must be respected
        , the church is a place of worship not a playhouse .Leaders are put there to lead that is what they do .I f it is done in love & explained I see no reason our children of the church cannot be corrected .
        A rebellious child during a move of God , can suck the helly

        • Nikki says

          I understand “children of the church” should be disciplined. I don’t know if you are talking about PKs or not, but what I do know is no matter what child you are, if you are at church, you should be made to mind… PKs or not. As a 28 year old mother of two and a pastors daughter i know exactly what it is like to be judged just for being a “kid” or “child of the church” as you would call it. For some reason people feel the need, especially adults, to be judgy of the pastors children. And why is that? My dad is just as much human as the next and raised us to the best of his ability. The difference is he has the calling of God on HIS life. At our church now we have kids coming from all walks of life and our focal point is giving them the scripture to have as a backbone, not to constantly reprimand them bc they may be loud or rowdy. They love our church bc it is a fun place! And I dare anyone to be rude to them, bc of the fact that I am a PK, I have leadership qualities that will scare the you know what out of people. Let’s love the children. God bless!

          • Sandi says

            As long time youth workers, we were a part of many young peoples lives. We were teachers as well as counselor. When the pastors children were in youth group We took the same care and guidance with them that we did with hundreds of teens over many years. Until the pastors wife hammered me for correcting (in private) the daughter for some inappropriate PDA with her boyfriend in the sanctuary. A visiting friend had even commented to us that church was no place for that kind of groping. From then on these teens were off limit for anyone to even think about correcting …..

          • Ellie says

            Thank you for saying this, Nikki. Being a PK is hard and can be just as draining as being a pastor. keeping up a front so that your dad doesn’t look bad in front of the congregation. I am so glad someone cared enough to ask about this topic, bc it is a huge one in my family.

            Thanks again!

        • Shelley says

          Jesus had the children running and playing around him and he did not have a problem with it. I am a mom and grand mom and I love hearing and seeing laughter and playing in my house… why do people think that Jesus would be different? If we are the family of God then the church is the house…so let’s LIVE in it and not act like it is so sacred that we cannot come as we are. God despised pretense, but loved authentic people that came to him. People should stop trying to be “holy” and be who God made them, which for a child means playful and happy. Jesus prayed for us to have His Joy. From my experience (as a Pastors wife) most Christians do pompous rather well already.

          • Rebecca says

            So well said, Shelley. Thank you! Listen up, folks–this is the TRUTH! My husband’s father was a pastor. We are now raising our 4 children on the mission field. Disciplining children for the sake of appearances is so damaging to them, and gives them a wrong idea about God’s character. Let’s REALLY check our intentions before judging a pastor’s kid. Our law is the Law of the Holy Spirit, and that is Love. Galatians 5:13-15

          • Elizabeth says

            Why does everyone keep knocking down discipline? It is needed for a reason! The world is in the shape that it is today because we refuse to discipline our kids & yet we get upset when someone else tries to do it. Discipline is not a bad thing if we do it with love & kindness. The Bible tells us to discipline our kids; it’s required from God for a reason & that is to teach our kids respect & honor.

          • Lauren says

            Amen!!! From another pastor’s wife with four young children. I actually was complimented recently by another wife of a minister for allowing my children to have fun and be joyful instead of making them sit quietly (outside of worship time) the way she had done her kids.

          • Neil says

            Well said Shelly! As a pastor of a congregation with few children I long for the noise of children in the church. Now don’t get me wrong, children don’t need to run wild during service but some playfulness and the energy they bring is like the sound of running water to a thirsty man in the middle of a lot of sour, dry faces! Bring on the the children!!

          • Shawna says

            Thank you so much….I agree wholeheartedly. As a pastor’s wife, there are times when we have to be at the church early and my kids are 6 and 2…They want to play. To discourage that is to discourage having children which are to be a blessing from God. The blessing is not to have mini adults in your household but to have children.

        • Heather says

          There issue here is not that PK’s cannot be corrected or disciplined by anyone else. Most pastor’s families welcome nursery workers correcting their child’s behavior, and church members stopping a child from doing something dangerous to himself or anyone else at any time. The issue is that the man said “pastor’s kids shouldn’t act that way’ when there shouldn’t be different standards for pastor’s children and member’s children. A simple, “stand up like a big boy” probably wouldn’t have caused this particular mother to bat an eye. ALL children will disobey and will act in ways that are socially inappropriate as they grow and learn. All pastors are asking is that their children be treated with the same grace as any other child in the church. If anything, the pressure put on children of ministers, the attention that pastor’s children are denied in the name of kingdom work, in addition to living in a “glass house,” deserves a little bit more understanding and grace than some.

          • Myssi says

            Agreed Heather. I would like to add as a PK myself that it’s also about “labeling” us. We (PK’s) are our own individual. We didn’t choose what our dad’s profession is or that God called him into the ministry.

          • Lisa says

            So true Heather! I expect all adults at our church to “help” raise my children to glorify and honor God in the things they do. It they are disrespectful or acting foolish PLEASE say something to them… as I will do to your children.

        • janiceayres says

          children I don’t care whose they are need to be taught to respect others and the church at all times.They need to behave in church ,no running in and out and to sit quietly until they are dismissed.You need to control them at all times,and not expect your congregation to correct them for you .Sorry Tracey,but thats the way I feel .I didn’t let my kids act up or my grandchildren either.

          • Catherine says

            Janice, you’re right children should be taught to behave and have respect. However saying a pastors child should act one way and other children don’t, is unacceptable. I was one of these children held to a higher standard. I had to hide my feelings and emotions because as a pastors family we were expected to appear perfect. I was raised by the same pastor/father that my brother and aisters were raised by. Though we were raised the same, we didn’t all choose the same walk of life. I will raise my children to be respectful just as my parents raised me. But as children, I know that sometimes they will slip up and I will love them anyways. God shows us abundant mercy and we should be a little more merciful to others.

          • Eric Phillippe says

            I have been in ministry the last 20 years. I also have 3 children of my own who have grown up as “PK’s.” Can I just say that the attitude I detect in Janice’s post is precisely the reason so many pastor’s children, or any children for that matter, have issues with the children. Obviously we are admonished in Scripture to teach our children respect. However, the “You need to control them at all times” is precisely the opposite of Jesus’ “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19:14). Children are to be cherished, nourished and directed…but there is a difference between directing and crushing their spirit. The joy and freedom a child brings to the assembly of God is, according to Scripture, a weapon against the enemy of Life. “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:2) I have seen far too many adults in church who expected children to be little adults…they aren’t and praise God for it.

            I would also like to point out that the church building is not a holy place because the building has some special intrinsic holiness. It is a special place because God’s people gather there. In other words, church is not a building…Church is the people. To be quite honest, when I see people start talking about the church as if it were holy ground, I wonder if they truly have any understanding of the redemptive work of the cross. Jesus didn’t die to establish more Temples…He established a Bride (and buildings can’t be married). I wonder if our buildings have become rather like Gideon’s ephod (which was worshiped by the nation of Israel and had become a snare for the people-Judges 8:27.)

            Are we instruments of God’s grace to people who are lost and hurting? And though the answer should be easy…if you have to think about it, let me answer,,,the answer is YES. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:” (2 Cor. 5:18) As we have been given a ministry of reconciliation, how about let’s start exhibiting some grace? Judgmental attitudes and pinched faces DO NOT show love or grace. And we may be the only Jesus these kids see…let’s make sure we are showing them Christ.

          • Elizabeth says

            Janiceayres, you must not have been a child at any given time in life. My Lord, we’re not saying not to discipline or teach children to behave in the house of the Lord, just to do it with love & kindness with all children not just PK. You sound like the type without mercy; what would happen if God had not had mercy on you? We as adults mess up, how much more do you think children will. The Bible instructs us to be like children, for them is the Kingdom of God. Reflect on that why don’t you?

        • NellyBelly76 says

          I am a pastor, and if you keep up with the whole “why can’t Johnny be quiet all the time” even though he is three attitude, then you can kiss that church goodbye in about 20 years maximum, PK or no PK. I was told to reprimand my children at choir practices that my wife directed (for no money), and I either sang or played guitar. Needless to say, my wife quit 2 weeks later, and I ran a blood pressure of 200 over 180 for about a month. We (as a whole body of Christ) get upset when we see children crying, upset, talking or laughing during service, and then parents are told about it. Then, surprise, surprise, they never come back. Children’s Church is really another way of saying “let’s get the kids out of the sanctuary so they won’t disturb worship” attitude. Anytime I have a parent apologize for their kid talking, crying, etc. my response is “at least they were here, and it never bothers me.” I even have suggested having rocking chairs in the back of an old Sunday school room in the sanctuary for fussy babies who need naps….that is a church saying “we care that you are here.” If as the whole church, we don’t change this attitude quickly, then you can just about kiss the American church goodbye.

          • Chris says

            I take issue only with the part of your post that says children’s church is to get them out of the main service so they won’t be disruptive. Our children’s church is just for the first part of the service, so that children can hear the Word in a simplified way; they rejoin the congregation at the Eucharist. Please don’t judge churches who try to meet the developmental needs of the children thru CC. I do absolutely agree with you on the rest of your post.

          • says

            I do not agree that Children’s Church is “let’s get the kids out here.” I am a Pastor’s wife and also have been in Church all of my life and have taught Children’s Church and Junior Church. It is an opportunity to reach children with the gospel of Christ in terms they can understand and to show them the love of Christ from caring adults who volunteer their time and give up the opportunity to sit in the service to do so. Jesus loves the children, and so do I and so do the people in our Church, but as my husband once said in one of his sermons. If you watch a golf tournament on T.V. and someone is trying to get a ball into a little hole, you will see that no matter how large the crowd is that is observing, you could hear a pin drop. When Church services are being held, people’s souls are literally being held between heaven and hell. The least we can do is try to provide and atmosphere where the Holy Spirit can be heard. I know that He can work, even if there are children or babies being noisy in the service, but I can testify to the fact, that it is very disrupting. Also, a baby or child can be perfectly quiet throughout the whole service, but the minute the altar call is given, it is like satan sticks a pin in them or something. It happens frequently in our Church and we have a very capable group of nursery workers, children’s church workers and junior church workers, but not all people utilize them. As for the point being made here, we have personally been blessed with Churches who treated our 3 children well when they were young. Now that they are adults, they are saved and serving the Lord, along with their spouses. We give God all of the glory for that, but I have heard horror stories of how Churches treated pastors, their wives, and their children. My husband told our children numerous times while they were growing up, “Your mom and I do not expect better behavior from you because I am the pastor, we expect the best behavior out of you, because you are saved and are a child of God.” I believe that helped take any pressure or perceived pressure off of them. How a congregation treats the pastor AND his family can make or break a church, and more importantly can make or break the spirit of a child or pastor or his wife.

        • RJ says

          Pastor’s kids should be treated fairly with all other children. ALL children should be taught to be respectful at church, while still allowing the church to be a fun environment. People do not understand how hard it is when the Pastor is teaching his child to have respect while all the other kids are going wild!!! Pounding on drums, pianos, running on the platform and playing hide and go seek after church in the sanctuary. Also, do not expect the “PK” to have to tutor all the other kids, take all the responsibility for other children’s shortcomings, and then make the “PK” suffer to show they are NOT being shown favoritism my ignoring them.

          • jp says

            RJ, I couldn’t have said it better. Especially the part about making PK children suffer to show they are NOT being shown favoritism by ignoring them. Many preachers or Pastors ignore their own children and invest in the congregations children while their own feel left out. Then we wonder why they rebel when they get older.

          • Charlotte says

            I am a “PK” and the experience I had growing up as both positive and negative My parent dis an awesome job protecting us kids from most of the negative. Unfortunately, there will always be those who think we should be perfect. PLEASE allow for “PK’s” to be human. We will make mistakes, sometimes not please everybody but all we asked is that you give us as much understanding as you give your own kids. Luckily most of the people did give us love, understanding and allowed us to be kids.

        • Leslie says

          You obviously should not be someone who takes care of kids let alone in a church, I myself is a PK and we sometimes had no chose but to play in the church as that is where we spent the majority of our time and we were kids no one could expect us not to play, so you have no clue.

          • Rev Francis says

            Children are children despite who are their parents. The pastors kids can also go astray from the faith in the Lord. However, we should pray for God’s help and make effort to bring up our children to be godly.

        • Laura says

          People often refer to the building as a church. WE (the people) are the church. The building we meet in is just that, a building. It doesn’t need to be shown any special respect. We take care of it like we would any other building, but there is nothing holy about it. It is not God’s house (as I was often told as a child). God does not indwell in a building. He lives in us. Let us treat each other (including children) with love and respect. We are God’s tabernacle. The building where we meet is just a building that is meant to offer a dry/warm/cool place to gather and worship God. I hope it is always filled with laughter, running, playing, as well as contemplation and seriousness.
          As far as children “removing the jelly right out of your doughnut during a move of God”, that would be an issue between you and God. God created us to be children and he delights in us. He is not hindered in some way because of a child who might be loud or not paying attention etc.

        • Ryan Abernathy says

          The “church” is a building of no more or less special significance than anywhere else. It is playhouse, gathering space, hospital, funeral home, and countless other things. There is nothing worse or unscriptural than to teach a child that they have to behave a certain way at “church.” It’s completely unbiblical. We should discipline our kids to act right no matter where we are, but there’s not a special set of “church manners” that need to learned.

          Seems to me in a lot of churches we could use more people happy and laughing like kids rather than being sourpusses who are to make everyone else just like them.

          Good words Dr. Rainer. My only addition would be, don’t come and tell me every little thing you think my child should be doing that they are not. I might be parenting them differently from your kid, and my way might be a whole lot better.

        • Judy says

          I think that God delights in seeing His children at play in the church … I think that the heart of God is delighted to see his children blessed in the Spirit, joyful in His presence and in community with other believers. If children were to be so restrained as suggested, I suppose God could create them without a playful, joyful spirit … (tongue in cheek). :)

      • Carolyn says

        As a childcare giver I feel church children should have boundries set , regardles of their ages or if they are PK ‘ or not .. there are places within churches that must be respected
        , the church is a place of worship not a playhouse .Leaders are put there to lead that is what they do .If it is done in love & explained I see no reason our children of the church cannot be corrected .
        A rebellious child during a move of God , can suck the jelly right out of your donut !

        • Robert says

          Unfortunately you mistake boundaries with discipline and examples of such. Children can be corrected just not by you if they are not your children. I would hope that your approach to the house of worship is just that to worship and not worry about what or who is doing what. A child that is having difficulty is not a rebellious child. A child that is having a tantrum is not a rebellious child. An adult that does not give according to the Bible nor does attend church on a consistent basis nor does that person bother to try and grow as a “child” of God that person qualifies as a rebellious child.

          • LawOrGrace says

            Robert, I want to think about your last statement and consider it very closely. 1) an adult that doesn’t give according to the Bible=rebellious child

            (2Co 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.)

            Are you in reference to the 10% tithing under Jewish law?

            2) doesn’t attend church on a consistent basis=what and where is the true church?
            Is it a building where people arbitrarily assemble three times a week for organized instruction in lieu of working out one’s own salvation with fear and trembling? Are the home bound rebellious children? Does attending a church faithfully mean a person is right with God? Are we so tied up in the traditions of man that we don’t even bother to pick up the Bible throughout the rest of the week to read for ourselves? Do we just accept what we are taught as truth instead of reading for ourselves?

            What does the Bible say about what constitutes being a true Christian? There are many aspects-first and foremost is believing that Jesus Christ is the living Son of God, God incarnate. savior of mankind. One must also accept Jesus and yield mastership to Him. Doesn’t Jesus say that not all that say Lord, Lord will enter in, but only those who do the will of the Father?

            ( Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
            Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
            Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
            Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
            Mat 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
            Mat 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
            Mat 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

            There is a great deal more to being an obedient child than tithing and going to a church building a minimum of 3 times a week.

          • Fred says

            I am not afraid to tell child in our church to not do something… considering I am one of the Sunday School teachers. Plus we do have a lot of children who come without parents so if I don’t correct their behavior in church, who will??

            How would you handle a preacher’s kid telling you they don’t want to do the Sunday School lesson and they don’t have to because they are the preacher’s child? I have had one tell me that before. In fact, an older sibling tried the same thing and I told that child let’s have their dad come in and see what he had to say. That child decided the lesson was a better idea.

          • Cayla says

            I am a PK myself and I don’t particularly enjoy it. I’m 16, and the way people expect 16 year old PK’s to act is to be either a mature responsible level-headed adult who can make decisions far beyond their (the PK’s) maturity level or they expect us to be whores who rebel against our parents and do everything we can to shame the church. I didn’t actually think that was true up until I told someone I went to school with that I was a pastor’s daughter and his response was somewhere along the lines of ” oh so you’re either going to be a prissy little snitch or you’re gonna be a little whore.”
            The stereotypes that come with my father’s position are ridiculous and if I do mess up, I would ask that people keep in mind I am 16 I am still figuring life out.

        • Kimi Mattos says

          Why would we teach kids that they can’t be themselves for God? Should not all life be a place for worship throughout the day in all the mundane things we do? In everyday scenarios kids will goof off and be kids. Teaching them to be religious will not make them grow up faster, but it will make it harder to be real with themselves and their faith once they do grow up.

          • Elizabeth says

            Kimi, teaching children to b respectful in the house of the Lord is not teaching them to b religious.
            And I’m not saying that we have to treat them like criminals either. Moderation in everything!

        • Kelly says

          I grew up as a pastors grandchild and we got blamed for everything. Do you realize how annoying that is? There were never any questions to see who was in the wrong, the finger just automatically got pointed at us (my cousins and myself). Now that I’m older my dad is pastor and I see the same trend happening with my kids but I know how it all works. I don’t let that happen with my kids. I know my kids aren’t perfect but just because their PK doesn’t automatically brand them as terrible.

          • Elizabeth says

            I think the reason that happens is bcuz in some cases that i have experienced in the past, the PK r the worst behaving children but noone dares to say anything to them or correct them in fear that the Pastor or his wife will latch out in anger. I am not saying it happens always, but i have seen it. People u must also remember that unfortunately it comes with the territory. We r all not perfect people, therefore, ease up on the children; i’ve seen adults bhave even worse. Discipline with love & kindness; it is possible!

        • Dave says

          I received a revelation one time as I listened to the only Christian radio station in my area. It was full of static but the song that was playing was just what my spirit needed at the time. I began to get frustrated because of the status and the Holy Spirit whispered in my spirit…”press through the static”. I broke through. If a child being a child can suck the jelly from your donut, I pray this revelation can do for you what it has done for me. The disciples said the same thing and Jesus Christ Himself rebuked them for it. He designed them as children and to be children. He even challenges us to be more like the children.

        • Tiffiny Johnson says

          I agree.. just because you are the PK doesn’t mean that you acting out.. and disrupting church is any less of an offense.. it doesn’t give an excuse… I know it must be hard on them.. and that I understand.. but every kid… every kid.. should respect the house of God.. I don’t think that extra should be added to them outside of the church.. kids will be kids… but I think all kids should be taught to respect everyone’s feelings.. no one should be exempt.. just because someone is the PK does not mean they should be allowed to hurt people’s feelings.. disrupt the church.. but I also don’t think they should be treated more harshly.. there is a balance.. they should be held to the same standard as all kids… and all kids should learn to respect the house of God.. the pastor spends time with God to see what the congregation needs.. and this word from God is very important.. and no one should be allowed to be disruptive and keep the congregation from being able to pay attention and hear what the Lord has for them.. so much is missed and people can’t keep their mind on the Lord if they are constantly distracted..

        • Rebecca says

          I’d like to point out that this particular child flopped on the foyer floor “after the worship service,” not during a move of God. I have a lot of resentments towards the church and religion I grew up in, but thankfully, after the worship service was always a time of fellowship for the adults AND the kids…which, in my opinion, is exactly how it should be. Kids who are allowed to have fun in not only the house of God, but in the presence of His followers are more likely to treat their church as their second home and church brethren as their extended family. The deacon in this story very likely needs to get over himself and his ego and pray about his spirit of condemnation towards the children and his pastor.

        • Terry says

          The disciples thoughts exactly and Jesus had a response for them. And what about that blind man yelling over there, let’s quiet him. What is that fella doing in that tree, Jesus will set him straight. What will quench the Holy Spirit is people more concerned about the outside appearances than those Christ died for. Children can be trained up but woe to those who cause them to stumble! And yes I know this examples did not take place “in church” but they did occur while they were in training to be the church.

        • K. Holmes says

          If a child, the noise or rebellion of, sucks the jelly from your spiritual doughnut ….maybe your jelly is thin as water, or what you actually have is a hard crusty bagel. The silence of a church void of the sites and sounds of children is the opera of that churches demise.

          Now, what most all of you have miss ed is that the author wasn’t saying he was upset about his his child being corrected, the whole point was that the deacon stated “pastors children” shouldn’t act like that. Point being, pastors children are no different than your children, or any child. I often find that those who condemn the actions of children in the church…..have the worse children. Oh sure, they’re great when you can see them and they can see you, but when you’re not in eyesight or earshot….they’re jelly-less crusty bagels from another dimension.

      • Thresa Barnett says

        Some people are actually jealous of Pk because they are still going to church & theyve became to be preachers & deacons or married them. Dont get me wrong, i am a Pk , ive done wrong,but ive never drank,smoked,done drugs & was a virgin when i married @ 26 the first time. Im now 48 & still haven’t done any of that & only been with 2 men my intire life. Sorry if thats tmi on the last part.

      • Gail says

        I want to put in a word form the church people’s side. I started going to church when I was 16. I am 44 now. I work in a position that I have gotten to know a lot of pastors children over these years. Some are gone from church. They were “bad” kids, but, not horrid. Some of them were “bad kids” but, they have grown up to pretty sound Christian adults. Some were wonderful children and are great Christian adults. The same can be said for many of the children raised in church, pastors kids or not. My pastors children right now are lovely young people. So, I have seen the bad and good side just as it is with all humans. This said, I have now meet the horror of PK’s. They lie, cheat, manipulate, they destroy things and blame others, they lie start to their parents, (who by the way think it’s just fine for them to do so.) They also are so disrespectful to all adults that a lot have left the church on account of them. I taught my children to do the right things, never lie, always tell the truth no matter what. So, yes I expect the same from other children. MY question is, why don’t you write something about “How Pastors children should treat others, children and the adults at their Daddy’s ” job” . My husband is retired Air Force and works for the State right now, I can’t imagine my children walking into his job and treating his co-workers and boss the way these PK’s have done. I’m sure my husband would get fired. So, point, instead of telling these children they have a free pass to do whatever they like, why can’t they be raised like other children. These two “kids” are 16 and 18 years old, and I can not see the church making it if something good doesn’t happen.

    • LaraJohnson says

      A wise friend once told me that the preacher’s kids got that was playing with the deacons’ kids. LOL

    • Hilda Small says

      Why do people think Pastor’s kids are not like the average kid they are just the same they are allowed to run and play children are children. If Jesus was here wouldn’t he put them on his knees and hold them in his boson like all kids or would he tell them to get away because their father is a pastor and they should know better.

    • kelly says

      When my child is having a difficult time, don’t expect me to discuss it with everyone who is ‘concerned’. Some matters are between me and my child and his father only and not every issue is a ‘mountain’ to be climbed.

    • Lisa says

      I am a preachers kid and this article hit home with me. I am an adult now but the effects of people’s treatment of me and my brother are still with me. Yes the glass house is real. I remember being left out of a lot of activities with so called friends because I was in a preachers family. I was always held to a higher standard than other kids and I was just a regular kid. Today I am very thank for being brought up in a Christian home and I have a close relationship with the Lord.

      • Judy says

        Amen Lisa! Me too! If only people in the church knew how bad the “glass house” affects their pastor and his family. My parents raised my brothers and I in a very loving home. If we acted up at church, you could bet there would be a big discussion when we got home. Even as a grown wife and mother in the same church, we still lived in the glass house. After we moved two hours away and my Dad was led to another church, it was only then that I no longer lived in the glass house. Have to say, it was really nice! I read so many of these posts and wondered if they understand how unloving they sound. My guess is those with those kind of responses aren’t PK’s or they definitely wouldn’t say the things they are saying. Jesus loved children! I’m not against redirecting children, but with lots of love where Jesus is represented with nothing but love.

      • Becky says

        I am 54 and have been a PK everyday of my life. I can relate to many things that have been said, I have been left out of activities by other young people in the church, and many other unrealistic expectations. When I started dating I wanted nothing to do with anyone in the ministry, but God had other plans. So I spent most of my 33 years of marriage as a pastors wife. We did the very best we could with our boys, we raised them to serve God and treat people with respect. We even stepped down from pastoring for a time and my husband served as youth pastor. We finally had to make the very hard decision to step away from that position and attended another church for 6 months, before going back into pastoral ministry. The only reason we made this step was for our boys, the members and mostly the Devon’s of the church had abused the pastor, who was my father, and my husband, to the point that we felt if we did not remove our children from the situation they would be harmed in such a away they would turned there backs on God. It was a great decision, our children were in a great youth group, they had leaders that poured into them, and are still very important people to them today. Since my husbands sudden death 10 months ago, my oldest son has finished his requirements for ministry and is being trained to become the pastor of the church his dad pastored.

        I guess I said all of that to say this, pastors and there children are not perfect, and neither are the members and there children. I think everyone would be so much better off to work on there own lives and relationship with God, and pray for others.

    • Pat says

      By the way, not all preachers are male! In some divinity schools these days almost 50% of students are female! It is a growing group. My children had both parents as preachers, sometimes in the same church, sometimes different ones. This was even more pressure as they were expected to be at every event and help with every project/mission activity at both churches. The list resonated with me! As they got to be teens they were expected to be in ministry as well–evangelism, babysitting, work teams etc. we’re expected of them always. This was hard.

    • says

      I was a full-time preacher for about 20 years. My two children were raised preacher’s kids. We tried to raise them just as we would have were I not a preacher. I never understood why some people expected preacher’s kids to be better than member’s kids. How is that even possible? If member’s raised their kids as they should, most kids would be as good as the preacher’s, and some may be better.

    • Janene Firm says

      My children did not go to college to learn to deal with single minded and those of single heart as well. My children did not study under another pastor for four years to learn from his wisdom and Godliness. My children were not voted in on their knowledge and ability to work in the church. They are expected at this time to do as your children are expected to do for a nominal allowance and keep their rooms clean, feed the animals, do the yard, carry out the trash, help in the garden, make their own beds, take care of their own laundry and keep their bathroom clean. They do not get paid to do the chores set forth for a carpenter. They are not included in the wage earners part of the agreement the pastor signs when he takes HIS position.. They are not called from the womb to be slaves to an uncaring congregation. Set the example if you want young people to follow, including the pastor’s children.

    • Katie says

      Apply this to the children of ANY church worker (Christian school teacher, deaconess, deacon, etc)

      Likewise, don’t think any child of a pastor is going to be immediately a wild child and have to be controlled or watched extra closely because of the crowd he or she will hang out with.

    • Priscilla says

      One thing people don’t know about PK’s is that their father (or mother) never wanted the congregation to think that they (the parent/preacher) were showing favoritism.

  2. Jon says

    It’s like the 16 ur old version of myself wrote all 7 of these responses. I held onto a lot of bitterness as a preachers kid for a lot of years. Wish I could go back and make things easier on my folks. Being a pk is such a difficult task even in the best of circumstances.

    • KR Taylor says

      #7 really struck home for me. I too could have written ALL of this. I went off the rails for many years thanks to being a PK, and PK culture.

    • mark lafferty says

      A pastor’s kid is not only judged by the congregation, but a lot of the time the .pk is being judged at home by the pastor.A lot of pressure is put on .pk, but they have to seek their own salvation just like the rest of us.People sometimes thinks .pk are automatically saved but that’s not the case.If we do like the bible says and train up a child(not just a .pk) in the way he should go , that is to follow Christ then when they are old they will not depart.

      • Trish Admire says

        Mark, I totally agree with you. Not only did my brother and I have to “behave” ourselves at church, but anywhere outside of the church because if we didn’t, our parents would bear the brunt of what people would say in the community. As I got older and realized how hypocritical the church members were, it turned me off of church for a while. God really had to work on me about WHY I was going to church; was I there for myself or there because of Him? My husband has gotten frustrated about attending church because of the cliques in the church or the little squirmishes that go on between the “holier-than-thou” groups. I’ve realized that I can’t worry about that, that my purposed in going to church is to worship my Savior and not worry about all of the petty stuff that goes on in churches now days. I tried to raise my children with that same idea. Our children (whether they are pks, deacons kids or anybody else’s kids) learn their attitudes and feelings from us and if we show them a shallow existence in church, that’s what they will show in church. We should all show the children of our church why we should be there and stop trying to mold them into little “Christian soldiers” that act like little polite robots.
        Sorry about the rant 😉

        • Elizabeth says

          Trish you’re right, but these petty things have been going on in churches since the beginning; it’s called being human & messing up. We all do it from time to time; that is why we look to the Lord & only the Lord. He’s the only perfect one who will never mess up. The problem here is that adults forget that they were once children themselves
          & God calls us to nurture & discipline our children with the same love & respect that we as adults want from other people. People stop labeling children (PK or not) as bad or trouble & be a part of the solution.

  3. says

    Thom you’ve really offered some fantastic advice here. The role is filled with stress & sacrifice for all members of the family, and what you’ve mentioned in your post would be a tremendous service that any member can offer.

    • Nicole says

      ABSOLUTELY! My sister’s and I got away with so much sin as kids b/c we were PK’s. Things, now that we’re adults, continue to keep my sister’s out of church :(

    • laloma seibert says

      The problem is regular kids has 2 parents to spoil them on kids has the whole church spoiling them then smarting off when they do something wrong besides if they say anything every body thinks they father must of said that but they have a mind of their own give them a break a child is a child no matter who the parent is

  4. says

    It’s impossible to go back and undo the damage that church conflicts do to the relationships between ministers and their spouses and children. The time to consider these is before they happen, not after. This calls, I suppose, for more prayerful discernment about the call to pastoral ministry from all sides: the congregations, the clergy, and the families. God bless and comfort the spouses and children of ministers!

    • Barbie Waters says

      That is the best observation I have read. 100% completely true. There is such a fine balance in ministry and to realize that not only are the Preacher’s kids just kids who see and hear more than other kids are, but to realize your minister (and his spouse) is also just a human (READ NOT super human) who has answered the call to speak truth to those he minister’s to and he is also subject to hurt and confusion when going through touchy, painful situations in the church. Of course the effects and consequences of difficult relationships will bleed over to children no matter how much you try to shield them from it or try to set an example of love and forgiveness and working through problems and conflict.

    • says

      I think that it is crucial for parents in/married into the ministry to grasp they THEY alone are responsible for protecting their children from the potentially damaging effects that being a PK can have on their children. The pain that my brothers and I suffer to this day (at 56/55/55/53 years old) is incomprehensible to the professionals from whom we seek help. Our parents never spanked, drank, and were warm, loving, sincere people. Yet every aspect of our existence was filtered through the question of how our behavior might effect our father’s relationship to church and community. The rule was to please others at all time, even if that meant we had to accept emotional or physical harm; admonishment not to “rocking the boat,” “make someone’s life more difficult” or “I’m sure he/she wouldn’t do that” translated to us, developing human beings, as “you don’t matter. You are here on earth to meet the needs of others. You are not entitled to the same respect and fairness and kindness with which all other God’s creatures are. I was made to remain “friends” with a girl who constantly demeaned me and hit me, Teachers who had any issue with Dad or the church would cruelly bring this up i class, etc. We lost the will to survive that all children are born with as the years went on, as our parents refused to protect us, coach us in how to deal with others without being doormats, and even punished us for our weak attempts to stand up for ourselves. We eventually accepted that we were simply uniquely unworthy. None of our marriages were healthy (to say the least – we were all abused emotionally, I and my boys physically, as well. It’s not easy to stand up for yourself when youv’e been taught from birth that you are fundamentally unworthy) and (hope springs eternal) reaching out to our parents for some kind of support in these matters were met with the usual response that other people wouldn’t be unkind, etc., unless we were, basically, at fault for not being pleasing enough. Dad died a few years ago, and I’ve recently reached out to my mother to work this out, hoping that, as a mother, she would want to know what they had done and try to at least understand our hurt, isolation, self-destruction. I got more minimization and denial.Even worse, when I told her of being date-raped as a teen, her focus was not on my pain, but how, if it happened, I would have told her. What she did not get was that I know that I would have been blamed and told not to ruin the boy’s life. When she dies, I will grieve not for her loss, but what we never had in the name of the church and my father’s calling to serve God.

  5. Bryan Easin says

    Do you have an article on advice for pastors raising kids in church ? I am a pastor.I know my kids sometimes see and hear things that can alter their view of ministry. How can I how can I be honest with them and protect them at the same time. I know my own children see my weaknesses as well.

    • Joanne says

      I am an adult PK with PKs of my own. When I was in junior high, my parents were going through a rough time in the church we were in. My brothers and I were aware of some of what was going on. I clearly remember a family discussion during that time in which my dad clearly and humbly expressed concern that the situation would tarnish our view of ministry and turn us away from ministry. He clearly explained to us the sovereignty of God and our need to trust God even though it didn’t make sense. As it all turned out, we were in that church for five years and it was in the rural Midwest, far from where we were preceding and following those five years. Those were precious years, and all of us hold fond memories of that time in our lives. Now, 4 of the 5 of us are in vocational ministry raising a combined total of 12 PKs. It is a special calling.

    • Elizabeth says

      Be honest with them always & allow them to see u as a human being who makes mistakes. Remind them that we have a counselor (Jesus) who is ready to forgive always when we repent of wrong doing. Teach them to look up to Jesus, & only Jesus, cuz we as humans will disappoint them from time to time, but only Jesus is faithful & true to the end.

    • Staci says

      First- thank you for putting a priority on this. The fact that you are reading up and seeking wisdom speaks highly of you. If you’d allow me- I’d like to reply from my perspective as a pk.

      My dad did several things that impacted my life forever.

      1: Establish a Family Night.
      When dad began to see how much we missed him when he consistently came home late and was overwhelmed by the load of the ministry- he instituted Family Night. One evening a week that is completely off limits. No phones, no visits, no problem solving: just family. We could go out to eat, watch a movie, build an epic fort in the living room, etc. As we got older it became a sacred night. No dates, no sleepovers- nothing was allowed to interfere. It showed us that we were important. That Dad’s priorities were: God, Mom, Us, then the Church.

      2: Acknowledge the Sacrifice.
      When you have been entrusted with loving and caring for the Bride of Christ- you will come under stress and trials. Don’t pretend its not there. Your children can feel the load you carry. And they begin to carry one for you. Invite them to pray with you about a problem. Ask them to pray that God gives you wisdom because you don’t know what to do. This will do two things: a) It shows them that you see them as a partner in your service to God and His people. b) It gives them a way to help- no matter what your age, it is horrible to feel there is no way to help someone you love.
      After a particularly trying or busy season- take them for ice cream and thank them for their patience with you. It will speak volumes. Trust me.

      3: Establish boundaries for your family.
      My dad used to ask me my last name. The rules had nothing to do with the church or his position there. We are going to follow these rules because they honor God. ‘I’m sorry that you were not allowed to do what sara is doing- she is not a Kennedy. Why don’t you invite her to come over tomorrow night?’ The rules remain the same no matter the job or church because they are not about that. They are there to serve God and grow us into responsible adults.

      4: Admit when you have made a mistake.
      I remember a specific time my dad lost his temper. He was under a huge load and was out of patience by the time he got home. He didn’t do anything huge or crazy- just very short and sent me to my room for almost no reason. I was very confused. Dad was always right- so why did this feel wrong? He came to me later and asked my forgiveness. He said “Daddy is human too. God is going to help me to see areas where I need to step up. I’m going to work on my patience baby. I’m sorry I hurt your feelings. Will you forgive me?” I was stunned. My hero wasn’t perfect. It made him more perfect that he was teachable. Of course I didn’t know that word at the time- but you get the idea.

      5: Be approachable:
      Allow your kids to discuss things with you that they don’t understand. My sister usually had to do this one for me. I was afraid early on to upset dad if I said something about the Bible or God didn’t make sense. But dad was always ready to hear anything and do his best to explain or answer. This made arguments in our house interesting. You were allowed to disagree with Mom and Dad- as long as it was without attitude. You did not yell or blow up. When you could calm down and discuss things ‘like a big girl’, they were ready to hear your objections.

      Be encouraged. It can be done right!
      My dad made me feel like I was worth his full attention. He showed me the love of my heavenly Father and opened my eyes to my worth. I was able to stand strong on my faith into adulthood. How often do you hear of a 27 year old virgin- by choice? My family is still very close- most people don’t get it. We understand priorities and have a deep love for one another. Have faith- You can do it!

      • lee says

        Wish it was that way with my family. Being a missionary’s kid is much harder. Its like you don’t belong anywhere.

        • Lydia Middlebrooks says

          Lee, my parents have been missionaries for all but 2 years of my life. The field where they served became my home. Now God has called my husband and me to work with teens in the U.S. My closest family is about 1000 miles away. The church we are at has been a healing place in my life. God will help you to fit wherever He places you. It usually takes a while. Stay close to God. He never ever fails.

      • Elizabeth says

        Staci, you are a rare breed & i say that as a compliment. Awesome comment & a good example of what all of us Christians should be like! I always said it,”it starts @ home.”

  6. Donnie Brannen says

    How about, “Don’t judge the pastor’s spirituality by the actions of his adult children.”

    • Connie McCormick says

      The general consensus seems to be pastors are responsible for the actions of their adult children. Therefore, they are not spiritually fit to fullfill the role of pastor if the have a wayward adult child. That is so wrong, judgmental and reeks of hypocrisy.

    • Allison says

      Amen! I am an adult PK. My Father is a awesome pastor and leader! It is my choices, my hang ups, and issues for not going to church.
      Oh, I would like to add to the list. Do NOT think that’s PK’s have the answers to adult problems. I can remember times as a teenager people would come to me seeking advice! Even now, when I have visited the church on special occasions, people come to me asking for advice and prayer!

    • Sharon says

      Combine #1, #3, #6 and #7 and you have the reasons for our family rule: If a church event is not appropriate for their age, the children do not attend. This has caused some folks to questioned why I have not attended certain events with my husband. My explanation was simple, “I was at home being a mom.” I have been blessed that when phrased this way, most people have been understanding.

  7. Paul Batson says

    They need you as their extended family. It’s likely that dad or mom is not serving in a church close to the kids’ grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. The kids, and the parents, need these relationships and you have the opportunity to help fill that role.

    • Sharon says

      Amen, Amen and Amen! My children’s Christian grandparents died when they were very young. The other set of grandparents are not Christians. I cannot emphasize enough their need for other Godly adults/influences in their lives.

  8. says

    I am a pastor and a pastor’s kid. I think this helps me a lot. I see some of the things that happened when I was young, and things which I can then improve on. Unfortunately, I find sometimes that my kids can be expected to act differently than other kids, and that I am to correct them if I’m going to be a “good” pastor. Sometimes I fail in this, and fall prey to this temptation.

    One of the real blessings for me, though, is that in my church I have other preacher’s kids who are now adults, and have kids of their own. They are often the most encouraging people in the church. They encourage me, my wife, and often play the hardest with my kids. One of them often says “I know how preacher’s kids are!”, obviously in jest, but helping me and my wife to relax a lot when around him. People who encourage my kids to be kids will always by high on the list of people I appreciate the most.

    • says

      Preachers kids should not be placed to a higher standard than others…but the same standards should be applied to all. Loved..and …disciplined, and to be courteous, and respectful to others. I have been to services as an evangelist and have seen children ruin a service with their antics. Some of them Preachers kids. There is a difference in “allowing a kid to be a kid” and allowing chaos. We raised 4 children traveled all over the USA and all of them could set through a service without being disruptive. Generally if a child is not raised to behave, not like an adult, but as a well blessed, and loved, and disciplined child, the congregation will begin to wonder why.The bible says “If a man cannot rule over his family, how can he be expected to rule over a church?” (My paraphrase) Just had to give the other side!

  9. Adam Estep says

    The last one is more important than anything. At my first full-time ministry position, I served under a pastor who worked 80 hours/week and his children, especially the youngest, were reaping the repercussions. His daughter even developed an eating disorder. I only served for a year there, but i hold those lessons with me now 10 years later now that I am married with my third child coming soon.

    I’ve heard pastors say to prioritize family over he church, but those same pastors gave me a hard time when I did just that. I’m thankful for the pastor I serve now who lets me serve part-time mostly from home while I care for my kids as a stay-at-home dad while my wife works full time.

    The greatest sin in this issue may be perhaps those that are hired “part-time” but really expectations are full time. How we as pastors lie like this and setup poor mainly situations is as great a sin as ignoring our own families.

  10. says

    Great advice about children in the ministry family. I can say that creating a safe place for children to grow and develop with a healthy view of church life is important to their spiritual journey. I am a second generation pastor who grew up in the ministry. I can recall memories that have impacted my life in both positive and negative ways. My greatest memories are not the negative memories, but the positive. For instance, going with my dad on weekly visitation in the summer, being exposed to other pastors who were great men of the faith. In addition, my father demonstrating to me how to witness, pray, and trust God in good times and bad. Even though as a child, I saw and experienced bad business meetings, the ugliness of religious people, and many negative things that made me never want to serve in that capacity; God had other plans. Pastors and their families experience unique challenges and should be respected and protected. From my perspective, I had to be intentional and clear about expectations for my wife and children to the church. One danger is to place them in a bubble of exemption and another is to abandon the family for the sake of others in the church. One critical issue is balance and having supportive voices that can allow pastors and their families to serve without being held hostage to public opinion. Personally, I am thankful for what I experienced because it has made me the person I am today. Great article…

    Ronnie L. Murrill

  11. Scott Cassel says

    Here are a few, as a PK and as a P raising my own K’s:
    1. Children are not part of the ministry package when a pastor comes. They are children, trying to make their way in life, just like other kids. It’s great that you like to see them, but they aren’t going to come to every worship every week so you can.
    2. Sometimes, there are events at church my children don’t come to at all. Not many, but some. They are at church a lot no matter what, and I would like them not to hate church when they grow up, so sometimes they get a pass. The event might not be appropriate for them, or they just don’t have an interest.
    3. Don’t ever go after my children. Don’t bring them up in a conversation about my position or my effectiveness, don’t call them names, don’t belittle them, or suggest they are a problem. (It may seem crazy to offer these, but each one has happened to me).

    • Megan B. says

      I appreciate your points and would extend 1 and 2 to my spouse. I also really wish that number 3 sounded crazy, but too often this is very relevant advice.

    • Sara says

      number 3 happened to us in this situation. Thankfully God opened a door for us to leave that church before things got worse. When a few people were having trouble with my husband they decided they also had a problem with our children, saying that they were running people out of the church. Not a single person had even left the church but that is what was said. It was awful. I know my children are not always the best behaved, Especially when they are very young, but they were not the problem. People treating them like they were outsiders instead of part of the church community were the problem.

  12. Jon says

    One problem I always had was when I got closer to graduating high school, I had a lot of church folks view their displeasure with me over my dad. I was a 16 or 17 yr old kid. And then they want to get upset at my reaction. NEVER bring a pk into anything. Go straight to the pastor.

    • Thom Rainer says

      It’s hard to conceive of a church member being so cruel to complain to a child about his or her father/pastor. But you are right. It happens.

      • Melanie Stanley-Soulen says

        Hello!!! We’re not just talking about “fathers” as pastors here even though the original article is written by one. Pastors are also women….mothers.

        • Ryan kippes says

          No pastors should only be men as they always have been in the bible. The Word of God is very clear on who is to lead a congregation. You may disagree but the bible sets it up that way for a reason.

  13. Nick Hodges says

    Great list but there is one more thing I would add, “The pastor’s children are for the pastor and his wife to raise and correct their behavior.” Maybe it’s just my ministry setting, but why do so many church members think they have the “right” to “correct” your children. For me, I’ve tried to be polite and not say anything to overbearing church members but what is the best way to handle them?

    • says

      Nick, I regularly mention from the pulpit (i.e. in the appropriate preaching moments) that discipline of children lies squarely in the laps of Dad and Mom, and say something along the lines of, “If you see my children misbehaving, let me know. You’ll have done your job and then it’s time to let me do mine.”

      • says

        I will also add this — it is common knowledge in our congregation that there is a wooden spoon in my desk, another in the pew where my family sits, and a third in my wife’s purse/diaper bag. I remind our Deacons periodically that the days will come when I ask one of them to take over the service for a moment while I discipline one of our kids. In fact a couple of weeks ago I had to take our son outside with the spoon while the congregation sang a song. I didn’t humiliate him, and I took the necessary time with him so that he knew I wasn’t angry or embarrassed, but that he was disobeying, and he knew the discipline that was required (we try to be very consistent and clear with our kids). We slipped back in quietly after a few minutes (hugging and calming down time) and most folks didn’t even realize what had happened. I resumed leading the service and things were fine.

  14. says

    As the Mom of 2 sons who pastor SBC churches in Ky., and the grandmother of, soon to be 6 grandchildren who carry the title of “preacher’s kids”, this is an important reminder that churches must be careful of the “double standard.” Thank you Dr. Rainer for this post.

    • regina says

      I agree and I feel if grandchildren are involved the same double standard applies to them. My daughters became disillusioned at the teen years as to why their grandfather was being attacked. My brother backslide in part to saints comments. I love the series of articles that is being written for PK and GPK.

  15. Drew Dabbs says

    I had wanted to respond to the tweet the other day, but I couldn’t really articulate anything worth saying. This list is great. Like Scott Cassel, I’m a PK, as well as a P raising my own K’s. One major difference between me and my kids is that my dad didn’t become a pastor until I was 15, and by that time I was in high school. So, my more developmental years were spent without the pressure of being a PK. However, dad was a deacon before he became a pastor, and the old saying is, “PK’s are the worst ones… but only because they run with the deacons’ kids!” Seriously, I don’t know what that pressure is like to literally “grow up” as a pastor’s kid.

    My three children are very young, the oldest being three. Only time will tell, but it would seem, right now, that we have an understanding congregation that truly loves our children and will allow them to be kids and will allow them to be people, in their own right, without seeing them as miniature adults or extensions of me and my ministry.

    Two things I would add, which were probably mentioned but didn’t make the top seven:
    1. The preacher’s kids have to eat. — This is not so much an issue where I serve now, but it’s still a major issue with many pastors. When mommy and daddy are constantly worrying how they’re going to pay the bills, it creates a lot of stress and tension in the home. Financial matters are the #1 cause of divorce, and a pastor shouldn’t have to be constantly wondering how he’s going to pay for diapers, gas, groceries, clothes, and doctor bills. I’ve heard all the super-spiritual stuff about trusting God to provide, and I know some pastors aren’t good money-managers. Yet, the bigger issue is that many pastors simply aren’t compensated well enough to provide adequately for their children. Again, not so much an issue with me at our current place of service, but it happens more than the vast majority of people realize.

    2. Pastors feel an enormous amount of pressure to be the “perfect parent.” — When my kid acts up in church, it REALLY flusters me. Should I take her out and spank her? Should I just let it go? Should I wait until after the service to deal with it? What is everybody thinking? Are they thinking we’re not doing a good job of training/disciplining our children at home, and the result is misbehavior in church? … It’s the whole glasshouse thing, I know. But, even more than feeling pressure to have “perfect children,” my wife and I feel pressure to be “perfect parents.”

    Just some thoughts.

  16. Joy says

    Just want to say I am thankful I was raised as a pastor’s kid. My 3 siblings and I are blessed to have a Godly man as our father and a Godly woman as our mother. They served God well their entire ministry–and still do even though they are not full-time. But my dad regularly reminded his church that his priorities were God first, his wife second, his children third, and his church fourth. He reminded them from the pulpit and he practiced it everyday. I never felt any pressure by anyone–my parents or the church–to perform.

  17. Doc Sublett says

    The same standard, if applied to other children in the church, would expect plumbers’ kids to show part of their backside, carpenters’ kids to be able to cut a board straight, advertising execs’ kids to have a quick wit or pun on their lips for any situation, bankers kids to treat everyone like a customer, grocers’ kids to ask everyone if they need any help, car salesmens kids to know how to close the deal, and weathermen’s kids to know to stay in out of the rain. Preachers kid from age 2 and I am now 62 yet the double standard memories stick with me.

  18. Matt Sutman says

    Lost my son due to how church folks treat each other, especially the minister. Almost lost my daughter but she, thank God, got into a Baptist church youth group and found some church camp relationships that helped rescue her at just the right time. She graduated from CCU this year.

  19. says

    Very good article and well-written. Great advice for those who observe and know pastor’s children. However, I would respectfully submit another opinion on #1. As a pastor who had two children (boy & girl), I believe that the church does have a right to expect the pastor’s children to hold a high standard. No, they are not “spiritual superstars,” but a man’s ministry includes that of his family. The Scriptures reiterate that principle in the lives of Eli’s and Samuel’s children. One day, my children were complaining about how the church people expected more of them than they did other children. I talked with them and explained, “Out of all the children in the world, God knew that you could handle the role of being a pastor’s kid!” “You are special, and yes we should lead by example.” They became proud to be a “pastor’s kid.”

    I believe that many pastors make the mistake of “ministry versus family.” Too many pastor’s children think of the church as “Dad’s ministry,” or “Dad’s church.” For us, we viewed the ministry as a family opportunity. The children served with me. My wife served with me. It was not because the church expected or demanded it but, rather, because we taught our children that serving the Lord in a full-time vocation was an exceedingly high call. Both children have been instrumental in the development of vital church ministries that are ministering to people and discipling believers.

    Today, both children and their spouses are in ministry. I am grateful for the Lord’s working in their lives. There are many areas of parenting that I failed at. Yet, we always viewed the ministry as a family opportunity. Therefore, it was not “Dad’s ministry,” but it was “our ministry.” It was never a decision of ministry or family, but it was family in ministry. Yes, we did take plenty of family time on vacations, days off, etc. But the ministry was something we were all a part of.

    • Jon says

      Could not disagree more. Listen, my dads ministry was just that, his. Much like a child can’t help being born into the family he or she does, they also didnt sign up for ministry at a young and tender age. My parents never held me to a different standard. As respectful as I can be, your POV was borderline insulting to pk’s everywhere.

      • says


        I’m sorry you that I apparently communicated that I held my children to a “different standard.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. I always taught my children that our responsibility was to please God, and not man. They never felt pressured to “perform” to a man’s standards. The question in our house was always, “What does God say?” That is the guideline that set both belief and practice. Using that question taught my children to search and study the Word.

        I’m sorry that you felt my POV was an insult. It was certainly not meant to be.

        • Heidi says

          No, your children should have the right to choose their own ministry. Please understand that you have no idea what a PK goes through. That is a huge burden to put on them. Religion, ministry must be chosen and not forced upon anyone, especially children.

    • Melanie Stanley-Soulen says

      The emphasis on “man” is also insulting and sexist. As a pastor, wife of a pastor, mom to two adult sons and a therapist, I can attest to the emotional damage this kind of authoritative theology does to children of pastors.

      • Mike Farrell says

        I don’t believe anyone is trying to be insulting, Melanie, but I Timothy 3:2 is pretty clear. A bishop must be “the husband of one wife.”

          • Robin Owen says

            Melanie, I think you and I may be the only women reading this… 😉

            I am also a pastor, with an adopted special-needs teen son. My husband serves another congregation, which leaves our son “on his own” during worship and other times when I am “up front.” I am grateful for those in my congregation who treat him like one of their own family members inviting him to sit with them, helping him find the hymns, etc. I also get quite fed up with the more judgmental folks, especially those who publicly resent that I have a family of my own and prioritize the needs of my husband and child. Comments like “she was a better pastor before she got that child” are both hurtful and untrue – I am a much more balanced pastor and human being for having a great kid in my life!

          • Ken says

            Agreed with Mike.

            Melanie, instead of just accusing him of having a narrow interpretation of Scripture, how about you instead explain why you disagree?

    • Bradley McCarty says

      I’m glad someone else had a similar experience to mine. Growing up a PK made me love the church and I ended up in ministry with kids. Maybe we had some exceptional dads. (I’m sure I did!) I know bad things happen… but… I think there may be some whining going on here too. You can’t really know that you’ve been treated that differently. If you ask about anyone they’ll say everyone’s out to get them. It’s one of the traps we tend fall into as humans.
      By the way, my dad was at 5 churches in my life and I’ve been at three. So is not like it was one great church. I think it has a lot to do with your outlook and how you handle it.

  20. Tiffany says

    My husband grew up the son of a pastor and even as a grown up man there are still expectations placed upon him by those who know his father. I can remember when we moved back to the city where we were from and trying to decide which church we would attend. My husband would not attend the church where his father once pastored due to the fact that he would always be compared to his father. That is a lost of pressure to put on someone. We have to remember that these children are just like every other child, like you said. They should not be treated any differently.

  21. Amber says

    As a wife of a Pastor this is one that I am having an issue with currently, especially with two little girls. Just because you know who we (my husband and I) are, does not give you the right to assume you KNOW my children or my children KNOW who you are! And NO they DO NOT have to hug you! It really floors me how many people have to be all over my children and are appalled bc my child does not acknowledge them! They have adults trying to talk and touch them all morning, just give them a break! You aren’t at a petting zoo!

  22. jonathon says

    1: Pastor’s days (Plural) off are just that.
    The time for a pastor to spend with spouse and children.
    If a meeting is scheduled when they are off, do not expect them to attend the meeting.

    2: If a church member has an issue with where the kid wants to go to college take it up with the kid, not the parent.
    If you, a church member, are convinced that the kid should go to a different college, pay the difference between their choice, and your choice.

  23. Jared says

    I suffered a double whammy growing up. Preacher/Missionary Kid. I embraced the terms thanks to a father who allowed me to live with both the success and consequence of choice. I appreciate your article, although it’s one of those concepts that’s tough to convey to those with a pleasantly flowery perception of ministry. One of the church’s greatest misfortunes is it’s inability to be realistic. A gentle eye opening is needed, and I think your article is a step in that direction. Thank you.

    • Miranda says

      Jared, I’m with ya on the double whammy. I was born a PK, then became an Army brat, then an MK, then a PK all over again. We’ve been in great churches/ministries and awful ones, and I’ve seen all sides. Now, as a staff member in my church, I see firsthand some of the things our PKs go through. Thankfully, we’re at a fantastic church, but things still come up. I’m grateful to have had parents who shielded me from what they could while still allowing me to see some of the difficult stuff, pointing me back to Jesus the entire time.

  24. Pam Connolly says

    Thankfully my churches just love to love my kids since there are not many there. Maybe we get more grace since Dad watches them before and after church while I do the “pastor stuff.”

  25. says

    Please don’t call them “PKs.” Amen. They are “kids” — just like the farmer’s kids, the banker’s kids and so on.

    I think preachers and not just church members are guilty of creating some of these problems. Don’t know if I was successful, but in my mind, at least, I tried not to treat my children as “PKs”, just kids. I also think when we (pastors, churches, etc) make a wide divide between the “clergy” and “laity” we play directly into this overall problem.

  26. says

    Great article (and great books)! I would add that I think we, as pastors, add to this problem when we take on the mantle of “Holy Man” and try to put up a front that is as perfect as possible. I do believe that we are called to a higher standard and that we live in the ministry as a family but we are all human and it does a disservice to both our family and our church to try to “keep up appearances” for the sake of the ministry. This changes the expectations for all concerned and, by the way, is not the teaching of the scriptures. We do too much of this within the church and we need to lead by example in all our imperfections. Then the people will follow this lead and not expect perfection from our children or each other.

  27. Jenn Taylor says

    I remember my dad protecting us well from hurtful/ridiculous expectations. I overheard a dad asking my dad to not let my sister and I wear a specific shirt because he didn’t want his kids to wear it and if we were allowed they would make a fuss. I will never forget my dad’s response: “how about this…I’ll parent my kids and you parent yours.” He was my hero that day!

  28. Brian says

    My kids (four daughters) don’t have animosity toward the church because of two intentional behaviors on my part. 1) I don’t criticize people or other leaders. 2) I tell them often how special of a job their daddy has. They respect and love what I do.

    Now, having said that, I think some people in our churches need a reality check. I average 52-55 hours a week. I was confronted recently about not spending enough time in ministry work. When I told the gentleman my hours invested, he said (and actually believed) “You can’t count the hours that you work on Sundays, Wednesday nights or meetings that other people are attending.” Well then. SMH.

  29. Kevin says

    After being terminated by a new senior pastor who was told to fire me by a few guys who run things, my wife and kids were so hurt. I wish those power brokers in the church would consider the spouse and their children before crucifying their husband and dad because of disagreements over procedural issues.

  30. Brian says

    Don’t condescend when my kid answers questions in Sunday School, saying “yes, we know your day’s the pastor”, as if that made her biblically literate. It was probably something her mom taught her at home because she’s a faithful follower of Jesus. Training your children at home is a mark of discipline parent, not the mark of pastro’s kids.

  31. Mark Ritchey says

    My kids have grown up PKs, I have more than once corrected a deacon or music minister or member about my children’s growth as a believer. Tough is not even the word for children in ministers homes. The attacks are usually made by those who judge without consideration of circumstances. Our kids had to move and start over because of the ministry. My kids had to be scrutinized for their walk and no one else’s children were. Tough to grow up a PK, is an understatement. One of my kids is a Godly college student looking at life as a Christian. The other graduates High School this year, Amen. She will be challenged to bend to the world, we pray and and set a pattern I Christ, and we will wait and see. Long term both my kids will be loving staunch evangelistic disciples who want give up or give in because dad and mom loved them and taught them to stand fi in Christ.

  32. Ronny says

    I have been close to many pastors of our church and have seen the different ways their children have been raised. Many spent way to much time at church being watched by staff members or no one at all, the church became the playground for these children and it was difficult for them to know the difference between church time and play time. To be fair I have also seen these same children be held to a higher standard then other children of the same age. Its a difficult responsibility raising children. Everyone needs to vent every once in a while, will be praying for you.

  33. says

    I agree with your article. For me, the thorn in my side has been who ministers to a ministers children? After a few years in a smaller church where I did tons with the church young people I asked my kids if anyone from the church reached out to them. I was clear I didn’t mean who said hi now and again but who took an active interest in their lives. Their answer…. (Drumroll)… Zero. Our kids are hardly in church and barely with Christ.

    • Marie says

      Agreed. My husband is a PK (we both attend and are heavily involved in his parents’ church) and I’ve had to encourage him to seek pastoring elsewhere. There’s just nobody in the church who is willing to hold him accountable.

    • Gayle Wilson says

      Thank you Brad. My husband and I pastored for 35 years. Our Children went through many hard years. Looking back on those years I realize we made some huge mistakes with our two children. The worst was spending more time with the “church” than with them. The things that I saw them do as they hit puberty and beyond I now realize we’re their ways of trying to get attention. Unfortunately at some point they must have decided that any attention, good or bad, was better than no attention at all. Each of my children had at least one person/ persons who paid extra positive attention to them and showed them how special they were and that they had many talents that they could use to Gods glory. Those people made huge differences in my children’s lives. That’s one thing I would encourage the “Church” with. Not just PK’s, but any child who is acting out. Encourage them instead of criticizing them will make a huge difference in the way they look at church and people in the church. My two children are grown now and have children of their own. My son serves his local church in many ways. He is their worship drummer ( one of the things he became because of the encouragement he received), and a very good one if I may say so myself. My daughter is the youth Pastor in her church and does exactly what someone took the time to do for her. She encourages and promotes the youth to be all they can be, so please be an encourager.

  34. Andy says

    Watch what you say in front of your kids about the pastor. The kids will often repeat or take your attitude out and throw it up at the pastor’s kids. Recently when a loved church worker quit I was blamed even though clinical depression was the issue. Health care confidential laws kept this from being shared as the reason. My kids heard a few of the parents comments which they quickly parroted and my kids overheard. Needless to say no one like to hear that their dad is a bad person, mean, chased a good person away from the church.

  35. Amy says

    Thank you for sharing this. My younger brother, sister, and I were all PK’s in a small church for about 12 years. Our church averaged 30-140 people depending on the year and season. But, it was a church made up mostly of the over retirement age. The kids program was decent sized but the youth group struggled, which of course that is also what my parents did. Every day the door was open we were there. However, the biggest struggles for me were the expectations from the chuch body. And that was very much drilled in us three kids. If the nursery worker did not show up, I did it. If a Sunday school teacher did not show up, that’s okay, Amy can do it. Oh, we forgot to get someone for special music, oh yes, Amy always has something here she can sing. If a new girl came to visit, introductions were done, and I became her best friend according to church Elders. By the time we finally changed churches and out of that ministry the damage had already been done. I just wore my smile mask anytime I might be around a church person. My sister was done with it all and still is. Before college my Brother felt called into the ministry, but dropped out of college after rememebering all we went through. When I first went to my Christian college I rebelled, but now I am working on my own relationship with Christ…but I have a lot of scary walls to take down. I want to say Kudos to those who want to protect their kids while the parent/parents are in the ministry. They can start their minisrty when they are called…and God can call anyone at any age!

    • Sara says

      Definitely!! My father never was a pastor, but he often said that he wanted to become one after he was finished in the Marine Corps (which created a whole different level of “you must be perfect”). My sister and I were often the only children in the building, because my dad was so highly involved that our family would arrive BEFORE anyone else (including the pastor) and we were often the last to leave. Acolyte didn’t show up? Sara will do it. Nobody in the nursery today? Sara will do it. Someone needs to clean the bathrooms because the janitor is on vacation? Sara will do it. That extended to my mom as well – if someone didn’t show up from Altar Guild or another “women’s” task, it was assumed that my mother would do it and more often than not, I would assist. Nobody ever asked, my father would notice the absence and tell us we had to do it. I was “too young” to have a voice of my own within the church, but “old enough” to do adult tasks if nobody else was there to do them. It’s a hard life for a kid, especially a young teen (this was worst when I was 12-16). In fact, due to my dad’s attitude and devotion towards the church, my sister and I were held to HIGHER expectations than the pastor’s children were. They came in after we had been members for about 2 years, and from the get-go were just “regular kids” – while we were the ones who had to be perfect. I once had someone complain to my dad and the pastor because I had inadvertently turned my back to the altar during the service while I was performing as the acolyte that day. No mention was made that the reason I turned around was that the two youngest of the pastor’s 5 kids had started fighting and the commotion had caught my (and most others’) attention. I wasn’t the only one to turn and look, but I was the only one anybody complained about that day.
      Honestly, I enjoy what goes on during a church service. I like the hymns, the ritual, even the sermon now that I’m old enough to have an understanding of it. But I have less than ZERO interest in being involved in service to the church, and avoid most church functions due to bad memories.
      Even if you’re not officially a “PK” – you can still be treated as one if your parent creates that environment around you, and then not only do you have all of the downsides of being a PK, you also do not get the support of anyone who understands, because you never were actually a PK.

  36. says

    As the son of a pastor and now a pastor whose children are adults I say a hearty “Amen!” I would add “Don’t expect my children to be biblical scholars. Thats my job not theirs.”

  37. CT PK says

    Another big point that you are missing is..
    ” Don’t expect PK’s to grow up to me ministers! ”
    I always wanted to join the Army and go to college but was ostracized because of my choices.
    Another point would be…
    ” PK’s shouldn’t be expected to be mini- pastors” I can’t tell you how many times I had to preach for youth group/ competition/ children’s church/ chapel, etc. Not to mention being called on to pray publicly or witness to a new youth. I was constantly asked to do these things when others we’re not comfortable and was expected to volunteer to do so quickly because I was a PK. because of my God given gifts and abilities, I was often able to do so but the pressure and responsibility was a lot for a child to handle. The fact that I was good at being a mini- version of my Dad resulted in me being told countless times that I was going to be a pastor or that people couldn’t wait to see what God was going to do in my ministry. Thus, I felt guilt and confusion when I decided to follow my dreams of joining the military and many in the church ostracized me for my choice indicating that I was not following God’s will. Ironically, my brother, who was pressured similarly but I don’t think to the same extent as I was due to my natural abilities, went to college with the plan of being a fire fighter and ended up accepting God’s call to be a minister.
    Overall, this is a great blog!

  38. Kristyn says

    Don’t just assume that a PK is going to rebel and move far from God. I grew up a PK and I have pride in my father who is a pastor. Everyone always told me I would rebel against his rules. Did I sin and make mistakes in my youth, but did I rebel and move away from God and the ministry? ABSOLUTELY NOT. My sister (pastor’s wife), brother (pastor) and myself (Head Deacons Wife plus all the other hats he wears) are all actively loving and serving the Lord because our family was a PASTORAL Team not just kids being forced. My parents had the same struggles on Monday that they had on Sunday. They were real and in their ability to be real we have grown to love and Serve Christ.

  39. Sara K. Tate says

    I would only make sure, as you write, to remember that there are female pastors out there…….Don’t label my kid because of his “mother’s” vocation. Also, there are PK’s of clergy couples (that’s our situation). That situation requires a whole separate list of “struggles.”

    • Thom Rainer says

      Sara –

      Thanks for your admonition and good spirit. I have said on a number of occasions that female pastors and those who hold to an egalitarian view are welcome on my blog. I am a complementarian and my denomination’s doctrinal statement is complementarian. That is why I write in the masculine when I refer to pastors. You and others will disagree with me; that is fine. Indeed, I can tell you that this blog’s readers include a wide spectrum of theological views on many issues. And I also want to be clear that I intend no insult when I write this way. There are so many places where we, as the body of Christ, do agree. That is where my blog posts will focus. Finally, to you, Sara, and others, I offer my apology where I have offended you. I appreciate your taking time to be on this blog, and I don’t want ever to imply that you aren’t welcome here.

      • Sara says

        and this is why woman pastors bother me. He isn’t out to offend you. He is writing what he knows. You are welcome to be all inclusive if you want to, but this is his blog. Your one woman crusade to make everyone see your point of view is not worth it. Be the clergy for your congregation, do a good job at it, and be an example instead of a mouth piece against other Christians. Your ministry will be so much greater if you focus on it instead of the “woman as pastors” agenda and as we move forward your actions will speak louder than your words ever would.

        • Ken says

          Wow, well said.

          Thank you for that!

          To be honest, I was getting irked by the woman pastors bit here. Nowhere did I see Thom denigrate woman pastors or try to obfuscate the issue.

          I’m actually more impressed by the way Thom has been handling this and he even has apologized if you felt offended.

          Maybe some of you owe Thom an apology instead.

  40. LeAnne says

    The last one kind of sums them all up, but just know that the final responsibility for your priorities rests with you, and make it clear to your family and to the church, early and often! Husband has always made us the priority. Translation: he took his days off. That said, I wouldn’t trade the benefits of a sweet church fellowship in a child’s life. If you are blessed with that, it’s worth working through the “bugs” in the system. If it gets crazy for a while timewise (all jobs do), make up for it as soon as you can. Folks aren’t always kind and thoughtful. You won’t avoid mistakes. Don’t be so ambitious that you won’t speak up for your kids’ wellbeing.
    I’m not posting as someone who did everything right, but it helped me when I was younger to hear others’ experiences in this area. It’s a lifelong striving for balance, to show your child an adult loving their church and their Lord, while loving their kid.

  41. says

    As a young pastor with young children (3 and 1), I pray that my little boys aren’t pushed away from church and ministry because of my calling. Great piece!

  42. says

    Dr. Rainer, the last one really stuck out to me. I know John really struggled with that as a child and teen. He tells me that most nights of the week he and his brother were home alone while his parents were at church functions. As parents, we are intentional about putting family before the church. This is hard for many to understand, but if our family is not cared for then we cannot serve others well. Thanks for bringing attention to this issue. Amy

  43. James says

    Don’t assume that my kids only come to church and love the Lord because their dad’s a preacher. Their faith and love are real.

  44. says

    This is a great list. I’m a preacher’s kid and our children are, too. In college, both of our kids made connections with other preacher’s kids and enjoyed being the PKs. It seems that whether calling them PKs irritates or blesses them depends on the attitude of the user. BTW, my rule was “If I only lose one job because of my kids, that will be OK.”

  45. Mel says

    I agree that PK’s, MK’s and children whose parents are in the ministry tend to have a difficult life. I have served as a home missionary and my kids served along side of me. My daughter is now following my footsteps and she has always had a heart for missions. I believe if God calls a PK or an MK into the ministry they are equipped to do the job, regardless of the way they were raised. Some of the best Pastor’s have father’s or even Grandfather’s who were Pastors.
    As a church we should not treat the children of church staff any differently. All kids should learn to serve in the church, because they need to learn how to serve while they are young. Our church strongly believes in the youth serving in the church. It is a Blessing to see them working with our children, our sound system, and even making coffee on Sundays.

  46. Michael Palmer says

    Good word my friend! Every church needs to hear this! We will have a connection on this subject!

  47. says

    Thank you for the post. As a young pastor with four daughters, this issue has presented itself from time to time. After asking questions, it seems that the dilemma in many people’s minds is bad teaching. I am afraid that pastor’s children are overly scrutinized because of wrong teaching regarding pastoral qualifications – “he must rule his house well”. This has come to mean that a child cannot be a child – ever! From my perspective many of these expectations are being placed on children who have not even made professions of faith. This then only succeeds in promoting a form of idolatry! (external spiritual do-gooders). I am thankful to be in a place of ministry where there is room for every person to make mistakes and to grow in their faith. Certainly, these sentiments are curtailed through gracious teaching and authentic living! Pastors – may The Lord grant us the grace to lead our families and God’s churches to a genuine and growing relationship with Him.

  48. Jeannie Davis says

    I don’t know if this response has been written, I didn’t have time to read through all the responses. My husband is a pastor and the one about don’t call them PK’s was so real to me. I get the same treatment as a “Pastor’s wife.” I would also add that Minister’s children also have a brain! Everyone thinks that they answer with what their parents “think” they should answer with. Our daughter studies the bible on her own and is very knowledgeable about it. She doesn’t do this because she is a “PK”, she does it because she has a love for God that I haven’t seen in a teen in a long time. She is 16.

  49. Robert says

    Totally agree with the 7 things…. Hate be the devil’s advocate here but how do you handle the preacher’s kid when you see them get away with things that other children get reprimanded for?

    • Luke says

      Then don’t advocate for the devil. What you saw is only what you saw. I would bet all the money in my bank account that the amount of scrutiny and criticism these young pk’s get outweigh what little you witnessed by a ratio of 100 to 1. And why in God’s name are you even worried about how to handle what the pk “got away” with? THEY ARE NOT YOURS TO HANDLE! What gives you the right?! Your church is paying the pastor. It’s not a buy 1 get the rest of the family free blue light special. Are you kidding!? As in, not your business. As in, Focus On Your Own Damn Family.

      P.s. YES, already. I am a pastors kid too.

  50. Merle says

    Had an interesting conversation with my elderly father the other day. He is 81 years old now and a retired pastor. I am 50 years old and one of four “Pastor’s Kids” that grew up in the mission field and lived through (survived) 4 different long term church plantings. My dad was reminiscing about the old days and he suddenly said, very seriously and with a touch of sadness, that maybe it would have been better to never have dragged his wife and 4 little children through all that we had been through over the years of his service. He was not regretting all the good that been done or the service to the Lord. He was saddened by how profoundly each on of his children had been affected negatively by our “church” experiencing. My father and our family were constantly under spiritual attack. This usually came in the form of “Pharisees” that would join the church, rise to positions of authority and attempt to divide the church and supplant the authority of the Pastor using any means available. All of us kids suffered each time the church was torn apart and uprooted. Between the back-stabbing Pharisees and the rigidity of the Foreign Missions Office back home, poor dad was the whipping boy along with his long suffering wife and 4 children. Poor dad, always underpaid and never having a permanent home took a brutal toll on all of us mentally and physically,. As a family, we really gave our all for the ministry and the Lord. All we had as a family was each other and the Lord Jesus that we could truly count on. Times were tough, sometimes even food was scarce, but there were good times too where we found genuine Christian love and charity from loyal, Holy Spirit filled church members. For me, by the time I was 10 years old, the experience had changed me completely and has affected my life even to this day. I thank the Lord Jesus daily for His healing touch and forgiving Spirit to show me the way to live my life without regrets, resentment and anger. This came over time, much prayer and maturity. God’s amazing Grace is my refuge and gives me the freedom to share my faith in Jesus Christ with others in spite of all the hardships suffered as a Pastor’s son. I can now look as this experience as a blessing from the Lord. Amen!

  51. Maura Cathey says

    Don’t think you can share heavy topics in front of them, not because they do devotions every day means they have the maturity or street to bear your burden.
    And, don’t complain to them about something wrong (or your idea of wrong) regarding the church. They are the pastor’s kid not God and won’t be able to fix it, on the contrary, they can get very discouraged.

    I mean, all this experiences have taught my children to pray for those people but is hard to help them get rid of the bad impression they were left with, therefore they feel guilty for not having nice thought about a specific person in the church.

    This is such a great writing.

  52. says

    A couple mentioned earlier not to go easy on the PK just because they are PK. I agree, and would also point to the flip side of that coin: Don’t rat out the PK for stuff other kids get away with all the time. That happened to me, especially by sunday school teachers.

  53. Mel says

    I agree that children of pastors should not be held to a higher standard. But, please, if a church member comes to you some day to talk about your child’s behavior don’t be defensive because you assume they are doing so because you are a pastor and they expect more of your child. Our former pastor’s son was allowed to bully other children for years because he denied there was a problem.

  54. Kris says

    Thanks for this very topic being discussed here. I am a young Pastor, but before this time, it is an established fact that Pastor;s children does not normally behaved well. The example of that of Pastor Eli in the Bible. Most of the Pastors’ children usually behalf as if they are not in the same Church that that their father ministers to others and they become useful, obedience, honest, faith, reliable, serious etc children of God. Most of our children live outside the word of God in their behaviours and actions. I want to belief what one person said in his comment that all this is as a result of attacks from demons. May God help us so that the behaviours etc of our children will not bring un timely dead to us.

  55. Paul says

    Regarding #7, I just candidated with a church that was more concerned about the transition for my teenage kids than my wife and I were (we know our kids and though change is never easy, we were confident that they could move through it). In a congregational Q&A session, I was posed a question that pitted my concern for my kids’ transition against my call to ministry in that church. Though I thought I gave a balanced response, this issue was cited as a significant reason for not being chosen.

  56. says

    Of all the contributions I might suggest I believe this one the deepest. One of the most grievous errors I made early in ministry was allowing (and even desiring) that others constantly refer to me by my title… pastor. I’m not ashamed to be one. Yet that separation often showed itself in how the people I was serving viewed me. Of course then, by extension, there was the same disconnect with how they viewed our kids. As I normalized my own life and my relationships to and with parishioners, I started seeing them extend to our kids the same grace that they themselves were seeking.

  57. says

    My daddy celebrated 43 year as Pastor of our church last month. We came to the church as a family of 5 in 1970 and now we are 25 faithfully serving members in that same church. What was the key, you ask? My dad constantly reminded us that we didn’t serve him, we answered to God for our deeds, good and bad and for our faithful or unfaithful service! The congregation was also reminded often that his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are held to the same standard as they were. We all serve and give account to the same judge, the almighty God. We are all members, standing on level ground before Him and are all held to the same standards. We are blessed every church service we enter the doors of our church to sing and praise and serve together. To God be the glory.

  58. Crystal McKeever says

    This is a terrific list. My sisters and I were pastor’s kids. I agree that it can be very difficult- my sisters and I have had our share of tears. But I also feel that while we should not be judged harshly because of the position of our dad, we serve as a family. I do think in some ways we should have a testimony to others in the church. We are not better than they are, and we are just kids, but in some ways yes- we need to hold to a higher way of living. God gives us the privilege and honor of being pastors kids. I think pastor dads should teach their kids that they’re not better than anyone but that God has given them as a family a unique opportunity and it’s a special gift. I believe 1 Timothy 3:4/5 supports that. Please don’t misunderstand me- I know what it’s like to be in the glass house and I do wish people understood that we are not perfect. But God chose our Dad, and in doing so He chose us. I’m thankful for what I’ve been privileged to experience- all of it.

  59. Judy says

    My children were raised to know they were special not because they were PK’s but because they are GK’s, Gods Kids. Yes they would be watched and judged because of what their father was, but they should behave because of who their (heavenly)Father is. Members of the congregation were respectful and kind to our family. They often shared in our joys we well as in our sorrows. We were real people and did not live life on a pedestal.

  60. Bill says

    Thank you for these great thoughts. A pastor friend once told be about his daughter coming to him when she was older and after she had walked away from the church for a time and had experienced many difficulties that it was hard for her when she was growing up to discern between when her dad was being her dad or being her pastor. It created much confusion for her. He then encouraged me to not make the same mistake with my two children and to remember that I was their father first and foremost. I have been very grateful for this advice. Thanks again for these encouraging posts!

  61. Adrian says

    I have glanced through all the comments above and I think it’s only Rob McQueary who has mentioned the one thought that came to my mind as I read this piece – do people tend to treat PKs differently because we, in our churches, have allowed people to have a wrong understanding of who our elders/pastors are? By that I mean – do we encourage an unbiblical idea of pastors themselves living on a higher plane, outside of the experiences and behaviour problems that us ‘lesser mortals’ struggle with on a daily basis? And has this attitude caused pastors themselves to forget that they are members of the family in that local church, called to serve and share, mix and get dirty, and yes, to lead, but to lead as a sinner saved by grace among sinners saved by grace, not as a superior man with a higher status. Don’t get me wrong – we are of course to honour and respect those whom God has called and gifted to teach and preach His word and to oversee a local congregation, but I truly think that some of the problem with the way PKs are treated differently arises from unbiblical ideas we’ve allowed to arise about who pastors themselves are, and it’s then very easy to transfer some of those wrong ideas to our perception of their children too.

    Just sayin’

    Every blessing,

  62. Joshua Hamilton says

    I didn’t read all the comments so I hope this wasn’t posted already. On a positive note, when a pastor/staff child excels, they should be praised and rewarded. Sometimes pastors hold back from rewarding their kids because they don’t want to be seen as showing favoritism. If your child excels and does well, and there is a reward in place from the church, then don’t hold back. They deserve it and have earned it.

  63. Mikee says

    This is helpful and right but also pretty one sided.

    How many ways do pastors inhibit these things by being unapproachable, promoting themselves as the “expert” Christian/parent or telling stories about their kids that only put them in a positive light?

  64. PK says

    I am an adult PK who no longer attends church. There are multiple reasons for this, but one being the way my dad and by extension me and my siblings were treated by the church (several of them). When my dad was asked to leave the church where I grew up, I immediately was cut off from that church, even though it was my only church home and family I knew. So one thing I would tell preachers about their children: unless you are a PK yourself, you will never understand what it is like for your kids. Preachers and their wives who are not PKs themselves experienced something that their kids never will, which is the goodness of the church without the insider knowledge that PKs have. Preachers got to experience the church as they became believers, PKs got to experience the church as an extention of the family business. We grew up behind the veil, you did not. So when your kids grow up please don’t get angry or even disappointed at their relationship with the church. Just understand that you don’t understand

    • MStat says

      Hey PK, I totally agree. I grew up as a Missionary Kid and a Pastor’s Kid. It’s rough when you have expectations of being perfect. I no longer attend church nor walk with God because of churches and people in churches. I do agree, however, with the 7 things that church members should know. We are people just like everyone else.

  65. Brigitte says

    Don’t think there is much I could add to the many responses. I have experienced many of these scenarios with my children. They are now 15 and 12 and it’s amazing the stereotypes still continue. Had one person in the community say she didn’t want her daughter spending time with mine because she knows how PK’s can be. My reaction, I went to her and said, have you spent time with my daughter? She is not defined by being a pastor’s child. She is much more than just a pastor’s kid and God has a plan for her life just as He does your child. End of story, her child and mine are best friends now because this parent spent time with my daughter and got to know her apart from church and apart from being a “PK”
    Also, a response I haven’t seen…just because you are kind to my children doesn’t mean you will gain some special favor or business meeting vote in the future from myself or my husband. :)

  66. says

    I’m a PK, and my kids are PKs. I knew, and my kids know, whether or not church members really care about the preacher & his family as people. Do they get phone calls? Inquiries about their health? Visits when sick? Forgiveness when wrong? Sympathy when suffering? Care for your pastor as a human. His children can tell when you don’t, and it will shape their view of churches forever.

  67. David says

    i know what the pastor is trying to say, im a pastors kid myself, but i don’t agree with any of this, why? because so many people get the wrong idea of pastors kid, yes we’re HUMAN but it doesn’t really mean that we make the same mistakes that all the teenagers make, just cause we’re human it doesn’t really mean that we commit the same sin like every other teenager in the world.
    i HATE the term “pastor kids are HUMAN just like any other teenager in the world” or “pastor kids aren’t perfect” because then people start thinking that you’re literately just like them and they you make the SAME mistakes they make, and when they hear rumors about pastors kids the first things that people say is “we’ll i believe what im hearing about that pastors kid cause he’s HUMAN and a SINNER just like any other kid” i hate other people think that us TEENAGE pastors kids are just like any other kid. people even treat you different sometimes, cause they say “well he’s a pastors kid he’s not anything special or perfect so im just gonna treat him like any other kid in the world” and its not true, some of us actually try to live a life in Holiness and for live the TRUE GOSPEL, (Hebrews 12:14) GOD BLESS YOU.

  68. Daniel Moore says

    Great little blog. My two sons were teens when I was called to the ministry. I remember when they pulled me aside and said, “Dad, we need to talk.” They did not want to be PK’s. I opened 1 Timothy 3 and asked them to read the qualifications of first a pastor and then a deacon and tell me the differences. I then told them they had been DK’s (deacon’s kids) and that there was little difference between the two offices except maybe a paycheck. Then I asked them what is the difference between a Sunday School teacher’s kids and a deacon’s kids. We worked down to just the plain old Christian parent. Then I said to them, “I am going to teach the church the same thing I just taught you!” As Christians, we all live in a fishbowl that the world looks at. But rather than pick on our own…we should be praying and caring for our own as a witness.

  69. jennifer says

    I would add “Don’t use/abuse the pastor’s kids as pawns to gain favor or get back at the pastor.” I had things bought for me because people wanted something from my dad and I’ve also seen money support witheld without regard to how the family was going to eat because people had an agenda. That’s a horrible thing to do to kids.

    • Charity says

      The prayer/song “Set this church on fire ” at times is ambiguous to me.
      I appreciate some of the comments and would add. If you must choose a side, ALWAYS assume the best of your child and the worst of the church member/attendee. People are often two faced around the pastor. My experience is many church members were mean, passive aggressive, and manipulative. They acted sweet in front of our parents. Don’t get on your kid because they stand up for themselves, each other, or you. Especially if you won’t do it. It only empowers those who are mistreating them to continue to do it and know they have your support as they do it. These actions are counterproductive to building up your family and teach your kids that fair treatment of right and wrong only apply to non relatives/church members/attendees.
      I’m thankful for God’s mercy on me for helping me endure. I’m thankful to be born again into a new family who is truthful with me but loves me so much, anyone who even breaths wrong in my direction is in danger of hell on earth. I have the blessed choice to leave pain behind and those that continue to cause it, as well as choose the kind of joy and peace I’d never thought I deserved. I’m actually the one that holds back my dear husband from time to time from bringing swift justice. I relax and know if I’m ever in a position where I can’t handle something, he’s got my back, and can handle it on his own. God loves us even more. my prayer for my siblings is that God would continue to work and fight for them ! Whatever they must do to do to enjoy this life God gave them and to feel His love, Would prosper. I want us all to be healed, and do better with our own kids.

  70. Greg says

    I’m late to reply to this because this has been rolling around in my head for quite some time…at what point DO the actions of PK’s matter. We’d say the actions of an Elder/Deacon/whatever term you want to you would matter. I’ve skipped a lot of the comments here so maybe you have addressed it- but there are all sorts of qualifications that matter for leaders in the church and one seems to be how they run their household. I have a PK (who is actually sleeping in a crib at the moment) so I know this is hard/difficult and I’ve seen a lot of kids who are put under way too much pressure but I’m just wondering when it starts to matter.

  71. Stephanie says

    Thank you for writing this! I was just given a link to this blog, so I know I’m late commenting. As a minister’s wife, I totally agree with every point. I would add: Please don’t make my teenagers your “go-to” substitute teachers, nursery workers, Sunday School/Bible Study question answerers, etc. They love to serve, and they need to…but not every time. They need to be with their classes/youth group being fed. They may/may not know the answer to a Bible question. They, nor I, the preacher’s wife, are the Bible scholar that their father is. Please don’t harass them in study time by constantly calling on them. Thanks again!!

  72. AKJ says

    I am a late adopter to this site – but want to share some insight from as an Adult PK (37 years in)… Many of these things have been shared in the comments already but here are my thoughts:
    Thoughest things about being a PK were:
    #1 – My dad was drastically under paid for the work he did and was rewarded for putting the church above his family. My dad was/is a mega-church pastor (over 9000 attenders) – but our family could barely pay a bill while I was growing up. (thankfully this has changed but that was after 20 some years of service). My teachers/neighbors/friends thought he was ‘famous’ but my mom, siblings, and I always knew we never had as much as the people he served and thought it was our lot in life to have have do to without.
    #2 – My mom was expected to work full time hours for the church for FREE — (see #1)!
    #3 – My mom struggled to have friends in the church who did not tie their friendship to my dad’s role. At the same time, she was expected to be everyone’s best friend. But when my dad or his team made certain decisions – sometimes my mom lost a friendship, even when she was not involved at all. My mother has, BY FAR had the toughest road in our family because of my dad’s ministry.
    Despite all of this – Here are some reasons that all of my siblings still love God (and happen to be lucky enough to still go to my Dad’s church):
    #1 – My dad happens to be an amazing teacher/preacher. This is not the case for all PK’s so I consider it an extra gift.
    #2 – My parents put their marriage above all other things. That was not always the case – but for the last 20 years it has been. My parents are still together but more importantly – they still adore each other, engage with each other, and have an intimacy that is enviable. This makes them super easy to be around.
    #3 – There is no expectation AT ALL that any of us go to my dad’s church. Or any church. EVER.
    When I, or my siblings, have attended other churches (or no church) there has NEVER been any judgment about it. Seriously – I mean it – there is NO (passive/aggressive/ridiculous) judgment. This is a BIG ONE PEOPLE! There was a time when I didn’t engage in any church for close to two years – and I never heard one comment about it. NOT ONE. That was tough season for me, but not because I wasn’t going to a church every week. Probably would have been worse if I had a lot of judgment or expectations piled on top of what was already a really painful time in my life. It’s not like my parents were oblivious or didn’t care. I am sure that they spent many sleepless nights interceding for me. But they let me be in that space without outward judgment – and were willing to stand in the mystery that is a life and be ok with me not necessarily doing what they thought was right. I was still invited to their table for after church lunch, given a big glass of wine, and invited back again and again. I respect and admire this about my parents even more now than I did then. That was real faith in action – believing in something bigger than the actual circumstances of my actions. Faith that something that looked impossible in my life could manifest through the grace of God alone. Wow.
    If I could tell Pastor’s ONE THING to raise healthy spiritual kids – this would be it:
    My parents never demonstrated to us that their spirituality/calling/value/effectiveness/power/vocation had anything to do with our behavior as children.
    In fact even if I was, along with all of my siblings, a drug addicted criminal in prison – it WOULD HAVE NO IMPACT AT ALL ON THE EFFICITVENESS OF MY PARENT’S life/ministry/calling/marriage/etc. My dad made that even more clear to me when I was a 15 year old girl, and the PK down the street was being sent to away to hide a teenage pregnancy. Even worse – that poor PK was denounced by her own father from a relatively public pulpit (to the point that the kids in our public school were talking about it). I don’t even remember that pastor’s name anymore – but I will never forget what my dad said to me and my sister that same week. He said, “I hope you don’t make that same mistake. There is a lot of pain and struggle you will spare yourself by not making that mistake. But let me be clear — if you do, your mom and I will be there for you. You will not be shamed publically. You will not be sent away. You will still be loved by us. Because there is nothing you can do to not be loved by us.” Then he added “I want you to make Godly choices. But if you don’t, I’m not going to be the one who is responsible – you will be. So choose wisely” That is Godly parenting. And that one talk worked much more effectively than any of the crazy town purity balls a lot of my friends had to endure.
    At the end of the day though – It’s all grace people. And maybe this is why my family is lucky to love each other – want to see each other – and sometimes have a good passionate fight – It’s ALL GRACE.

    • says

      I have seen many of those points first hand…..especially about the Pastor’s Wife. Somehow she is everyone’s best friend, until someone doesn’t like something the Pastor did, and she becomes their worst enemy. And yes, often Pastors are very underpaid.

  73. Saundy says

    As an adult who will never return to her Fathers church I would like to add the following.

    If you don’t like the sermon or feel convicted, don’t take it out on the children.
    We don’t know what was discussed between you and our parents privately. Don’t act like we do and try to argue or explain your point to us.
    Do not mistreat or disrespect our family.
    Our house is not the community center or a halfway house for you to drop off your “ministries”.
    I can’t afford to invite all of you to my wedding and only invited half of you out of respect to my folks. Don’t act like a snot because you didn’t get an invite.

  74. Lee Ann says

    I am a preachers child and have given a lot of thought to if we should act better than anyone else and the answer I have come up with is yes and no. To start with the yes. We as pastors children should hold our self’s to a much higher stander because our actions can tarnish not only our own testimonies but also the ones of our parents, should the people in the church judge their pastor on their child? No but we are fruit inspectors and if a man can’t raise his own children then why would you trust your family’s spiritual growth to him. The answer no is pretty obvious, all children have an effect on the way you look at their parents for instance, “if you are walking through a store and you see a child screaming their head off kicking their mom or dad yelling I want this or I want that” the first thought that pops into your head is “That young’un is out of control it should have been raised better” or your first thought might be “one minute with my momma could fix that

  75. janie says

    I think the response of the child to the ministry depends heavily on the home life. I grew up in a pastor’s home. I don’t know if we were blessed with wonderful churches or if my parents were just really good at hiding church problems from us. I never felt like more was expected of me because of my dad or that I had to be perfect all the time. I honestly didn’t know that people in churches had conflicts until I experienced that as an adult. My dad worked really hard at teaching us to love people no matter who they were and to show them Christ through us. He was exactly the same person at home and he was behind the pulpit. He loved my mother and he loved all his children. And because of him, I am trying to teach my children the same things. I know some pastors and their children have had some horrible experiences in churches but I also know some people who blame the church for losing their children to the world. They are your children. Love them. Protect them. Pray for them. Be real.

  76. Kim says

    This may have been said but… Don’t think or expect that my children a part of the package. That is there is no one for an event, nursery duty, or whatever else that my kids will automatically do it or are expected to do it. Also, realize that thank you and appreciation for all they do goes a long way. Most of the time they are more than willing to serve but it hurts a parent to see through their eyes when it is ok for others to shrug off serving or helping and therefore it falls to my kids ( the pk kids) to carry the load others so freely shrug off. They get burnt out too and they do have other responsabities as well! This mama will fight for her kiddos… ;0)

  77. db day says

    It says not to call them PK (#4) yet writer calls them PK’s in #1,2 ,4, & 7. Kinda hypercritical don’t you think?

  78. Kimberky says

    Don’t assume that the PK is a bad kid or trouble maker. I’ve had church visitors, members and even random strangers when they first find out I am a PK ask if I am “One of THOSE kind of PKs.” A visitor even said to me when I was 12 and greeting people in church “You’re the pastor’s daughter? You must be a slut.” I didn’t tell my parents because I felt that the visitor was more important than me. Make sure your PK knows that they are just as important to you as the church and God. Talk to them about people’s positive and negative assumptions and how to handle it when confronted by people like that.

  79. says

    I would add, also, to include the Pastor/Assistant Pastor’s kids in activities. Too often people think that just because they are the Preacher’s kids, that they should understand that the other kids should participate more than them. Like, for instance, you have in your 4 and 5 yr old class 4 bus kids, 2 church kids, and one of the Pastor’s kids. You have a game that you want to play with them, and you call on everyone but the Pastor’s kids, because you don’t want the others to feel you called on the Pastor’s kid for who he was……that is not fair to that child. They are still human, and want to be included. I got it as a kid, and I try hard to include all three of my Pastor’s kids in anything I am doing with any of the other kids.

  80. Betty Sheridan says

    I am not a pastor or a pastor’s wife and I admire both the man who is called and chooses to follow that calling and the wife that follows the leadership of her husband as he follows God. I have always supported and will continue to support my pastor, his wife, and their children. To often, I am ashamed to say, we are too judgemental of pastors, their wives, and their children. I have seen church members’ children behave in ways that are unacceptable but their behavior was winked at or overlooked. On the other hand I have seen pastor’s and deacon’s children get in trouble over really nothing. Why should we accept behavior of one set and condone it and not accept behavior from another. kids are kids period. None should be judged or expected to act a certain way because of a parents’ profession.

  81. Dorma Young says

    I know a preacher that had a young couple for the youth group of his church. They would take them on trips to have things to do. One trip, the young man asked them to leave their cell phones @ home, if they needed to call anyone, they could use the youth leader’s phone or his wife’s. Well of course the pastor’s kids decided they were privileged so they could bring theirs. When they got back from the trip, the young man spoke to the pastor about it. Nothing was done. Needless to say, they lost a very good youth leader.

  82. Blessedfatherof6 says

    I think sometimes people expect there to be more like adults because they think the child should fall into the path of the parent like the high priest in the Old Testament, rather than then divi dual call God places on us today. Then they treat them to even higher adult standards. If you show my children love like Christ then maybe it will help them draw closer to Him and obey His call for their lives.

  83. LLD says

    When I was in seminary, we got the unique opportunity to hear from a pastor’s wife. She said when she and her husband entered pastoral ministry, she felt prepared for dealing with the bad parts of it – being attacked by those they helped the most, gossip, the “glass house” of it all, etc. But she said she was not prepared for how some of the church people treated her children, criticizing them for being just children, saying rude things to them, etc. I’ll never forget what she said.

    My seminary president advised us to be open with the church about your priorities as a husband and father, about your day off for spending time with your family. It’s wise.

  84. Kendra Lynn says

    I grew up in a Pastor’s home. My sister and I definitely felt the affects of the “glass house” but my parents were very balanced and did their best to protect us and train us up to love the ministry. I married a man that felt called to the ministry and we now are raising two daughters in a minister’s home.
    My feeling is that the congregation should do all that they can to support the entire pastor’s family in love and prayer.Our kids are normal kids, living an abnormal life. They need extra love and extra support.
    Great discussion, by the way!

  85. Bryan says

    All good thoughts here, how about a list for the pastor’s wife and also for the pastor’s family such as a brother, sister, etc. My brother has had thrown at him “You’re his brother can’t you talk to him.

  86. Pastor James and Elizabeth Irvin says

    We pastored years ago a very small church after the Pastor passed away. Our 2 daughters were constantly questioned by elder members, asking if their dad smoked one lady even went as far as to grab our youngest daughter and smell her hair and tell her she smelled smoke. Our daughter looked at her and said My dad doesn’t smoke but it ain’t your business anyway, but we go to my grandmothers on sundays for dinner and I have uncles that smoke. Our daughters got their ears pierced and they didn’t want that we were young pastors so my husband did ask the girls not to wear their earrings to church. Our oldest daughter got an after school job one of the elder lady’s said she should not be allowed to miss church for that. We asked her why the grandson that she was raising and living with her didn’t have to come to church then…She said I can’t make him he’s my grandchild. I looked at her and said DOESN’T HE LIVE IN YOUR HOUSE?
    People can truly be cruel when it comes to Preachers kids. I was a preachers kid also growing up and it seemed like we were also held to a higher degree than others.

  87. Christy says

    I am 31 years old and have been a “pk” my whole life. I must say I’m glad someone finally stood up with a written “do not touch” (so to speak) sign. My father always taught
    the measure you are measuring someone else with, will be used to measure you. Some got it …. others just kept on measuring. I really just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to put this together and #6 is a biggie in my eyes. Why some people thought we were hard of hearing always baffled my (sarcastically speaking). I remember being a teenager close to leaving the church because I felt like I was hurting my father more then helping because the people were never satisfied with my behavior. But my father would remind me an my 4 other siblings that we are not serving man but a merciful, loving God. And I walked through my darkest valleys with those words. Haha there’even s a whole bashing website where cowards would be able to use a private alias and could comment about my father and other Pastors creating horrific rumors and speaking very hurtful words about all my family, getting past that took many years and even caused one of my siblings to leave the church, but through all this God is good. Thx again!!!

  88. Denise Ayer says

    Please respect THEIR time with their father. Do not expect him to ‘drop’ them so he can hear about your latest vision, ailment, or complaint you “need” to share. My husband and I had friday nights as our sacred family nights and he told our people that, “unless you are dying, please do NOT interrupt our family night.” Some people would get offended if we didn’t show up at their aunt’s (first removed) hospital bed when she had minor surgery…but, they got over it. My girls and I valued those nights.

  89. Abby says

    People do expect more out of PK than they so the SK (saints kids) but we use to say that we played with the SK is why we did what we did.. We learned from SK…. Let your children be children. But do teach them to respect the house of God. There is a time and place for all things…God Bless You

  90. Allison says

    I appreciate this post. We have 2 children that are now raised in a PK friendly environment. I’m amazed at how gracious and kind church folk can actually be. We were coming from another church that had a 6 day work week with office hours until 6PM–sometimes a PK’s “struggle” within the church can start from the head down.. grateful for an opportunity to watch my family grow and function in a healthy manner.

  91. Heather says

    Growing up as a “PK” my whole life, and now working at a church with my husband in a volunteer pastoral position, my eyes are FULLY opened to the sometimes ridiculous expectations that a handful of people will always put on you or your children. I wish church people could really understand that pastor’s kids don’t have to be involved in everything at church. Sometimes they choose to be in school activities, sports, and social clubs that keep them from being at every extra church event, and church people should absolutely NOT get offended by this. If I have to choose between my one of my boys ball games, or a ladies luncheon, I absolutely will choose my boys event. Aren’t they my first and primary ministry?

  92. Ashley says

    Just because they are your preacher’s children DOES NOT make you one of their parents. Yes, it takes a village to raise a child, but growing up I had more than one holier-than-thou grab my arm and tell me I know better (than whatever I was doing) and Jesus was disappointed in me. You know the kind of complex that gives a child? Always being watched… ALWAYS displeasing Jesus… Really? For coloring during church? I wasn’t torchering small animals or anything. When I got my tounge pierce (as a rebellion of course) one woman told me it was going to send me straight to hell. Well, thanks woman who is not my God or my judge. I felt like Everything I did was going to send me to hell apparently, so I developed a ‘what does it matter anyway’ type attitude. Be encouraging people. ALL children/teenagers are going to make stupid mistakes- I mean, their brains aren’t fully developed yet, and all those hormones, hello! And above all else, GET THE LOG OUT OF YOUR OWN EYE FIRST. Remember what it was like to grow up. Nobody is perfect- in ANY stage of life, not even your pastor (gasp!!!). Talk to the parents in private if you have a true concern. Thankfully, God is forgiving (and hopefully won’t send me to hell for the tiny hole in my tounge).

  93. Brooklyn says

    I jut saw this link on Facebook and read it as well as some of the comments, but not all. I am a current PK and agree with every thing said in the 7. We getted treated differently because our parents our supposed to the role models of the adults as we should be for the kids. We are still kids and humans an make mistakes as well as go through trials and pressure. BUT we also love our parents. That love makes do whatever we have to show that they can lead the church just as He wanted. The Lord have us all free will and I know we all use that even as kids. Whether to cause a ruckus during church or stick out noses on the so because we’re the “preacher’a kids” that free will is why the PK’s get the roughest time. We are forced to hold the standard because it is expected because it is what our parents do. That free will also causes bitterness at having to be different from everyone else. Although it all works out in the end. I have been a PK the majority of my life and dealt with many things and will still. We jut have to make our own decisions on which path to take.

  94. Richard says

    Don’t think they MUST attend every church revival, event, potluck night, etc. They have lives outside of church just like your kids do.

  95. Richard says

    Don’t think they MUST attend every event, revival, potluck dinner, prayer meeting, etc. They have lives & activities outside of church just like your kids do. Let them be kids.

  96. Richard says

    Don’t think they MUST attend every event, revival, potluck dinner, prayer meeting, etc. They have lives & activities outside of church just like your kids do. Let them be kids. Don’t ask them why their dad preaches the way he does or why he said what he dis in the pulpit. We don’t know!

  97. Richard says

    Don’t ask them why their dad preaches the way he does or why he said what he dis in the pulpit. We don’t know!

  98. Ginger Tracy says

    As I read these comments, I ponder. I have been raised in church. I am a
    Christian and proud of it. Why would one judge a child (thats Gods job). All children a created equal. I does not matter who their parents are. Currently I am attending a small church. The pastors “family” makes up about 1/3 of our church. No matter if we are a part of this family, we all help to guide “all” the children in the church the same way. God bless all the children (even Pk’s). Shame on anyone who singles them out for “anything”. Judge not, less you be judged.

  99. Nikki says

    Loved this article. As a PK for my entire life, i understand how hard it can be sometimes. It is also very special (or it was to me as I look back) I liked the glass house comment. I have often likened being a PK to a fish in a fishbowl before. Especially to people who didn’t understand that some people put undo pressure on their Pastors Kids just because of who they are. PK’s are regular kids who need to be guided spiritually just as much as the kid next to them. Be Blessed!

  100. Raymond Mendez says

    One thing I think needs to be taken into consideration is the childs age, I have been around Pastors kids of all ages and the one thing I believe would help the teenage children is if the parents explain to them that no higher expectations should ever be placed on them than any other teenager in the church. However, it should also be explained to them that because they are a child of the Pastor does not give them an entitlement to special treatment. Remember people we are the adults if we bicker and do not show proper examples of problem solving how then can we expect our children to or followers of the church to. This was a good topic for discussion, and while I may not agree with each persons insight I respect their individual input. Be blessed my friends and remember train up you child in the ways of the Lord and he/she will not go astray.

  101. Jonathan says

    I didn’t read all 200+ comments so I apologize if I’m repeated another’s comment.

    Don’t assume that our life’s calling is the same as our father’s (especially when we’re very young). I remember wanting to be a boy scout platoon leader, school class president, 4H team leader but being selected (time after time) to be the chaplain (this started when I was 10!).

    For the record, I’m a 45 year old son of a pastor, married to a daughter of a pastor. I would not have traded that strange childhood for anything. :)

  102. Matt Johnson says

    Please don’t assume “PK” and “Golden Child” are synonymous. If you see a kid doing something they obviously shouldn’t, stop them, or tell their parent. Don’t think that a PK is pardoned from punishment, this allows getting out of trouble more often then it should. Everyone, does things they shouldn’t, don’t assume PK’s are exempt.

  103. Bekah Hayes says

    I have been a PK my whole life n it wrecked me. I am currently writing a book to help PK’s know someone understands n help Pastors with advice to help their kids. God called me to do this when I was very young but all these years I questioned why me who am I but there are no books out there like my subject matter so I’m far into the process but froze in the middle of the book bc Satan all out attacked me n my purpose while writing it also made me see our enemy doesn’t want PK’s helped. My heart is for PK’s I feel called to future ministry Simla for that. This blog has inspired me to get back to writing.

  104. Jonathan says

    Dr. Rainer, having read several more posts in this discussion and your responses to many of them, I wanted to express my gratitude that there are men of your caliber and temperament in the SBC. Having read most of your books over the years (beginning after hearing you speak at a Sunday School week at Ridgecrest nearly 20 years ago), I am happy to see that you remain as passionate as ever for looking at the local church situation as it is and helping the rest of us with the data that we can use to more properly serve on mission.

  105. Bekah Hayes says

    I am currently writing a book to aid pastors n leaders n also let PK’s know someone understands. I have been a PK my whole life n it wrecked me. I have questioned who am I to write this but there is no books out there for the subject matter I’m writing. I am very far along in writing but a long way from getting any help publishing. But this blog has inspired me to press in.

  106. Allison says

    “Don’t think that PK’s don’t understand struggle with sin.”
    I’m a PK and I recently heard the testimony of one of the ladies in my church who her and her husband were alcoholics before coming to know the Lord. I expressed to her how much it moved me and blessed me. She responded with a “I know you can’t fully understand because you grew up in church and your family didn’t struggle like ours but I’m glad it spoke to you.” I was so taken back by the fact that she thought me and my siblings lived in a bubble of sinlessness. If she only knew how closely aligned our battles were to hers she’d be floored!

  107. Carol says

    I think we need to follow the bible, things should be done decently and in order. Children are children, rather they are the pastor’s children, deacon’s children, or a laymen’s child. Sometimes I have seen children doing things in the church that parents wouldn’t allow at home. Children should be taught how to behave in the house of God. I disagree with a child running in the church (any age). They may run into an elderly person and hurt them. I think so parents are afraid to discipline their children at church. My children were taught to respect the House of God, it is a house of Prayer. I am not a pastors wife, or anyone with a title in the church. I just felt that God’s house needs to be respected. Children won’t know this unless they are taught. Mom and Dad that is your responsiblility. A child runing around durning a service is a definite no no.

  108. Tony T says

    Church people should also understand that they have no “rights” to the pastor or his family. It seems that people often expect more from this family than from their own. They expect their pastor to drop their family time, their day off, to go over and pray for their cold (just a little example). We have to remember that we are called to first be priests of our home, and I say all of the time that if thousands of people receive Christ under a ministry that I’m a part of, but I lose my children to the world them I have failed.

    • Tracie Bell says

      I agree with this wholeheartedly! I am a pastor’s wife of 25 years. People over the years have expected everything out of my husband, and a lot of the time, out of me too. Many people feel like they can just pop in anytime…they expect the house to be spotless. We have three kids and a spotless house has not always been my top priority. And sometimes folks don’t mind commenting on how the last pastor was and how tidy his family was, etc . But this is another whole topic I could go on about. Haha!!
      I guess my biggest disappointment is when church members feel it is their responsibility to correct our children or fuss at them, instead of coming to my husband or me and letting us discipline our children. That is our responsibility. And not only does it anger me, but it hurts me for my children. And I also agree with the ones who have already stated that our children are held to a higher standard than other kids. We work very hard to teach our children manners and how to act in church. It is so nice when people notice their good manners or behavior and mention THAT to us or to our children. The church should be a comfortable, accepting place where we are building each other up, not tearing each other down.
      I need to add that our children are older now: 20, 15 and 12. We have made it, for the most part, unscathed by ugly in the church. But unfortunately the hurtful words are the ones that come to mind, usually more often than the nice ones. My advice to anyone who will listen: love those kids!! Build them up. And let their parents do the disciplining. Thank you for the opportunity to speak my heart.

  109. tiffany says

    I would add, that members not compare their kids with the pastor’s. Navigating childhood social norms is hard enough to add expectations from other parents. I heard a lot, “Why can’t you be more like tiffany. Yes, it’s hard to carry expectations of adults, harder to be the target of resentment of other kids.

    And, a thought regarding an earlier post about all kids respecting the house of God and not disrupting church… and not just PK’s being held to this standard. I believe the church could benefit from more disruptions and learning to listen to the young. They are smart and resilient. We could learn a lot from children. We need to be more childlike, play, be emotional, vulnerable, speak the truth instead of holding it all together with a smile on face.

  110. jack says

    Two things I would add, invest time in your pastor’s children even though they have no bearing on your position in the church. There are times when the church is willing to invest in the pastors and their children get neglected. Let them know that they are valued and appreciated for the sacrifices they make for the good of the church. Also, never assume that because their parents have been called to be pastors, that it is their calling as well. Sometimes it is, but many times it is not. Encourage them to grow and flourish in the gifts that God has given them.

  111. Shelly says

    We as adults in the church need to remember that children are the future of the church PK or not. If church is a miserable place to be full of grumpy adults, why would our children want to be part of that as young adults? Church should be a wonderful loving safe place for our children where the learn and grow in their own relationship with God. Part of our teaching should include proper behavior in God’s house but, should not exceed what the child’s age is able to handle and certainly should never shame a child. My husband is a pastor and we both think hearing children in the church is music to our ears!!

  112. Kim says

    As a PK my sister and I grew up with differing opinions on our childhoods. My sister hated being a PK, I loved it. She walked away from the Lord (thank God she has come back now), I became a Pastor myself. I believe that Pastors need to know their children for who they are as individuals and love and teach them in the ways they each need. I feel that if you are a PK then God has called you into a life of ministry for at least the first 18yrs of your life. It doesn’t mean you have to be perfect – what Pastor is perfect – or that people in the church have the right to treat you differently. But the fact remains that they will treat you differently, just like the President’s kids get treated differently. It doesn’t make it right, but how we teach our kids to deal with it will make all the difference in the world. We don’t need to teach our children to be perfect, we need to teach them to be like Jesus! To react to people with love, patience, and compassion. To try their best and know that God loves them for who they are and what they will become through Him. That God knew exactly what life their parents were called to and that He chose them to be a PK.

  113. The Other End says

    I read this post with a bit of a skeptical heart. I think some of these Pastors and Families might have taken on a hardened heart. This is NOT the norm. I’ve been a member of a church for over 25 years, from the pre-teen years to now a parent to pre-teen children. I can tell you with all honesty that this post was NOT what was thought by the Leadership of that church. They, on several occasions took the total opposite stand point. Their children were above all the other children, they had the right to place their children’s wants (in a service) above others, ie: their child wants to sing (but has no talent) and other child has talent but isn’t allowed to be used.
    Also, don’t expect members not to talk about the Pastor, but the Pastor and the entire Family can discuss at great length the faults and annoyances of members, and allow their children to disrespect members due to knowing that the Pastor is annoyed with them! There was times when the Pastor’s children did the most outlandish things, but the Pastor would stand on the platform and accuse others of the deed! I’m sorry but you can’t expect churches to flourish when these types of mentalities are in practice.
    Try very hard not to adapt a huge double standard! If you expect something of your members, then it HAS to be followed through in your Family! If a member DOES present something to you, do NOT immediately dismiss it, and accuse them of targeting your Family! No, your children are NOT perfect, and so in turn do NOT think they are when presented with an issue!
    The “well, not my kids” attitude that Pastor take has ruined a many Holy Ghost Filled Pillars! Members will want to love you and your Family when you show them you are HUMAN, and are willing to admit that there are ways we can all help each other! And IF a issues arises do not assume that you are being unjustly attack! IT might be a member wishes to really help in the situation, but when meet with such walls, it’s hard to be of any help! And remember, just as you feel when a member presses you about your children, and the issues they might have with them, and you feel the protector spirit coming on, in turn, members are going to feel the SAME way when it comes to their children! When one of your children deliberately offends a member’s family it is only fair to assume they will react the same! Fair’s Fair! Don’t expect to be treated any different then any other family in the church, and it will go very well for everyone!

    • Heidi says

      With all due respect- you have no basis for this opinion. I reject completely the notion that as a life long church member you have any idea what the pastor’s family goes through or any insight into this matter. You need to humble yourself and simply learn. The pastor and their family do not belong to you. They do not work for you. They are not your hired help. And believe it or not, they don’t sit around talking about you and your families. They have actual lives and interests.

      • Theotherside says

        Wow, back up there! Your attack on me is exactly way I and many others come to this conclusion. I was simply trying to get others to see why some people might have hung ups when it comes to PKs. I know our pastor does not “belong” to members, but he does “belong” to the Body as a whole, if he and his family are self serving and are only out for their own personal gain, then they are not serving the church like the Bible states! They need to be basing everything they do on Bible, just as they preach that we should! What’s good for the good is good for the gander! I will not be attack in this manner again, the person that needs humbling might be you, Sis. Heidi! I pray you see that I was no t being rebellious and only trying to help others see where some of the issues might be coming from!

  114. Katie says

    I’m the (female) worship leader at my church. mother of 4 beautiful children! An 8 year old, 4 year old and 2 year old twins. It bothers me when people expect us to be at every single church event. Especially things after church. We get up at 4:30am on Sundays. My husband and I get ready and get the car packed with our gear. Then we make breakfast for everyone. We cannot afford to eat a cheaply fast food breakfast. Then there is the task of actually getting them to eat it without getting horribly messy so we can dress them. Then somehow get them into the car without waking our neighbors. Our kids are kept in a small Sunday school room watched by unpaid volunteers during our rehearsal. Then, our children get split up for normal classes. My oldest has to sit in church with a friend or other family because we are on stage. After church is over, we have to pack up all our gear and then rush to pick up our kids so the volunteer workers can go home. By this time, it’s after 12. My kids are fussy, hungry and want to go home. But we are usually the last ones there so we need to lock up. We go home (hopefully without having to pull over to correct anyone’s behavior) and then try to give the kids their lunch and in to bed for nap time around 2pm or so. We are exhausted the rest of the day. If we wanted to go to another church event, we would have to find a volunteer to watch our kids since we can only afford a sitter to watch them when we work during the week . If we decided to take them with us, we would have to keep an eye on then the whole time which does not leave much room for us to socialize or have fun and build friendships with others. So most of the time, we choose to stay home. I wish people would understand that it takes a lot of time just to get our kids to church in the first place. I wish people wouldn’t think we don’t like going to extra events or we don’t care about others because were not there to help. Ya know?

  115. Denise Chestnut says

    I would like to follow up on Jon’s post, who spoke about making sure to dismiss the pastor with the children who were super unruly. And yes I understand the scriptural reference and accept it.
    What I would like to hear along with it: the countless times you prayed for the child that was so unruly. The times you wept and prayed with the parents before the pastor’s resignation.
    Making sure that there was nothing medically or mentally wrong here.

  116. Leanne says

    My husband is a pastor and there is a great deal of pressure put on the children as well as the wife. We had a long-time pastor mentor tell us many years ago that he always told a prospective church that the church was calling him as the pastor – not his wife and children. The wife and children would be active members and contribute as any other member, but not to expect “more” from them. That has been the best advice for us – as well as prospective churches and congregations.

  117. Lynn says

    The problems I faced as a PK weren’t as a child, but as an adult in my mid 30’s. My husband and I were overly involved in my father’s church. After some difficult situations I began to have trouble with x-treme anxiety. There were members if the congregation who accused me of being angry at God, weather than encouraging me they just pushed me down further. My immediate family has since left my fathers church. Things still remain strained between my father and me. So judgment doesn’t end when you become an adult.

  118. Shelly Scruggs Lickliter says

    I was the PK of a PK and I raised PK’s and now have GPKs… needless to say I am very familiar with this issue. I would, as a pastor’s wife like to address the other side of the coin. While PKs do live in a glass house and are subject to the opinions of others more than the average kid, we also need to remember there are certain perks that come with being the PK which I won’t take time to list here. Also I, for one, had to really work at helping my children not to feel “entitled”. There were times I had to yank a knot in their proverbial tails because at times they thought because their dad was the pastor it afforded them certain privileges and that they were owed a certain amount of respect from their peers. It is a balancing act that takes grace and wisdom to be able to raise normal, well balance, law abiding young men and women of God. :)

    • Lisette says

      I can clearly remember my pastor addressing the congregation in reference to his children. He told the congregation not to expect more of his children than what you would expect from a child who is not a PK. He also said that his children should not be allowed to get away with unruly behavior or be given perks. I think that is so on point and more pastors should share this with their congregation. As an adult I have encountered many adult PK’s and most of them seem to have the attitude of entitlement and I believe that it stems from the entitlement given to them when they were growing up in church.

  119. says

    Hey they are kids growing up in the real world. Not much different than a senators, or congressman’s kids. We put them in the spotlight and set higher standards for them.
    Great to see them just enjoy growing up like we did, and just doing what they want with their life when they become an adult.
    I do like the pray for them, they need it since they are judged more than most.

  120. Pastor's Kid says

    I was not able to read through all of the comments, so if this was said, I apologize. Growing up in the church as a child of a leader in the church, and then later as a Pastor’s kid, I was considered the “golden child” of the church. People viewed me as such a “great kid” and blah, blah, blah. I spent most of my childhood concerned I would make my father look bad if I misbehaved and tried my hardest to live up to others’ expectations. I found that because we lived next door to the church and were at the church (it seemed like) nearly all the time, people became unobservant about the fact that I was around at certain times when they were discussing things, that a child perhaps shouldn’t be allowed to hear. As most people know who have been in the church for any length of time, when it comes to church politics and procedures, Satan has a hayday with using our humanity against us, and sometimes it can get pretty ugly. Please be careful in your conversations to make sure there are not little ears around to hear what is going on. I grew up way too fast with the knowledge of things I should never have known as a child, and therefore was constantly worrying about my parents and other leaders who were close friends of our family.

    On another note, alot of what was said in this article can go for the pastor’s wife, as well. Yes, she is an adult and the people of the church will inevitably look up to her (especially the women), that is all part of being a pastor’s wife. However, she should not be put on a pedestal either. We are all only human, and it is only by the blood of Christ that we are adopted into His family. Our position in the church, whether it is the pastor, pastor’s wife, other leader, or janitor, or even just someone who attends the services without serving…we are all saved by the same blood and none of us needs to be put on a pedestal and expected to be better than the next person. As adults, it is our hope that we have matured in our relationship with God to be a better example, but everyone makes mistakes and should not be looked up harsher just because of your status in the church.

  121. PB says

    My children, 6, 7, and 9, know what it means to take ownership of their position in the church. They are there much earlier than any other staff or members, often there much later than any staff or members, and there more than two or three services per week. It may not be considered their playground, but it is their second home, and have more access, not because of their title, but because of their ownership. They know their boundaries and limitations. And… Don’t label my children for a Sunday afternoon ‘incident’ that you don’t approve of, because I can assure you, I saw it or heard it and will take care of it as soon as you let me go!

  122. Cindy Wilson says

    I actually completed my dissertation on this very topic several years ago. The title was “Stress and quality of life of children of clergy.” I found many of these same stressors to be true in my study. Top stressor for children of clergy included the expectations placed on them by church members, but also on their own families, as well as the pressure living in a “glass house” where they lacked privacy. If you are interested in seeing a copy, feel free to email me at

  123. Jenny Thompson says

    I have been a PK since I was 6 months old! I grew up to marry a preacher and our 4 kids are PK’s. The only thing on the list I personally disagreed with (and it’s only personal. Others may feel differently), is to not call them PK’s. I loved being called a PK. I remember being offended when the Promise Keeper movement started because they took my name LOL!! I was a PK first

  124. says

    I’m currently a worship pastor at a church with my pops, and what’s funny to me is that I remember being held to that same standard as you mentioned in the above article, but when I finally came to the realization that I was being called to be an ordained minister (and a traveling Christian rocker ;-), I found that many church folks didn’t want me to work alongside my dad. Many called it nepotism. Wow. I FINALLY did what they wanted me to, but once I was old enough to be that “adult,” I wasn’t allowed (almost) to fulfill what God had called me to and my parents had faithfully raised me to become.

    Couple of years later, God set us free from an unhealthy environment, so my dad, my brother and I started a new church where we can live out that call. God is good. It just seems weird (and at the time, really hurt) that once I WANTED the PK moniker, it was “sinful” in others’ eyes. Some folks just can’t be happy. But I know God is…and so are my dad and I. Thanks for this!

  125. Arvid Taboclaon says

    Growing up “in church” was difficult especially at that time we lived on the parsonage and church members were very conservative. There was no privacy at all. There was a very high expectation for us PK’s to behave, talk and even dress up. But I am thankful that I was brought up in that environment. It grounded and rooted me in the word.

    I am just so blessed that my Dad is my Pastor! I got the best of both. He dedicated me, baptized me in water, officiated my wedding, dedicated and soon, baptize my kids. And if God wills, officiate my daughters’ wedding.

    Pastor’s kids are just like any ordinary kid…blessed!

  126. Monica says

    As a child of pastor parents and now pastor and mother to two children, I agree with all those comments made above. There was nothing more embarrassing than having my father call me out from the pulpit because I was writing notes or falling asleep. Now, I realize he really had no choice because no one else was doing it from the pews. My husband and I, like my parents before me, are both ordained ministers. During services, as much as I wish it wasn’t so, I am on duty. I am running sound systems, leading songs, reading scripture, preaching as a team with my husband and being the mother my children need sitting with them is not an option. So, they whisper to each other, lay on the pews, maybe every once in a while even climb under them. But let’s be honest… “Church” behavior is learned, taught. I’m not there to teach them. Neither is my husband. And no one else steps up to help us in this area. As a result, we gear the comments about the preachers kids. And it is frustrating. I would love to sit in the congregation during services with my children and guide them through as other members can, but other things are expected and required of me by the members. So my message would be this: if you notice issues during services or activities involving the pastors children and they are unable to address them or handle them, help. Sit next to that child during a service. Show them how to find the Bible verse or song in the song book. Help. Instead of criticizing, think of whether or not this is an area you can help teach or mentor and then do it.

  127. says

    The Seventh one hit me… Its you job FIRST to take care of your children. God gave you children for a reason, to be their father. You are simply called to be a husband, and a father, then the church, and God above all.

  128. Julie says

    Being a pastors daughter I would love to remind people that my father was called to the ministry not me as a toddler. I am blessed to have grown up in church and have become a teacher having taught Sunday school in church. I become frustrated when I read comments about pastors kids being bad. You might be interested to know that every Sunday and Wed. evening I spent hours at church both before, during and afterward. That is a long time at church. It becomes home and you become comfortable in your home. So when you see a tantrum from a PK, take time to think; how long has that child been at church today? I certainly lived in a glass house, and people felt free to hurl stones. I wasn’t a trouble maker, but everyone was looking for me to screw up. One other thing, being a pastor is a 24/7 job. I don’t think there was ever a dinner at my house where the phone didn’t ring wanting to talk to my dad. People should recognize this a be respectful of what little “family time” we got. As an adult I hated people introducing me as the pastors daughter. You are treated differently.

    • Elizabeth says

      Fair enough Julie, you make a lot of sense, that is why we shouldn’t assume but instead get involved in a positive way & help out when needed.

  129. Michael says

    I grew up a Youth Pastor’s Kid; my dad wrote the book on youth ministry… no seriously, he wrote a book. There’s a completely different dynamic when it comes to Youth Pastors’ Kids (YPKs, I guess?) because the Seventh point on this list is different. It’s not “Dad gave more attention to CHURCH MEMBERS than his own children” Instead, it’s “Dad gave more attention to OTHER PEOPLES’ KIDS than to his own children.” My testimony of this is more real than I care to share on this thread, but understand that this list is surprisingly accurate. My two sisters and I have carried this burden for a long time; I am still seeking help and healing for a lot that has happened to me simply because of my father’s calling. Thankfully and prayerfully, however, there has been a lot of healing in my family from all that being in ministry has done to us. My story is not even a horror story of the ministry; tough – yes, scarring – yes. Am I wounded? Cripplingly so. I’m 19-years-old and it is only by the grace of God that I have chosen the ministry for myself and am currently on the path to becoming a pastor and missionary, knowing what it might do to my future children. It is no good to whine and moan about what ministry has done to PKs over the generations; it happened, start healing and, for God’s sake, move forward. “The ministry” is not the focus of our lives, Christ is the very center; I might suggest taking some time to move your gaze from the ministry to Christ. Simply and cliché? Absolutely, but necessary for the renewal of your mind.

    P.S. I recommend three books: “The Wounded Healer” by Henri J Nouwen, “Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning, and “Leading with a Limp” by Dan Allender.

  130. Michael says

    I grew up a Youth Pastor’s Kid; my dad wrote the book on youth ministry… no seriously, he wrote a book. There’s a completely different dynamic when it comes to Youth Pastors’ Kids (YPKs, I guess?) because the Seventh point on this list is different. It’s not “Dad gave more attention to CHURCH MEMBERS than his own children” Instead, it’s “Dad gave more attention to OTHER PEOPLES’ KIDS than to his own children.” My testimony of this is more real than I care to share on this thread, but understand that this list is surprisingly accurate. My two sisters and I have carried this burden for a long time; I am still seeking help and healing for a lot that has happened to me simply because of my father’s calling. Thankfully and prayerfully, however, there has been a lot of healing in my family from all that being in ministry has done to us. My story is not even a horror story of the ministry; tough – yes, scarring – yes. Am I wounded? Cripplingly so. I’m 19-years-old and it is only by the grace of God that I have chosen the ministry for myself and am currently on the path to becoming a pastor and missionary, knowing what it might do to my future children. It is no good to whine and moan about what ministry has done to PKs over the generations; it happened, start healing and, for God’s sake, move forward. “The ministry” is not the focus of our lives, Christ is the very center; I might suggest taking some time to move your gaze from the ministry to Christ. Simple and cliché? Absolutely, but necessary for the renewal of your mind.

    P.S. I recommend three books: “The Wounded Healer” by Henri J Nouwen, “Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning, and “Leading with a Limp” by Dan Allender.

  131. Rachel says

    I’m a PK about to finish college, I have 4 siblings still living at home. It can be REALLY hard living life as a PK. The glass house is SOOOOO true! I found that I was “supposed” to fit into two different stereotypes 1) the perfect mini-adult, or 2) the rebel heathen. To make my situation even more tricky, my family homeschools! So we were looked at even MORE closely and held to even more ridiculous standards that we were either really smart or really dumb. It is absolutely exhausting as a kid and teenager trying to figure out which mold you are going to fit in and trying to figure out why you can’t be just a kid. If any church members are reading this, please realize that we are just kids, we need to be encouraged in living life as Christians, don’t tell us about the awful PKs tell us how we can grow to be wonderful people of the church. If it wasn’t for some sweet ladies taking me under their wing and investing in my spiritual and emotional life, treating me as an individual I can’t say where I’d be today.

  132. Susan Thomas says

    Growing up as a PK/MK myself, I would definitely add the following:
    Please Don’t Accuse Pastors’ Kids and Missionary Kids of Being a Distraction From the Work of God. Don’t put them down as being “in the way” of the ministry. Don’t push them to the sidelines. And, for the love of God, don’t put them in boarding schools to get rid of them so you can fulfill what you think is God’s calling on your life! Your kids ARE God’s calling on your life! So, if you work for a church or a mission board, recognize that it’s the family unit–the being of a father and a mother and a family–that puts you in direct contact with the very people you’re trying to reach with the love of Christ. Your children are your bridge to the world.

  133. Stephanie says

    As I read through some of the comments on this thread I am reminded how far off track many church goers become. Church is about believers coming together to worship Christ and to reach out to the lost and broken.
    I am the daughter of a pastor, I am the granddaughter of a pastor. My mother is the Youth minister, my grandmother teaches Sunday school and sings in the choir. My uncles are deacons. My cousins (and myself) lead worship, teach classes, head up children’s programs and serve in so many areas it’s hard to keep track of them all. We all live in different parts of three states but we all, by the Grace of God, grew into god fearing and God loving individuals. I say that because I know first hand what it is like to grow up where your every move is watched and scrutinized and where you know that one single slip of what some consider bad behavior causes not only you to be given some lecture by some insane card carrying member of the holy roller society but also your father was going to get more than the third degree. I, honestly, was not a bad child nor was I any worse off than the normal teenager. I didn’t party with the deacons kids, as some people seem to think all preachers kids do. I never had sex in the supply closet (yes, I have actually heard people say that about their PK’s- repulsive). I wasn’t the one who painted the neighborhood horse statue like a zebra (I was only 12 and had no means of driving there and yet the PK was blamed – really!?). I was a normal teenager who came home 5 minutes past curfew on a few occasions and who wrecked my car my 11th grade year because I over corrected for a pot hole… People of the church have to remember a preachers kid is nothing more than a kid. Yes reverence should be taught to all children when it comes to the Lords house but you also must remember that mistakes are made. Children get tired and bored and trip and fall while pretending to fly with angels. PK’s are children they are not different from other children. Preachers do not sit at home, contrary to the belief of others, and drill their children about church etiquette so that sister complaining Claire doesn’t get upset on Sunday morning after service because you fell down in the foyer.
    I went to School with a PK who turned agnostic because of the crap church members delt him and his family- he says if there is a god why would he have his followers treat his so called appointed one and his family so poorly? And I must admit… He has a point. That’s not how God intends us to be. Our god is a loving God. We should be a loving people also!
    All believers need to remember that we are believers with a mission- To go and spread the good news of Jesus. Who would want to come to your church or listen to what you have to say if you judge every child and expect them to act as adults!? Just a bit of food for thought… Marinate on that!

    • Elizabeth says

      Love your comment Stephanie, very wise! Thank you, we sometimes need a reminder of how God wants us to behave, especially towards all children.

  134. Kelly Jo Barr says

    I would add mom’s to the equation too… Because some pastors are moms.

    My pastor’s children are in my youth group. I love them and think they are awesome, just as I love all the others. And I know they see and hear a lot and worry about things that probably no other teen in our group worries about. As with all kids and teens, we just have to remind ourselves that they are just that.

  135. Joel Anderson says

    I would add “let my children explore their spiritual options instead of committing them to my faith from birth.”

  136. Stacy says

    I’m not sure it has been suggested yet, but it would be nice if members realize the church building is not necessarily a place of reverence for a pk. It’s more like a second home. We’re there waiting during long counseling sessions, during the work week, and just about any other time. We keep ourselves occupied. Also, it isn’t our job to be THE example for all other kids. If other kids are playing tag on the church lawn, we just might join in. 😉

  137. B. Jones says

    Pastor’s kids are not hired by the church, therefore you should not treat them as employees or expect them to do more than any other church member. When they are at an event they are not there to babysit kids or lend counsel to others, even if they enjoy hanging out with them it should be their choice. Sometimes they just need to be out of the spotlight and be kids.

    You should honor Pastor’s kids. Very few other vocations require as much sacrifice and inconvenience from the employee’s children. When you honor them with a gift and let you know you appreciate them, it gives them value. Honor their birthdays and on Pastor Appreciation, Christmas, etc, have a giftcard or honorarium, even if it is small, to let the kids know you appreciate them sharing their parents with the church. A little appreciation goes a long way!

  138. Leah says

    The points listed in the article are real, and there are even more things that we (yes I am a PK) kids of clergy members have endured. One of the weirdest things I remember from growing up was that because my father was an associate pastor, when I brought up things about my dad the pastor or stuff about being a PK to my youth group or to people in the church, people would just so, oh he’s an associate, he’s not a “real” pastor, and my questions and struggles would go unanswered and ignored. My father is one of the hardest working pastors I know and probably the most devoted guy out there. He definitely is a REAL pastor an I am a REAL PK. Dealing with that identity crisis growing up was weird. I was torn between people thinking I needed to be a pk sometimes and then others thinking I wasn’t. Later I learned it really doesn’t matter what they think, but at the time it was a big deal for my younger self! Don’t stress out those kiddos and give them identity issues. They will have enough of those on their own as they grow! Educate them, encourage them, envelop them into your ministries and develop their gifts and talents like we are called to do!

  139. Just My Opinion says

    I think that parents, or responsible adults, should teach children proper behavior in Gods house and in public. I don’t think that PKs should be treated any better or any worse than any other child. From my observation I believe that the reason that fingers get pointed at PKs is because they sometimes don’t show the reverence to Gods house that they should. Being brought up as a PK, a lot of the kids live near to the church in a parsonage and they are in and out of the church on a daily basis and they become so accustomed to being there that the House of God is no longer sacred, it is an extension of their home. They don’t mean any harm, they are just very comfortable there. This is when the parents have to teach the kids that church is no place to play and is to be respected EVERY day of the week and even though there may not be church members present during weekday stop overs at the church, God is still present and He requires the same respect 24 hours a day.

  140. Phil J says

    I was ask one time WHY was I so mean, I told the deacon of the Church ” because I play with deacon’s Children…LOL…… I got in trouble for that remark I was a ” P K”

  141. Skeeter McClusky says

    Children are welcome just like the others we want to come to church: As long as they act just like me, dress like me, worship like me, give like me, volunteer, talk, sing and are attractive, in shape, fashionable and smell as good as I do…come on in…and did I mention: God bless you! Now, if we can Jesus to be ‘just like me,’ church will be perfect!

  142. Melinda Stamper says

    Hello, I was reading some comments and I saw one that children should have boundrys at church. For me being a Pastors wife, the children that go to church with including our 4 kids.. In which in ages range from 1yrs old to adults. They sing, play music… I believe if u make any kids sit on a pew through the whole service they will not get anything out of the service… Every since my kids have be able to sit up I’ve always put something instrumental in their hands, from being a drum stick to letting play on the piano.. Now my oldest daughter is 17, plays the panio, guitar, drums, bass, and even writes christian songs, she serves The Lord with her whole heart. My 16 yr old son plays the bass, sings, guitar,and drums. My 13 yr old son plays the bass, piano,drums,lead guitar, reg guitar,.. My 8 yr old daughter sings, plays the drums, learning piano…. They other kids in the church sing, learning how to play intruments also…. If we don’t let the kids get in there and help, how will they know anything… The Children are the churches of today. The bible tells us to teach them. Sitting on a pew isn’t teaching them… Yes if they r just horsing around then that’s different… Look up our YouTube videos under Melinda Stamper there isn’t many but some… And u will be amazed at what our kids ( not just my kids) but all of the kids can do and they mean it from the bottom of their heart… Thanks

  143. Amanda says

    Being raised as a ‘PK’, I had some MAD resentment towards my parents and the church for expecting too much from me. I was helping lead kids church when I should have just been in it. At 11, I was helping with the youth department when I wasn’t even old enough to be IN the youth group. One lesson you pick up pretty quick: when you’re a pastors kid, it doesn’t matter what department or ministry asks you for help, you don’t say no.

    The early teen years are when most kids go through their hardest times. I was no different. As I look back now, I think I was the most unstable youth in the church, and no one had any idea. They tell you when you have an issue to talk to an adult you can trust, like a pastor or school counsellor. But when your father is your youth pastor and he works with the school counsellor to help kids out, who was I supposed to turn to then?

    By the time I was 13, we were living on the church property. Both literally and figuratively. At 15, I was in charge of worship for the youth service, youth service production, main service production, the drama team, the youth Bible study, and all youth events. And my homework had to be done, too.

    Monday night was drama practice.
    Tuesday night was band practice.
    Wednesday night was youth service.
    Thursday night was youth leaders meeting.
    Friday night was Bible study.
    Saturday was main service practice.
    Sunday was main services.

    That’s a lot to throw at a teenager. So why didn’t the youth pastor help? The senior pastor left due to health reasons, so until we could get a new lead pastor, my dad, the youth pastor, had to take over temporarily. Him and my mom has a lot on their plates too. And like I said, when someone needs help, you can’t say no. Even if you have nothing else to give. At 14, the only friends I had were the people I went to church with. We didn’t really have much in common, but we spent so much time together, I just assumed we all liked each other.

    I found out later that they all but hated me.

    People in the church would complain about my clothes and how I sometimes looked like I was going to fall asleep in the middle of the service. The first time I ever painted my nails black, it caused some huge scandal. I struggled to keep my grades from falling and jumped through hoops to keep everything at the church going smoothly.

    Stressed to a breaking point with no one to talk to, I began to self-harm. It was the only way to make sure I could keep myself focused enough to not let anyone see that I wasn’t in a good place.

    Like any other addiction, I got used to the small, shallow wounds I’d inflict upon myself. I started to do it more. The cuts started getting deeper. They got harder to hide.

    At 16, my mother discovered my secret and we had…. quite a conversation. That year, the church found a couple to take over the senior pastorship that my dad was filling in for. They didn’t like us. They didn’t know what all we did to contribute to the church. They let us go.

    We moved out of the church staff house. We moved out of town. And I stopped cutting. Again, as with all addictions, It took some time to get to a point where I could stop, but I did.

    1) If you absolutely positively have to expect something from a pastor’s kid, expect them to be a kid.
    2) Before you ask for someone else’s time, make sure its because you really need help and not just because you don’t want to do it. Even when they say “no, its not too much!” Or “no, its not a problem!” It still might be too much or a problem. Chances are they are just being polite.
    3) Remember that, before you start making all sorts of demands or requirements of your pastor, they have a life and a family too. Don’t take them away from that.
    4) Just because something offends you doesn’t make it a big deal. Mind your own business about things that are relatively unimportant.
    5) Don’t forget that the older kids are still kids and are just as affected by their parents title as smaller kids are.
    6) If you see someone struggling, help them out. Don’t ask questions. Don’t wait for an explanation. Just do it. They’ll appreciate it.

  144. says

    Having your parent in Christian leadership does not make you automatically more spiritual, or your life less challenging spiritually speaking. In fact, sometimes just the opposite. The child of a Christian leader must come to faith just like anyone else. They must wrestle with their own doubts and insecurities. Their lives will be severely tested – maybe even more so because of their parents service to Jesus. These kids can be afraid to share the reality of their spiritual journey with anyone, especially someone in their own church. This can leave them feeling isolated and hopeless. They are afraid people will think poorly of their parent. They know they cannot live up to the unrealistic standard set for children of Christian leaders.

  145. Austin Elizabeth says

    I myself am a preachers daughter, as well as a granddaughter on both sides, and I have 2 uncles that are preachers. I’m 19 here soon and maybe it’s just my ‘rebellious teenage years’ talking here but I don’t think we should really be held at a difference standard. I’ve made PLENTY of mistakes in my life, so it isn’t like we are a sort of hybrid children or christians. We’ll screw up just like everyone else, but what we need is to know when can ask elders at the church (like the deacons *cough cough*) to help us when we need it without feeling like later one of them will be going around saying something like “Did you hear what Austin did? She is the preacher’s daughter too!”
    What kind of house for healing would that be if even the kids were under attack?

  146. Shawn says

    My dad used to tell the church. Remember when you come complaining about my child getting in trouble, it is your kids they are hanging out with.

  147. Donna Andrews says

    I think part of the problem arises whenever two parents are involved in ministry before and/or after church and the kids run unattended. The is a time and season for everything and somebody needs to keep their eyes on the kids. Too many times kids run rampant through a building and do whatever they want. Maybe a solution is someone designated to watch over them while the parents finish their ministries. Nobody’s kids should be running around unattended; doesn’t matter who they belong to. There will be a season when both parents can both be involved at the same time but if kids have behavior issues, someone needs to be holding down the fort; pastor or no pastor.

  148. Dayton says

    It is tough being a missionary’s kid too! I think one dif is MK’s are away from all the “religious & judgmental” people for most of the time. On the other hand MK’s face real hardship, if you know what I mean.

  149. Tiffany says

    PK kids definitely should not be held to a higher standard than any other child in the church, BUT this discussion is missing the most important backing that any talk about things church related should have. The Bible. What does God have to say. In 1Timothy 3:4 it says that the qualifications of a bishop is
    “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;”
    As I understand it if a pastor has unruly children it disqualifies him from that position. If their parents negect to do as Proverbs 22:6 instructs us, it is not a child’s fault. It will simply give them problems later in life.
    “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

  150. Emily says

    When a church hires the pastor he hires the man not the family. The children DO NOT have to go to EVERY SINGLE activity that happens at the church. The do not have to participate in every play, work day and party that takes place. These kids may not always be interested in that activity, but they may be the next time. Give them room to breath and grow in the Spirit of God not the rituals of church.

  151. Kelly says

    My husband is a pastor and we have 2 teenage boys. We pastor a small rural church, our congregation is small and all over the age of 50. The thing that gets me is when something physically needs done at the church (shoveling snow, moving furniture, cleaning up, cutting the grass, etc.) our boys are expected to do it (I have heard people say ‘they have teenagers, they can do it’). Just because they are PK doesn’t mean they are free labor. Don’t get me wrong, they help out and do a lot of these things and more, but if you don’t expect ALL the kids of the church to do this stuff, then don’t expect mine to do it just because they are the pastors kids.

  152. Paul Parker says

    I am the son of a preacher man. This glass house that’s been spoken of, has caused so many pastors kids to fall to the wayside. My father told me after I was grown; that he was given some sage advice…never let your church come before your family. My father is a good man and was a great father. All the things I saw caused me to fall out of church for a very long time…I knew too much about what real was. I can spot a fake “Christian,” a mile off. I learned this skill as a defensive mechanism. I wrote this poem…maybe it will make sense to some of you.

  153. Paul Parker says

    “Dear Christian”
    Please stop hating me because of who I am,
    I’m not worthless and my life is not a sham.
    I am just a man, the same as you,
    the only thing different is I don’t have my name on my pew.
    I would like to go to church each Sunday, I would like to go to sing and pray.
    But, I stay at home to protect my child, from your self righteous and hypocrite ways.
    All my life I have been in church,
    I have watched you “Christians” treat my preacher dad like a lurch.
    I have seen you for what you are,
    so I’ll just stay where it’s safe …afar.
    You say you are saved and washed by the Lamb,
    when in truth your a Con, running a scam.
    When the Judgment comes and you stand before God,
    in the name of your faith, how many people will you have trod?
    I assure you this one thing is true,
    being a so called “Christian” no new souls will you accrue.
    I have seen a few Christians in my life,
    a Christian will not judge me for my strife.
    A Christian will not speak ill of me to their family or friends,
    a TRUE Christian will love me until the end.
    So take this lesson to the grave,
    if your a “Christian” you need to get saved.

    ~Paul Parker ’11

    • Heidi says

      I couldn’t agree more about keeping my kids home to protect them from church. I’d never let those people around mine after all I’ve experienced

  154. Steve says

    “My internal emotional reaction was carnal. I’m just glad I held my tongue. I was really mad. ”

    I wish you had said something. Not something sinful or rude, but I wish you’d made it clear to that deacon that his attitude toward your child was unacceptable. Your kids, and your spouse, need to see you defend them from the unrealistic and unBiblical expectations that some church members put on them.

  155. beth moore says

    I am a PK. I experienced the pressure of having to be, do, say, respond, and behave in such a way as to not to embarrass my parents. While all children experience this to some degree, living in the glass house of the church seemed to put us on display and added to the pressure of never making a mistake. I vowed never to marry a minster and I didn’t. I think my Dad understood to a degree because, as a 7th grader who was not allowed to go to school dances, Dad went to the school administration with the request of calling the junior high Christmas dance a Christmas Party thus allowing me to attend an important (to a 13 year old) school event like to other children. PKs share their parents with the world like doctors’, school teachers’. and first responders’ kids. That’s okay, it’s the way things are. We all have tough things in our “raising” experience. Your pastor’s children deserve the same love and support that all children need, and please don’t give them special treatment or allow them to get away with things just because of who their parents are. Thanks for this.

  156. Jennifer Funchess says

    Im a preacher’s daughter my two sisters my brother grew up in a fundamental Independent Baptist Bible believing background . I can truly say because of the congregation in my dads church I now do not go to church at all. As a Preacher’s Kid it was hard to live up to everybody’s expectations in life. The reputation that a preacher’s kid is always going to rebel and do things that are against their parents are not always true people read into things way too much. When I became of age and actually realize what was right and what was wrong and not what everybody was feeding me all the time I grew up I did exactly what I wanted to do and I have no regrets none. Preacher kids are like regular kids we all have a sin nature we all do things that are wrong we are not perfect.

    • Elizabeth says

      True Jennifer, but why punish God for people’s misbehavior? He wants us to go to church & worship & develop a close relationship with Him. Find another church, one that makes you feel free to worship without judgement. They are out there; not all churches behave in this way. Also remember, like you said, we are all humans & make mistakes; don’t shelter your kids to the point that they will not know how to deal with life struggles & challenges. And don’t shelter them from God. Remember that we are all sinners & come short of the glory of God! If God was to say the heck with those sinners, i no longer want anything else to do with them, what would be of us? Just a thought, think about it, don’t let the devil use people to steal the joy from you & stop you from developing a strong relationship with God. God bless!

  157. Cristie Wagner says

    I am a pastors wife and have been for 20 plus years. As the pastors children enter teen years the church people should never assume they are Christians and hold them to that standard. Treat them as Jesus would loving kind and compassionate! They deal with so much and it’s not easy to be a teen and under a microscope! Also if the membership sees a problem with the pastors child they should never take it on themselves to parent those kids they have parents…and if you wouldn’t go inform anyone else within the church of a perceived problem then don’t bother with the pastors kids they are just like any other teen. They may even be unsaved and therefore your unkind rude comments could push them away from Christ!

  158. Melinda says

    I always grew up with the “wild” label, even though I wasn’t. It was just assumed that PK’s would be wild and rebel. That becomes an expectation, and not a good one. In my teens I felt like I got a pass on rebellious sins because it was expected of me. It wasn’t until after that I realized my relationship with God is my own, it makes no difference who my Dad is. Each kid, no matter what his/her dad does, is an individual. His/her own person. Treat your PK’s with grace, and then more grace!

  159. Sharon Martin says

    I am a PK. I have see the very nasty side of church members. My parents were the ones who expected their children to behave like role models and better than most grown ups I know. Once I was old enough to get away from the “church” I did. I almost never attend church. I feel that I went enough in in childhood to average it all out to at lease two services a week for the remainder of my life.

    I was a kid. I did not ASK to be born into a pastor’s family and I hated it! I was harassed and bulled daily in 7th grade because one of our church deacons was on the school board and there was a new comer to our area that was teacher and principal and he bullied me and when my mother took it to the school board, the church deacon sided with the persecutor. I will never forget the betrayal I felt. Mostly what people need to know is we did not sign up for this, we have a worse life than you can ever imagine and you need to give us a break! Even the grown PKs. We need a break! Thanks for reading my rant.

  160. RENA says

    Bring them up in the ways of the Lord and they shall never depart from it.
    The ways of The Lord are, Love, gentleness, patience. Jesus suffer the little children to come
    Unto me, he knew they were children.
    If you restrict the m from being children they will rebel.
    I was lucky and had great church leaders to guide me when I was a teen, as a child I did not like church
    Because the way adults treated children. The last thing I ever wanted to do when I grew up was go to church
    Or raise my children in that place where all the old grouchy people were.
    Once again I say thank god for the adults that were in my life as a teenager because they changed my thinking.
    I have raised my children in a wonderful church and today they are awesome chritian adults.
    Ease up on kids PKU or not, they are our church of today and our future.

  161. says

    Loved reading all of these comments – and was excited about the blog. My father has been the pastor of the same church for 38 years. I agree with all 7 points and could add tons more. I have experienced all of the stress and pressures that are associated with being a “PK”. At the same time, I had a front row seat and experienced amazing things being under the ministry roof. My parents taught me to love God and to love people. They taught me hospitality and compassion. I think the main thing I would like to emphasize is the importance of Pastors spending downtime with their kids and setting boundaries with the church people. The stress and pressure does not go away as I age. In fact, I feel more stress now that he has had to slow down due to age and sickness. The worry has now shifted to exit strategies and the family’s role when he can no longer pastor. There is no prouder feeling than when people stop us all over town and either thank him for something he did for their family, visiting them in the hospital, or, most importantly, leading them to The Lord. I was not “called” into the ministry – I was born into it. Thank you for this blog topic. Pastor’s kids definitely need support groups!

  162. David L says

    I don’t know if anyone is still reading because of the plethora of comments, but if I might add this last one. “Please don’t give my child absolute attention over others in the church. I would hate for anyone to get the impression that our family is always first and the most important. We appreciate the encouragement and love though. Could be good intentions there, but often abused.”

  163. Hannah says

    I would like to thank you for writing this. I am a pastors kid and have had conversations with my pastor parents about this very subject. I also really appreciate the fact that you said not to label pastors kids as pk’s.

  164. says

    Our experience has been the opposite of the post. People, especially youth leaders, wouldn’t offer our kids the same ministry care just because, “they are the preachers kids. They are fine.” They are good kids and work hard to be faithful, but what we do affects our kids. What is my teenager supposed to think when he hears his youth director recruiting youth to come to church and vote against their dad?
    I think preachers kids have a harder time than other kids in church and they are taken for granted much of the time.

  165. Sarah Case says

    Understand that many Pastor’s kids struggle with knowing how to be genuine. Even under the best of circumstances, they are in the sight of everyone all the time, and feel they have a role to fulfill. Even when they want to do serve God, doing even the most basic things without trying please people, just trying to please God, can be incredibly hard. You can make a huge difference if they feel that you love them unconditionally.

    Also understand that many of them have seen people they love betray their parents, some have taken it personally, and it can be hard for them to trust you. Don’t take this personally. If you are faithful, and pray for them, God can use you to be a great blessing to them.

  166. Reesa says

    As pastors, we are human just as our children are human. We have priorities and protecting our children is high on that list. We let our children know that they came first, even before the church. Some of you may not agree with this, but just realize that God made the family before there was ever a church. When we took a pastorate, we made it abundantly clear that our children were not hired along with us, and answered to us alone. We asked parents and grandparents if they would want their children and grandchildren treated the way pastor’s children had been treated in the past. Of course they said no. It really helped to open their eyes and helps them to see your children as just other kids. Boundaries have to be set at the very beginning. If the church body knows this is all done with a heart of love, then you will have a healthy relationship.

  167. tim says

    Parents are called; children are placed. My parents served for 30 years in a rescue mission where dad worked 24/7 trying to win men to the Lord. When i went off 600 miles to a small bible college, i realized my parents had their own ministry. For a long time i had very negative feelings about dad working so much; he was never around for me. I had a revelation one day, What doeth it profit a man if he win the whole world, and loose he own children…so i quit. I’ve worked 3 jobs..all in secular business; the last 15 years in retail. But when i come home, my wife & children get ALL my attention. Dad had a great ministry, but i was ONLY placed in that place.

  168. says

    I grew up Jewish in a very orthodox synagogue. I became a Christian 12 days after I married and 50 weeks later so did my Jewish wife. I was called to ministry after we had our 3 boys. I have served as a missionary visiting churches to fill pulpits to promote our work. Our kids were boys who had ants in their pants. It was hard. We have a developmentally disabled son who always posed challenges. Despite the constant criticism we received for any perceived misdemeanour our boys accepted Messiah as saviour. Two are now married to believers. That all 3 came out the other side as I call it still following The Lord is a testimony to God, not me, my wife and certainly not some, a small handful of some, who tore us up instead of building us up today I pastor a church plant. My disabled son is with us still hecis accepted. We survived. Lord willing others will as well!

  169. Rhonda says

    Parishioners aught to remember that Pastors are human too and they do make mistakes. You know what the saying is “Don’t judge someone till you have walked a mile in their shoes” I am learning that.

  170. Tracy says

    Thanks for posting this! I am a “pk”, & it was hard growing up. Even as a wife of 20 years with 5 children of my own, I’m still held to a different, higher standard. It’s hard to get people to understand that my dad was called to the ministry, not me; I’m a Christian looking to him for guidance just like everyone else.

  171. Cyndi Blackwell says

    These same principles can hold true for the pastor’s wife. I’ve lived in a glass house for 30+ years, with many unrealistic expectations placed on me. As my years in the ministry and my age has advanced, I’ve gotten bolder and more assertive. However, some church members can still get my goat!

  172. Jared says

    Growing up as a PK was its own special kind of hell. Sometimes I’m surprised myself and my siblings didn’t come out of the whole thing hating church. I did have a few years where I stopped going to church because of this, but I’m thankful God wasn’t done with me. God used my experiences to better equip me for my current position- working with students. But I did have to leave my dad’s church before I could step out of that shadow and really do anything for God.

  173. Lisa says

    By the same token, the staff’s children should not be “off limits” to correction. If they are out of line, they are out of line. That does not mean they should not “play” and they should always be “serious” and “perfect”. It does mean that if a member sees something going on with them, they should not be afraid to speak lovingly to the parents, like they would to ANY OTHER MEMBER. And the staff should not assume their kids would never do (fill in the blank). They can and they will … because they are KIDS. And kids do stupid, immature things. They also do amazing things. And just as we would talk to any parent about their child’s misbehaviour, we should also BRAG on those children, both “staff” kids and every kid… parents often hear only bad things, and not good things. Even Pastor’s kids do good, believe it or not.

  174. Linda says

    It has always bothered me that people, including the minister, their spouses and children, address the spouses and children of the minister as the Preacher’s Wife or the Preacher’s Kids. They are the wife of the minister or children of the minister. They belong to God and not owned by the Preacher.

  175. Nathan says

    So many people in church’s put more pressure on the pastor’s children than they should. It isn’t the fault of the children that their dad or mom were called into full time ministry. I have a son who was very inquisitive when he was young, and still is. I remember a deacon coming up to me in front of several other people and chewed on me because my son had just lowered the flag and as quickly raised it again. I’m not sure why church people especially those who are Deacons/Elders require more of the pastors’ children than their own. As I recall the deacon who chewed on me about my own child had no children in church. I agree there need to be some boundaries but don’t place impossible boundaries on our children especially when they are young and don’t expect more out of the PK’s than other children in the church.

  176. Juanita says

    The Scripture does teach, if you desire this office, you must be a husband tone (1) wife. One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. 1 Timothy 3rd chapter. For if a man know not how to rule his own house , how shall he take care of the house o God?
    We can not leave scripture out when deciding matters of Bishops, Pastors, and Deacons. We check the Word in all situations. The Word is of no private interpretation.

  177. Shelley says

    As a pastors daughter and now the wife of someone who works in ministry and I myself work for a youth pastor. My husband and I have 2 beautiful grown daughters. I would add, as our beautiful babies grow up. And become teens, ALLOW them to rebel just like every other teen. That’s all.

  178. Thom Rainer says

    All –
    I’m really enjoying your discussion. I think I have approved every comment that has been made. But we have now had two comments on the pastor gender issue, one from each perspective. I have seen some of my other posts detoured with this debate. I am respectfully requesting you stay on topic — pastor’s children. Thank you.

  179. Brent says

    Not sure this was mentioned, but as a pastor’s child I encountered this. Treat a child’s mother WELL. Nothing will hurt a child’s view of the church more than their mother being ostracized, treated poorly, etc. The glass house thing goes for the whole family and being a minister’s wife is probably the hardest of all the roles.

  180. Charles says

    I grew up in a pastors’ home under a father that ministered for 50 years….. now all my siblings are serving the Lord faithfully in their God given areas of work, and church involvement. Wanna know what was the key to this? We observed of both our parents behind closed doors at home EXACTLY what was observed in public behind the pulpit! That’s what did it!

  181. ABBY says

    There are very few parents in this world who have to bring their kiddos to their job every week. One thing that I find very troubling is the number of adults who are ready to judge PKs when it’s obvious that the pastor is BUSY doing their job. Often times the spouse also has a job to do in the church as well and has to juggle the job of kid watching/ serving. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we as church members volunteered to help watch the kids so pastors can get back to focusing on the Sunday service and congregation? I guess that is similar to the idea of encouraging those PKs.

  182. says

    A letter my 34-year-old PK son wrote his father this past Father’s Day:

    Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for taking me to San Antonio when you recorded the last Dietz Brothers album. I gained your passion for music on that trip. Thank you for renting scooters in Red River and taking the difficult road to Goose Lake. You showed me adventure and that risk leads to reward. Thank you for always taking others in to our home and loving them like you loved me. You showed me not to be self-centered, but love selflessly. Thank you for your endless friendships growing up, like the Griffins, the Coffmans, the Forrests, the Chavez, the Hattons and so many others who not only went to church, but lived passionately for Jesus. You showed me that iron sharpens iron and that passion must be stirred up to remain alive. The most important life-lesson you taught me was at the age of ten, when you pulled me aside in the church hall after someone else had scolded me for running and they told me I needed to make a good impression for my father. You sought me out and simply told me then, “I make my own reputation, and you will never affect it by what you do. You will make your reputation by who you are. Don’t worry about how it will hurt me, because it can’t.” In that moment, you gave me identity, freedom and permission. I love you for it all.”

  183. Heather B says

    First I would like to say I like this article.
    I grew up as a pastors kid and all 7 are very true. Everytime I would introduce myself (even still as an adult) and tell who my dad was or that I am a Pk I would get the same response (ohhhh you most be bad or naughty you are a PK!?!?)
    “Yes I am a PK but I’m not any worse than your kids I am just expected to be better!”
    I would like to add that
    1)pastors kids are not teachers or guides for other peoples children.
    2) as a church member or church goer do not scoff when a PK says they can not do or go somewhere because it’s a rule and they are not allowed to participate all you do is cause strife and confusion in that child’s mind.

  184. Larry Casper says

    My response is simple…. Just because they’re Pastor’s children don’t make them any different than any other child. They have their own names & personality’s.

  185. Justin says

    Teachers and Church leaders need to always make sure to give PKs the same attention in the SS class and youth group as all other children. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because they belong to the pastor that all their spiritual needs are met and it just automatically clicks in their little minds. Hold them to same standards and give them the same attention!

  186. Steve Everett says

    Don’t expect my kid to know the Bible and Bible stories any more/better than any other kid their same age in SS or youth group.

  187. Stephanie says

    Don’t take advantage of teen pk’s. They often get overused by other church members for babysitting, cleaning services, etc, without being paid fairly for how good a job they did. Or they just automatically get forced into doing something they don’t wanna do or don’t know how to do, just because they are a pk, and the members expect them to serve their every need like they expect the Pastor to do.

  188. Debra dougan says

    I would add as a adult PK….we never had a vacation I could remember when my dad did not get called back early so we had to cut our well deserved and very much needed vacation short. Some our vacations even got cancelled due to something happening with the church. As a child I always felt like our family was way down the list of importance and as a teen I became bitter towards the church I hate to admit.

  189. angela wilson says

    Your article is on target and well-written. I would like to point out that not all pastors are men. The expectations placed upon a child should not be different because the child’s mother or father is a pastor.

  190. Kimberly Blake says

    I am a “PW” and have two girls. They have experienced all 7 in two churches we served in previously. They would say we were goldfish in a fish bowl. I knew we were being called to the right church when my youngest daughter (3 yrs old) decided at our trial weekend meet and greet that she wanted to be a snake and slither on the floor. I was mortified and was trying my hardest to keep my cool and try to coax her to get up. Several of the middle age to senior adults told me to let her be because she was just being herself. It was in that moment I knew this church would LOVE my girls just like they did all the other children in the church. We are three years in and nothing has changed. My girls get to blend in just like they should!

  191. Skydog says

    What’s up with #4? It’s kinda hard to get anybody to take you serious on that one, when you just used the term four times in seven questions in reference to pastors’ children.

  192. Suzie says

    I’m a PK. To other PKs I would add, don’t let treatment of church members or what you end up knowing about them give you an excuse to rebel, act offended, or act like you are owed more because you feel ‘mistreated’. You are still as responsible to God as any other kid, no more, but certainly no less.

  193. Martha (Marty) Hulgan Harrelson says

    Wow. A lot of debate here. Kinda like being at a church business meeting. I have to admit I still have anxiety when walking into a church, still remembering how it felt to grow up with every word, piece of clothing, or activity fair game for debate. I can still remember walking in, hearing a woman say to another, “That’s the preacher’s daughter.” My dad was one of the good ones. It was like living with a Billy Graham type. He lived his life faithfully to his calling and, yes, at times the family took a back seat. A few years ago, though, I was reunited with a high school friend, and one of the first things she said to me was. “I’ll never forget how kind your father was to me when my dad died. I was young, and he took me aside, sat down with me, and answered all my questions.” Not many people can say that their parent left that kind of permanent impression on a friend. I have my issues today, mostly because I’ve seen the judgment many church members deal out in the name of Christianity. I choose to follow my Dad’s, and Jesus’ example of love that has been shown to me over and over. When my father died in 2012, my friend was there, and I watched as she walked to the casket, and whispered her thanks. Yesterday, that friend died from a brain hemorrhage, at age 54. I’m sure she knows the gift she gave me of her friendship, and also the gift of remembering that the job my father did really mattered to individuals, not just to a congregation.

  194. Claire says

    I almost skipped over this article, but I’m so glad I didn’t! I grew up as a preacher’s kid and then my dad was called to be a missionary. I feel like that was a double whammy for me. People in the church always treated me differently because of who my dad was and what he did. He came home after I went to sleep most nights and missed out on plenty of family things because of how much time the church required of him. The last point of the article said, “Too many PKs have grown up bitter and disillusioned about the church. Dad gave more attention to church members than his own children.” I fully agree and it was almost a relief to see that I’m not alone in feeling that way. I’m 25 and married and my husband works at our church. He does video production and IT, but we are both noticing how much time it takes away from our personal time. I do my best not to be bitter about it, but I’m still bitter about how much time was taken away from me and my dad. PK’s need one-on-one time with their dads and the church doesn’t respect that. My dad and my husband are not on call 24/7. That’s the most frustrating part.

  195. merry says

    Sorry, but I co not agree with some of the things in this article. I have never minded being a PK, In fact I am and was always very proud of it. My Mother and my Grandfather were also PKs. We were not held to a different standard because of what our father did, but held to the standards of our parents, which was more than likely higher than our church members would hold us.. If we were ever ridiculed or belittled by being called PK we did not know it, maybe because we held out heads up high and were proud of who we were, and proud of what our Dad’s profession was. I still am and I still call my self a PK, even though I am a great grandmother. I am a preacher’s kid, just like a teacher’s child is a teacher’s child and doctor’s child is a doctor’s child. Why should I hang my head over being called by the title of PK, a title that I hold in respect.? And we NEVER felt neglected! Dad was doing the job he was called to do.

  196. Wendy Stotts says

    About ten years into my husband’s ministry and six years after our first child was born, God freed me from the bondage of worrying about what the church thought of my children — He vividly showed me that it didn’t matter. Only what He thought of them mattered and He loves them more than my husband and I do. Praise Him!

  197. Becky Dietz says

    I saw this as a post on Facebook and followed it here last night–I even posted a letter my son wrote to his dad. But then I stayed up until 1 a.m. reading all of the responses and went to bed crying. My husband has been an associate pastor for 32 years–while our children were growing up. I know they faced critical people in the church and heard things I wish they’d never heard. And I had to defend my position as a parent more than once. But for the most part, they were loved and accepted with little expectations. They were treated like the other kids in the church. I grieve over the responses of minister’s kids who have been hurt…to the point of even leaving the church. That response alone says we’ve done something wrong. Are we more concerned over a building than a little person’s life? His future? His spiritual, emotional and mental health? Are we more concerned about disciplining him than encouraging him, loving on him, mentoring him? Are we just concerned about being RIGHT? It’s a BUILDING. The church is made up of PEOPLE. And we have a responsibility to these little people who belong to you and me. Young people who need to be loved into the kingdom. If I’m not mistaken, Jesus told us the two greatest things we can do is love God and love people. If we don’t do that…we soon won’t have to worry about kids running in the church. I’m just very, very sad more minister’s children don’t have a happy memory of church. My heart hurts. God bless each of you who have been wounded. May God heal those wounds.

  198. Godwin Dixon says

    Agree with the list. Both my parents were clergy and did a good job of letting us be kids but there were church members who made it tough. If you want a sense for the hurt and problems that churches can cause for PK’s, check out some of the more painful posts in the facebook group “you might be a preachers kid if…”.

    Thanks for writing this!

  199. Tracey Hammett says

    Wow! He hit the nail on the head. Too bad this technology wasn’t around in the 60’s to spread the word. Especially the last one. Fathers and no mothers that are pastors need to be role models to their congregation. The family needs to come before the needs of the meetings, this that and the other. I firmly believe if my father had shown me that if I was just as important as the parish, I would have made better decisions because I would have had a higher self-esteem. Social science today states that the nuclear family.

  200. brandon jackson says

    I want to say i am a pastors kid and i wish someone would have told my church this when i was a kid

  201. Nate says

    Great points! My $.02

    Guilty and Disappointing. Those are the words that summarize what it felt like (to me) to be a PK. “You should know better” is the phrase I heard and felt defined my life growing up. Rather than beating themselves up about being a disappointment I think many PKs just end up leaving the church.

    I don’t, however, feel this is just a reflection of how PKs are treated. I think the PK gets a concentrated dose of a larger problem in the church – everybody’s too concerned about another persons’s sin. If we spent the attention on policing our own issues I think the PKs would get some relief. :)

  202. Jennifer says

    Not everyone has the right to speak into your kids life. As a pastors wife we always told our kids to respect others but that does not mean you have to accept what they say to you. My husband has always been very vocal from the pulpit that our kids are the same as any other kids and don’t put expectations on them. He also probably warded off some people addressing our kids because he put our expectations from the church with our family up front. God called him to his relationship with Him first, our family second and then the church. How can we expect our congregation know how to prioritize if we are not the examples.

  203. Alex Lysdahl says

    Not all pastor’s kids are defined by their father’s vocation, some are defined by their MOTHER’S! Pastor does not equal a male, let’s remember that. Being a woman in seminary has made me aware of all sorts of challenges that will come up when I am in ministry and am the reason my kids are “PK”s.

  204. Neal Gaylor says

    Sounds like that deacon is a legalistic jacka$$. Trouble is, most “christians” don’t understand legalism is a sin!

  205. Noelle Liner Donaldson says

    I must brag on the members of the 3 churches my dad was pastor to…..they were good to me and my brother. I only have ONE negative memory of a church member being unkind to me. And as for number 7, I know without a doubt, he would have choosen ME!

  206. Esther Ramirez says

    Hello, I am a pastor’s daughter, currently 16 years old. My parents have been in the ministry for about 5 years. Thanks to God, my sister, brother, and I have been raised in church since birth and my parents have taught us well. Something I have noticed specifically about “PKs” is that they tend to be the most rebellious. Yes, we are human and just like everyone else there should always be correct discipline. I may be wrong but I feel as if most pks tend to be that way because they are always on the spotlight, people judging. Also we have to give up a lot of the things like our time to the church although I know I give it and do for God. Despite all of that I think there is a key to reduce the rebelliousness (if that is a word) and I think that a pastor and his wife should always dedicate a separate time for the family. Sometimes issues or normal things can add stress and tension. For teenagers it may be difficult to understand. As long as you dedicate time for your children, it will help a lot. Also recognizing that at home you are mom and dad… AND at church you are pastors. Also what helped me is that my parents never made it about religion but rather a relationship with God. The “pk” will learn to appreciate God’s wonders by allowing them to grow that relationship with God rather than just shoving it in their mouths. I am giving this testimony by experience because that is what my parents did for my siblings and I and for that reason is why I am the person I am today. Yes, like all teenagers I will sin and do things that I should not but I feel like I have a commitment with God and not christianity. Besides, how can you pasture a church when you are not doing well with your family. Themministry starts at home… not in a temple. I hope this has helped. Coming from a teenage girl who is still learning and growing.

  207. Tonya says

    Our children were born into my husband’s ministry, but we’ve been very careful to ensure that those around us clearly understand that that is his calling, not mine or our children. We don’t mind the reference of pk because it’s the position they hold, not who they are. It’s my husband and I responsibility to raise them to be well mannered and respectful children. We are also responsible to guide them to become all that God had called them to be. We recognize that they will make their mistakes, just as we will make parenting mistakes and others should recognize this as well.

    When we support them as they pursue their interest or extracurricular activities, don’t judge us as parents and them as children because they show interest in something outside of church just like your own children, yet you feel that their/my every waking moment should be at the church. Remember, it’s their father/my husband’s calling.

    I do not profess to be an expert in this area. What I’ve seen in our home after 18 years of ministry and raising our teenage children to know that they have to develop their own relationship with God, that we inherently want to do right and if we listen to them, guide and support them, they will.

    Correct them when they do wrong. Encourage them when they do right. And never cease to lift them up in your prayers. At times ministry can be extremely challenging for the adults and children involved.

    Thank you and God bless.

  208. Music Girl says

    I agree with everything except – if you don’t mind being called a PK, it’s ok, too :) Just as my last name identifies me as a part of my father’s family, my perspective on being a PK was quite positive, unlike some. It’s a fact about me just like any other. A doctor’s son is not designated as a DS, but he might be proud of being the son of someone as accomplished as a doctor. If you are proud of your profession, your children will be proud of you. It’s all about taking back what has been a negative term and re-creating it into a positive. So many people said “PK” with love that the negative folks just don’t bother me.

  209. Thomas Jones says

    The problem with preacher kids starts when they have to play with Deacon’s Kids. I was a DK.
    I was very proud of the fact that my Dad was a Deacon and later became a Preacher myself ,my children didn’t seem to mind. They turned out very well and made me very proud .

  210. jefty baguio says

    My dad is a Pastor, and me too is a pastor now, but my older sister and brother are has a worse testimony… i like no 1, we can over expecting in PKs, but don’t under estemate…

  211. Eric Craven says

    I am so grateful for the church God has allowed me to serve in for the past 13 years as my three children have been treated with a ton of love and grace. I have at times had to ask people to be tougher on my kids! I pray that the love and grace of Christ will take hold of all of God’s church and people that all children are loved as He desires.

  212. Pastor Sherri Pifer says

    My husband Rock & I are both Pastors with 3 grown children. We have been served at the same church for over 20 yrs. 2 of 0ur children walked away from the church because they have seen how harshly we have been treated and the judging of them when they were younger. Our youngest son is 19 and still attends with us. Our middle child, which is our oldest son, even though he will not come to church, will allow us to bring his children. I continue to remind our people that these 2 precious children I bring are ages 6 & 11 and must allow them to be and act their ages. They are not “super spiritual” because we are their grandparents. They are children and want to be loved and accepted like every other child that walks through our doors. I’m praying my older children will re-connect with Jesus soon.

  213. says

    How about, “Don’t get angry if my children ask hard questions in Sunday school and won’t accept pat answers.” I am a pastor’s kid, and honestly, I just asked harder questions because I wanted to know more, since I was raised with the church as my entire life. It threw adults off, and they sometimes thought I was being disrespectful. Truthfully, I just really wanted to know more.

  214. Janice says

    I’m a little disappointed in the tone of some of the comments. So, I will keep mine short and simple. We are all sinners and fall short whether we are 8 or 80. Being raised a pastor’s kid, I saw the church with unique eyes. For every person who wanted me to be perfect, there were 50 who wanted me to be happy. We were wonderfully loved and blessed by the people in our church – even those who followed the children should be seen and not heard philosophy. At the church I attend, the congregation sees all the kids as belonging to all of us. If they hurt, we hurt. If they need loving correction, it is given – in that way – lovingly. Hearing their giggles and voices raised in praise – even off key – is a blessing. Just as no one expected perfection from me – we don’t expect it from them.

  215. says

    Have some time to spend with the Kids… Appreciate them….Discipline them as the same way we discipline the other children… Pastors Children are also equally privileged, responsible and given care as the other children in the church . Let there be a balance between Authority and fellowship with our children. Let the children know the priority and responsibility. Let them have balance between faith and commonsense.

  216. Kim says

    As a Preachers kid, I learned about the expectations of others at a very very young age. It has always made me hold myself to a higher standard. I understood my actions were and are a direct reflection of my dad, or so that is what is the belief of the members. I still hold to the standards of doing my best to not bring disgrace to his position. I know the expectations of others are not always fair, but I feel that if we do everything we can to bless our Fathers ministry we will be greatly rewarded for our efforts.

    • Thom Rainer says

      Thank you Kim. I guess I am reticent to post about my journey for fear the focus will be on me. Still, I realize that some people may be encouraged by my progress and struggles. I may say something occasionally.

    • Elizabeth says

      Excellent comment Kim! You do know that the Lord has revealed this to you because you have opened up your heart in a way that most Christians still struggle to do. Your comment is an example of true Christianity & compassion & above all maturity in the Lord.

  217. says

    I love those seven comments, because I remember feeling all of those feeling growing up with my Dad as Pastor! Now that I am a preacher.. I would just add to say, help PK’s develop their strengths along with all the kids in the church. Do not treat the PK any more special than any other kid. Every child deserves to grow in the gifting that God has given them. Develop all of the children the same: as far as give them all opportunities to open up and be themselves. Some kids believe that they are worthless because their gifting is not popular. But, we must let those children know that God chose them for a specific and special job. Love all, with no respect of person!

    Love in Christ,
    John C. McMahan

  218. Julie says

    Thom- Growing up in a Pastor’s home, I greatly appreciate this post. I’m now out of the home and in my mid-20s and recognize this role in leadership differently than others in my church. I think I’ll write a post that is titled “Seven Things Pastor’s Kids Would Like Church Members to Know about their Dad’s”. Thanks for the post!

  219. Madison says

    I am a pastor’s kid and 15. The worst thing is when people talk about my siblings and what they do that they should or should not have done. They say things in front of me even though they would never say them in front of my parents. It really bugs that they feel comfortable saying these things without ever even trying to figure out what is going on in their lives.

  220. Michael Fuller says

    One more that should be added…..
    8. Don’t make my kids “preach.” They say what pastor’s want to say but can’t.

  221. David says

    I grew up as an Missionary Kid with parents who took us on numerous short term missions around the world. I remember one day when my older brothers were being particularly more active outside playing football before evening worship service and one woman said that she expected the missionary kids to be more spiritual. This woman was married to the local ER doctor and her children were known to be less than ideal. My mother responded by saying “Do you expect your son to know how to respond to a crisis situation?” The woman immediately responded “No, he is just 15.” My mother said “My sons are 16, 12, and 8 and people expect them to know the Bible in and out because their parents serve as part-time missionaries. How is that a fair expectation.” From that day forward that woman was always a little more generous with grace toward my brothers and I.

  222. alohajai says

    These points are well taken. Absolutely we should pray for the children of pastors and be a family-friendly congregation that doesn’t make our pastors feel they have to choose between their spouse and children and congregants. However, my experience has been that the children of many of our leaders (including our pastors) are not well-behaved in many instances. And when I have tried to address it (hopefully gently) w/them I get told that my own kids are just “naturally good-natured” (I am the Family Life Pastor so my kids are pastor’s kids too). I don’t like the insinuation that somehow my husband and I had nothing to do w/shaping their obediencee and respect for those in authority over them, and care and compassion for their peers. It’s as if they are dismissing my plea to partner w/them to