o the Pastor's Family...

Sometimes the life of a Pastor can be filled with drama, busy-ness, conflict, and disappointment. I say this not to complain because I signed on for this and the stuff not so good comes with the good. But at times I realize what impact this all has upon my family -- upon the family of any Pastor. The acquaintance with good means familiarity with the not so good. I cannot count the times that family plans have been interrupted by parish emergencies -- vacations post-poned, days off lost, family time with an absent dad. I do not complain about this and indeed count it a privilege to be part of their lives when those in my parish encounter the darkest of life's days. Now that my kids are pretty well grown, I am even more conscious of their sacrifice so that I could be there with others. Crunched schedules interrupted by emergencies often means that the family loses. I cannot count the times the ring of a phone or cell phone has changed everything that was going to happen that day or that week. If there is conflict, the family is caught up in it (defending their loved one and wounded in the cross fire). If there are parish struggles, the struggles follow the Pastor home at night and, whether openly discussed or hidden, they cast their long shadows over his home and family. If there are people in need, their needs seem always to be greater or more urgent than the needs of the family (whether this is real or a perception). I just wanted to take a moment to laud the real structure that supports every Pastor who is married -- the family. They are honest with him when no one else is. They are supportive of him when others are not. They encourage him even when it means they lose out on time with him. They ground him in life for His service to the Lord and to His Church. Even when tensions exist at home, this is a reminder to the Pastor that life is real land messy, that words slip out in the midst of anger, that actions can deliberately or inadvertently wound. As a Pastor I have learned from my family as much as I have learned from my parishes about these things. So kudos to the Pastor's family -- to wives who share their husbands with a mistress known as the Church and to children who share their dads with his second family. Kudos to the Pastor's family who ground him and his work upon the sturdy field of love, forgiveness, and sacrifice. Kudos to the Pastor's family who did not necessarily sign on for this but who have taken the bad with the good and still hang in there. Today as I approach the end of summer (school has begun and with it catechism class and a host of other seasonal parish activities), I lament the many things I had hoped to do over the summer -- most of which with my family -and I marvel again over their support and sacrifice that makes what I do possible. God bless you -- my wife and kids and the extended family so far away because this is where God has called me to serve. God bless you!

November 06, 2009

Pastor's Kids: living a life most people could never comprehend

sitting under my desk crying. shared how important it is to encourage PK's because in her words. There was once a mother who who was walking along pushing her baby in a stroller. and getting detention for yelling at him to stop bothering me. came to the platform to do a presentation for my husband and I and they asked our children to come to the platform. "oh no!" and the other man said. "Oh no is right! I feel sorry for that pit bull!" One thing is for sure. The children of this family went to the school I was good friends with the daughter but the son used to pick on me until I screamed or cried or both. and thankfully never made me do that again. ministry wives have an immense challenge in protecting their PK in the natural as life for the child of a minister is often so complicated. now age 23. Then when my father came along with a vision for change and growth and they didn't like that much. with grace. At this school and church one family was pretty much in charge of everything. But harm my kids. After that I vowed to NEVER go to a church school ever again. he knows that the greatest way to hurt a pastor is to hurt their kids! I can handle a lot of things in life. His grandmother was the principal of the school and never punished him for anything that he did to me. and having a few perks to offset the often challenging things they face. kill and destroy all of us. One man exclaimed to the other. She took it out on me.George Dearborn and his family. This past month during pastor appreciation one of our pastors -. First of all. protecting her cubs. I am like a Momma bear.Last month here at Survive and Thrive Ministry Wives I wrote about protecting our PK's (pastor's kids) from the enemy's assignment. We know that it is the goal of the enemy to steal. I remember coming home and crying. as most mothers are." Rebecca (affectionately known as Becca) shares the following about how PK's can be a target of mistreatment at the hands of unhappy parishoners: "There was a difficult situation at my Dad's first church that he pastored in New Hampshire where the pastor's children were required to attend the church's Christian school. This was mostly because of the problems she had with my father. Two men were off in the distance and saw this. I was in the third grade. In the pastorate. (John 10:10) however I believe he has a special assignment against PK's. PK's walk such a tightrope between needing to be treated as normal kids. You often hear admonitions for people in the church to "treat PK's as they would any other child" and indeed it is important to give them room to be themselves. Suddenly a pit bull appeared and ran up to the stroller and began barking and growling. They honored them with gifts and then the Dearborn's daughter Rebecca. and my mom agreed with me because of what I went through." . However at the same time it's important to give them some benefits or recognition to encourage them. This lady always accused me of all of this being my fault and she hated me simply because my Dad was a good pastor. and to just be kids. These are the things that often keep PK's going when the going gets tough. they are "often harshly judged and live life under a microscope. and it's not a pretty scene. mothers have a natural instinct to protect their children that sometimes borders on craziness.

In practically living there. People become envious of the smallest things. Playing tag and hide and go seek in the church as well as skating or biking in the parking lot were common. He was busily amusing himself while Larry and I worked.It is said that vocational ministry defies explanation to those living outside of it. She was also not employed there.if you owned a sandwich shop or even managed one. you aren't getting it either just because you're the pastor's son!" She snatched it away. Earlier. Larry and I have both worked there full time since they were all three born. when those other children left with their mother and went on to play at home or do other things. sometimes they hate it." The woman wouldn't hear of it and said. asked for a piece of paper out and started drawing. You might think a situation over a piece of paper is small but it's the principle of the thing that I want to get across. Sometimes they love it.. To illustrate in another way. if your child came to the shop and you gave them a piece of cheese to eat. Keep in mind. He gave it to me to draw on while I was waiting. The church is truly their second home and many times they probably felt like it was their first."if my children don't get a piece of paper. finding things to do while we worked. But for some reason. It can get old living at the church day after day. For instance. we try to make it fun and accentuate the positive. neither does he!" Keep in mind Jordan was quite young at this point and he was defenseless against this woman. they are able to do things other kids are not. Jealousy is another factor. What is different between a piece of paper and a piece of cheese? Nothing. a woman dropped by to do something at the church and she had her children with her. Sandwich shop owners/manager's children are . She said she did not have supplies on hand to give to all of the children. they were playing at the church while we worked. Jordan was upset (and rightfully so) but I didn't find out about this until the whole thing was over and the people were gone from the building that day. She wasn't spending most of her waking hours at the church. One summer day when the boys were little. Jordan had come into his Dad's office. "I am allowed to have a piece of paper from my Daddy's office. our children have "grown up in the church" . with little knowledge or regard for how much children have sacrificed for those blessings. This also extends to the offspring of pastors. You see. and closets full of toys. The fact that your kid is there and ate a piece of cheese would be no surprise to anyone nor would it be seen as inappropriate. in ministry things are different. If my kids don't get paper. You run the shop. put it in her purse and left with it. the woman in question was just "stopping by the church" for a brief time to do something and happened to have her children along. Suddenly some of the other children ran into the secretary's office and asked for paper and supplies to draw on.literally. would anyone be upset about it? No. They have their ups and downs. The children pay the price at times for people who are angry at decisions their parents have made. We had cribs in the church office. "It's not fair. He said.. my son was still waiting at the church. I nursed and diapered babies in between meetings and they've taken naps while I've counseled. The other children's mother angrily stepped in and grabbed Jordan's paper off of of the table where he was drawing and said. Like most parents. At one point during the day.

PK's must be released of unfair expectations by the congregation (after all." Why should a pastor's child have tohide their blessings because other kids might be jealous? It seems to me it would be a marvelous time for those parents to teach their children about the dangers of envy and jealousy. The pastor explained to them that his children had given up a considerable amount that their children never had to.not under a microscope nor are there any expectations to any great degree unless they are older and happen to work there. One parishoner was upset years ago and spoke to my husband and I about "keeping our children's blessings a secret from the other children in the church so that there would be no hurt feelings. However for pastor's kids the variables are enormous. in fact they would probably say. My own boys have faced these challenges and thankfully experienced breakthroughs and emotional healing at pastor's kids camps and retreats. Children are children and as such as still learning and growing in dealing with jealousies and other such negative emotions. Think about this . living in the limelight and being continually bestowed with blessings." Nobody would think a thing of it. reaching out to God and others for hope and healing." Again. to relate this back back to the comparison of the sandwich shop/manager's child . what blessings children of full time ministers receive in exchange for the burden they bear is quite small. "that's great that he/she has that benefit. Their children didn't have the phone ring non-stop at home for their parents. they didn't ask for this life nor sign up for it). A pastor friend of ours had some church members question the fact that his children played basketball in the church gym that was normally locked/off limits during non-service or event times. and it's important that they have a few blessings unique to . Their children didn't grow up in the "fishbowl" that is the ministry.would such a person go to great lengths to hide the fact that their child ate a piece of cheese? Of course not.if a child's parents owned a sub shop they would probably say to their friends. Their children did not have a vacation cut short because someone died and their parents had to come home and do a funeral. Just because minister's children have some additional blessings doesn't mean there should be unfair demands. I've never attended one of those but my children tell me they are filled with many crying children at the altar. What amazes me is when ADULTS who should know better become jealous of things PK's receive versus what their child gets. Their children did not wait long periods of time after services to go home because their parents had a line of people waiting to talk to them. or what they perceive is the glamorous life of the PK. the perk of playing in the gym or fellowship hall during "off times" was quite small in comparison. He explained that for all that his children had to deal with in their lives. interrupting their family time and often taking their attention away at times when the kids really wanted it or needed it. throughout their lifetime. often a cruel place when it should be a nurturing one. Some members also got upset that his kids played video games in the fellowship hall while the pastor was working. "I love that I can have sandwiches from my parents shop anytime I want to. The truth is. It's a cool part of them having this shop.

The cost of repeated situations like this in PK's lives can be tremendous. it would be favoritism. Pastor's wives. Sadly there are those who are just waiting for the PK to make a mistake because somehow they believe in their erroneous minds that it makes them or their child look better. Our children didn't sign up for ministry . That is just unconscionable to me that some people would actually think that." I'm sure some people will think that is petty and that it is ridiculous that a man is still upset about such thirty years later. He wanted to try along with all of the other kids to win the bunny. This always bugged me and 30 years later still does.we answered the call and thereby put them there. This man says the following: "[When I was growing up] if you were a pastor's kid or a child of the Sunday School Superintendent you were always disqualified from any real good incentives by the fine print of the contest to avoid any special treatment complaints. Now that they are there it's important that we watch out for them. For that sacrifice.them. we must be diligent watchwomen on the wall for our children both in the spirit and in the natural. Of course we know there's only one thing that makes this better -those folks getting to the altar and and being changed by God. it's important that we watch out for our kids and be there to correct injusticeswhen we see them. But in the meantime. it is nice to be rewarded once in a while. It helps them to see that there are actually some benefits to being PK's and it's not all sacrifice. We can't change them. Recently I encountered a man who is a PK and is still coming to grips with hurts from when he was a child and not only received no blessings for sacrifices made but dealt with a lot of injustice. It's so sad to say but there are those sick people in the church who actually love it when the pastor's kid screws up because then it makes them feel that their kids aren't so bad. while we are waiting for them to be changed. It's also helpful to explain to others that our children are in a unique and sometimes challenging situation that is helped by understanding a periodic blessings along the way. While they are "normal kids" they are not exactly the same as every other child in the church. He is dealing with the aftermath of an entire childhood filled with such injustices. as what they live with is often a yielding of their immediate desire for that of the church people. . Mothers in the faith. He recalls a situation 30 years ago when he the church his father pastored was having an evangelism/attendance contest and was giving an Easter bunny away to the child who brought the most visitors for Easter. only the Holy Spirit can. It encourages them that God's people love them and want to reach out to them in special ways. but they do. It's a shame that we should even have to speak of such an issue but it is reality to affect PK's for a LONG time. However keep in mind he isn't simply upset about an Easter bunny. and make sure they don't get swallowed up by the jealousy or envy of others who take opportunities to knock them down a peg or two whenever the opportunity presents itself. they can really affect our kids unless we keep an eye on the situation. or that they aren't such a bad parent. so much so that many walk away from the church and ultimately the Lord. but the church purposely excluded him. thinking that if the pastor's son won.

Yes.ca. Keep an eye on them and protect them as much as you can from the unfair treatment. I can’t think of a better way to “raise a child in the way they should go” than to be raised in a healthy and vibrant Christian community. "She keeps an eye on everyone in her household. have had the profound blessing to be raised in the context of such an environment within the body of believers who took a genuine concern and responsibility for my spiritual life.. For example.expectations and jealousy of others. When I was seven. now at age 24. And intentional. remember that few understand or comprehend the life your children live. Church has been and will always be my family and a place where I can find encouragement. But our pastor's kids ARE serving the Lord. I learned about a God of mercy and love who sacrificed His only Son Jesus to save me from the penalty of my sin. http://www." Of the Proverbs 31 woman. Are you a pastor's child? Share your stories and thoughts at churches@fotf. it was in church that I was guided through the Bible stories of people who obeyed God and experienced blessing. and those who disobeyed and suffered the consequences. or those who had pastor dads who held impossibly high expectations.. As a young boy.ca/pastors/pastors/growing-up-as-a-pastors-kid Often. I myself. share their perspectives on this experience and what it meant to have a dad who was a church leader. Most importantly." Indeed. it was in a Sunday school classroom that I made the decision to invite Jesus into my heart and apologize to God for the bad things I had . now grown adults. people perceive the concept of growing up in a pastor’s home in a generally negative way. Growing up as a pastor's kid What is it like to grow up in the home of a pastor? Two children. Pastor's wives.focusonthefamily.Last month Pastor George's wife Irene closed the time of sharing about our children by saying something to this effect: "Due to these kind of things in their lives [that Becca described]. I am very thankful. many PK's do not end up serving the Lord. the message Bible says. And for this we are very thankful. they have Jesus but you are "Jesus with skin on. support and spiritual nutrition in my walk with Jesus. You are their advocate here on earth. Thankfully. you’ve probably heard stories of children who had a distant. preoccupied pastor father. this has not been my experience as a pastor’s kid." (Verse 17) Take up your role as nurturer and protector of those God has entrusted to you.

done. I felt so connected and felt as though God was using me in a small way to benefit those in my church family. God was using me. But. I was able to watch mom and dad as they served those in our church and loved on them by inviting them into our home. I often find myself going back to some of the conversations we had. For example. I knew everyone in our church. speak into my life about God. When looking for a job. I thought I was being lectured with one of those “mini sermons. God used these experiences to really grow in me a heart for people and for servanthood. It wasn't just my dad that God was using. After I graduated from high school and got involved in missions. church members stepped in and taught me their trades. looking back. This and countless other instances of direct church involvement have marked my life in a significant way. I am deeply grateful to have been raised as a pastor’s kid within the community of the church and can confidently testify to God’s active grace in using the church to raise up and edify its people. I do admit there were times when. He also used the lives of other church members to speak deeply into my life and help me develop my faith journey. the church prayerfully and financially supported me. including my mom and dad. I don't think I really knew how much God was using it to bless my life and grow me into the woman I am today. when I took an interest in music. the more I deeply appreciated hearing a variety of people. I can remember all of their names. it was a church member who gave me a guitar and taught me not only how to play skillfully but to do it to the glory of God. The body of Christ was truly a community around me while I was growing up. I can’t imagine whe re I would be in my faith journey without the constant involvement of committed people that gave so much to me. By Jeremy MacDonald Growing up as a pastor’s kid didn't always feel like an amazing experience at the time. The value of time together with people really impacted my life. I would watch every week as my parents opened our home to invite people in for a meal or for Bible study. as a pastor’s kid. too. as an adult with my own family. Now. By Jodie Lemke . I thank God for the opportunity to be a pastor’s kid. and I developed a true sense of community amongst the members of our church and was able to experience what a church family really looked and felt like.” You know the ones I mean! But the older I got.

html For 26 years I have been a PK (PK= Pastor’s Kid). It appears to me everyone is born with the same “me-myself-and I” mentality. my dad would hear about it and would have to deal with our mishaps. Our actions affected him and my mother. Through the years I got an inside look into ministry and took lots of notes during the journey. So even though we are all guilty of living selfishly. Actions Affect More Than Yourself. So here are some lessons I learned from being a PK: 1. It is like we are the stars of our own show and everyone else are just extras. Being a PK made it loud and clear this life is not to be lived selfishly. I learned when I only think about myself.com/pastors/pastor-articles/164018-sarah-weber-honest-thoughts-life-pastors-kid.My Life as a Pastor's Kid Honest Thoughts on Life as a Pastor’s Kid http://www. run around the church or play pranks on other church members.churchleaders. the consequences tend to trickle out to other people in my life. When myself or my siblings would sneak into the baptismal pool. I have watched my dad closely over the years as he has moved from youth pastor to church planter to senior pastor. People Watch and Wait for Failure. . 2.

I’d help carpool students to events. But Christ is bigger than our sins. Some of the things that happened to my family gave me (and all my siblings) a legitimate reason to hate the church and Christians. My family went though some rough times when I was in junior high. As a church body we should always love each other. Christ is bigger than church splits and rumors. 3. Encourage your children with the Word.In high school I was really involved in our church’s youth group. And they wait and hope for the moments when we fail. 2. Turns out. because we never know who is watching us and how we may unintentionally harm the image of Christ. Be wise in your decisions because your children are watching you ever so closely. in my sweet Ford Probe. Like things that families should never be put through by other members of the church body. One day. The mom looked out the window and saw the white stick coming out of my mouth and assumed I was smoking and gave my dad a call. My dad did this through the entire time I lived at home and that time together was priceless. But when other Christians fail us or hurt us. I wasn’t angry at that mom. Make time daily to pray with your children. I became familiar with church splits. 3. we must choose to forgive. At a young age I learned the importance of forgiveness as I watched my parents walk through forgiving their transgressors. I dropped a younger girl off at her house. But many moments after that in my life taught me the world is watching us a Christians. Anytime there was a youth event I was there. Really? Me smoke? I’m 17 and at a youth event. I was eating an apple caramel lollipop when I had dropped the young girl off. angry deacons and other things at the tender ages of 11-13. More often than not. I could list off many more lessons but for the sake of your time I’ll stop here. Not two minutes later did I get a phone call from my dad asking me if I was smoking in my car. Final thoughts for Pastors: 1. Christians Need Forgiveness. . As Christians we must live above reproach.

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