Morgan Idleman on the Joys and Pains Pastor’s Kids Face

The idea of my children being “pastor’s kids” has always been a dreaded thought in the back of my mind. I’ve heard so many stories of PK’s, most of them more like nightmares. It’s not something any mother likes to think about- her children rejecting the Lord and turning from the Faith. And it seems PK’s wander at an extremely high rate. What’s a pastor and his wife to do? Hit their knees in prayer, that’s what. It’s our greatest defense and our only hope.

I’ll never forget, as we were drawing nearer to planting Westside, we visited a well-known church about an hour from our home to meet with the pastor and get counsel. As the service ended and we were waiting to be introduced, a couple of young kids in the seats ahead of us climbed right up and started running across the chairs. Their dad grabbed one with one arm and one with the other arm, looked around, and jokingly said, “Hey, who’s kids are these anyway?”

I’ll give you one guess who their dad was… yup, the pastor of the church. I’ll tell you, at that moment so many of my fears seemed to melt away. It was JUST what I needed to see and hear that day. It was such a glimpse of love, and joy, and grace in my mind. We’ve all seen kids run across the pews, and to know the PK’s did it and were treated like all the other kids who’d done it was, relieving.

Again, (and I fear you’ll think I’m exaggerating, or flat out lying, or making up a group of people who don’t really exist when I say this, because I said it a few times in Part One) but, our local congregation has been so supportive in this area. They truly love our kids and love on them week after week. It’s been a rare occasion when I’ve felt someone putting pressure on our children because of who their parents are. You have no idea HOW grateful I am for that.

However, at times we have had to un-apologetically remind people our kids are just like the other kids in Children’s Ministry. They are little sinners in need of grace. Little humans trying to figure out their way through life like the rest of us. Little souls who need Jesus just as much as anyone else. Just because the Lord called their dad to be a pastor, doesn’t mean they will be perfect. I think it can get confusing for them because the church is like their second home. They are comfortable there. And what does any kid do in a home they are comfortable in? They make themselves at home. So, they do find themselves doing things maybe other kids wouldn’t do at church, or they may find themselves rebelling because of the pressure they feel is put on them that they don’t know what to do with or how to handle.

They may not always be the best example among their peers. Do we aim for that? Absolutely! As all Christian parents should. But we are doing them a disservice if we put unrealistic expectations on them and make them feel they must ‘perform’. No one should have to come to church wearing a mask, pretending to be someone or something they are not. We all have the freedom to come as we are. Our kids, your kids, us as adults, we are all in this together and when we are allowed to be real and authentic, that is how true family is formed and how true change takes place.

It’s a training ground. I don’t mean that our kids should run amok and get away with whatever their hearts desire. Our ushers and teachers know they not only have our permission, but we expect that if one of the kids is out of line, they correct them, in love. The kids know when someone cares. They see it in the eyes and hear it in the voice. It’s rarely what we say, but how we say it.

Maybe you haven’t thought of it this way before, but ministry is a sacrifice for the pastor’s kids as well. PKs actually miss out on a lot. Various things for various reasons. One example in our home would be that our son has played Little League since he was four. It’s been manageable to an extent, however with the church growing and other ministries springing out of it, we are unable to keep up with that schedule at this point and he is not playing this season. We have also been approached by multiple travel ball teams who wanted him to pitch. Because those games are on weekends, we had to decline.

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Source: Christian Headlines