“Preachers’ kids are the worst kind . . .”
How many times have you heard that, fellow PKs? Well, I contend—as would my sister—that we are not the worst kind.
But we are human.
I grew up in church. I don’t even know how old I was when my dad started pastoring. I do remember when he bought his first building and started the church I would attend into adulthood. I was 6.
Growing up as a preacher’s kid . . . I wouldn’t trade it. Not for being a doctor’s kid, lawyer’s kid—even Donald Trump’s kid. But it does have its challenges: Parishioners think you’re a brat—or an angel. They either want to paddle you, or insist that you can do no wrong. You’re expected to have elephant-tough skin and grandma maturity. So the Sunday school teacher is one cookie short, or only has nine coloring sheets, and you’re the tenth kid? Who gets left out? “Oh, Renée won’t mind; she’s the pastor’s kid.” PKs get that as adults, but not as children.
That pressure-to-be-perfect is the worst of all. I learned that one day the hard way.
I really was a good little girl, and so was my sister. We weren’t allowed to go to movies. There was never a drop of alcohol in our home. Daddy wouldn’t let us go to dances. And we had grown-up manners.
But junior high comes for all PKs, and for me it was a time of angst and identity crisis.
One day—I’m not anything if not honest—I was in the school hallway, and something—who knows what?—made me hopping mad. Now, I had never “cussed” before, mind you. But that day, for whatever reason, I unleashed a string of uncharacteristic profanity—then turned around and saw the horror-stricken face of Lauren Watkins—a parishioner’s daughter.
No doubt, word got around.
Mercifully, I outgrew that awkward stage and, at age 15, committed myself to Christ for myself—I remember precisely when and where—and never looked back.
PKs, for a time, your dad and mom’s faith is your faith—by default. But there comes a day when you have to make Jesus your own, and love Him for yourself. Until then—and unfortunately, after then—you will remain flawed. So here’s a little help for the journey.
You’re not perfect. Don’t let people believe you are—or expect you to be. I remember other church kids wanting to put me up on a pedestal because I was “Brother Street’s girl.” Huh-uh. In and out of the church, be authentic. Remind your friends that your feet are made of clay too. (Pastors, please remember this about your own kids. They are not little “yous.”)
If you “blow it,” apologize, to whoever it disappoints. Ask Christ to forgive you: “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1 kjv). Get up, brush yourself off, and move on. Or, as my pastor today would put it, “Admit it and quit it.” Because like it or not, as a pastor’s kid, you are called too. Don’t bring shame upon that woman or man whom others call “Pastor”—or upon the Saviour who died for you both.
You’ll make mistakes; don’t let them define you. And don’t resent where God has placed you—in a preacher’s home. If you mess up, ’fess up. Then move forward. And above all, make Christ your own.
Since that shameful day, I’ve taught in many churches. My husband and I associate pastored, and I’ve done a lot of ministry. I moved on. And so did Lauren Watkins. She serves God to this day. (Thankfully, my ill-timed swearing didn’t scar her for life.)
All things considered, being a pastor’s kid was, for me, the greatest thing in the world. I hope you feel the same. If you’re a PK, embrace it. Love it. We pastors’ kids are handpicked by God for our generation. We are called, gifted, and blessed.
And we are not “the worst kind.”
Article by Renee Chavez