If you know me, or have talked to me a while, you might be aware of the fact that I’m a pastor’s kid.
And let me tell you – it’s a very interesting life. One that most kids don’t experience, and most people don’t understand.
But that’s okay. You might be unintentionally believing some of these myths about us, but here I am, ready to debunk them. You are welcome.
Myth #1: Being friends with us will make you cooler/holier/more popular.
I promise I’m not any holier than you are. We’re all made holy when we’re saved by the blood of Jesus – and not because of who our families are.
As for popularity, I’d like to be your friend, really. But I want you to like me for me, and not because my daddy’s the pastor, or because my family has any sort of influence.
As PKs, we’d like you to get to know us for us as individuals, and maybe you’ll learn some things about us that you wouldn’t expect. Maybe you’ll learn some things about yourself. But as with any friendship, it’s not always easy – but that’s what makes it worth it.
Myth #2: We’re all pretty much either little angels or little devils.
Sometimes, people watch us. Scratch that: people are always watching us for one reason or another.
And people expect us to either be perfect, know all the answers, be multi-talented and friends with everyone – or to rebel against everything having to do with parents or rules or church or Jesus.
But honestly, many of us are just…normal. We’re imperfect, but we’re saved by grace, just like you are. We still sin, just like you do, and we still are forgiven because of Jesus, just like you are.
Some of us, like me, struggle with perfectionism, and take a little longer than others in fully grasping what grace is, producing “good girl” (or “good boy”) qualities.
And others of us grapple with authority, wanting to have freedom and independence, to break away from the prying eyes—though it doesn’t happen—and it can produce a sort of rebellion.
But not everything can be taken to an extreme. I’ve actually never met a PK who was “holier than thou” and reminiscent of an angel, and I’ve never met one that hates every kind of rules (or even Jesus, for that matter) with an intense fury.
We all have our struggles, we really do.
But we’re more normal than you might think. We’re more like you. We have our challenges, but grace is for all of us – and the PK stereotype doesn’t have to fit us.
Myth #3: We always agree with our parents and on every aspect of their opinions and theology because obviously, pastors and their families are perfect and always right.
*takes a deep breath*
I know, it’s a shock to think that I wouldn’t agree with my pastor-dad on every single little thing. But we have to remember – that’s a good, healthy thing.
There are some things that are non-debatable, and others that we’ll honestly never fully understand. There are things that we must come to realize for ourselves, and not because anyone told us that they were right, but because we’ve seen them.
Sometimes, our conclusions will turn out to be slightly different than our parents’, but that’s why we have faith; it’s a journey, not a formula.
We have the Bible, and we need to read it and know it and understand it for ourselves; daily, even. Additionally, we have the Spirit of God living inside of us, the Holy Spirit that shows us how to live and helps us grow, personally.
There are some things that we just cannot know, and things that will be personal convictions only, but they all come out of living a life of faith, and not just hearing everyone talk and listening to what sounds nice.
Opinions are just that – opinions. I might not agree with my parents on the Hymns vs. Contemporary Music debate, or I might. I might not agree with every word my parents articulate when discussing things that we’ll never fully know, or I might. I might not agree with the Christian books they choose to read or not to read, or I might. Some things matter more than others, and some things are just opinions that we’re all entitled to.
The point is, whether we agree with everything or not, we need to read the Word of God, listen to good, solid, non-debatable Bible teaching, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and learn to think for ourselves.
Faith isn’t a piggyback ride on whatever our parents say, even if they might influence our conclusions. Being a PK doesn’t save you, just as being the child of a teacher doesn’t make you intelligent. Regardless of who our families are, regardless of our backgrounds, our influences, anything – we all must decide what we believe, and taste Truth for ourselves.
Myth #4: We’re all called into the Ministry, to be pastors, Sunday School teachers, worship leaders, etc.
This one kills me.
It comes from a well-meaning place, yet one that’s ridden with guilt and can cause us PKs to question – should I be doing something other than what I’m already doing?
For those of us called to be writers, to be doctors, to be mail carriers, to be waitresses and actors and factory workers – when we’re asked a question such as, “Are you going to be a pastor like your father?” Or, “You’re a gifted musician, are you going to lead worship for us?” – we can, if we’re not sure, give a “Perhaps,” kind of answer, and doubt ourselves and who God has made us as individuals.
Would God bless me more if I taught Sunday School? We might think.
Would I feel more fulfilled as a church secretary rather than as an office worker on South Street?
Would God and other people love me more if I was playing piano for church every Sunday as opposed to teaching piano lessons locally?
If I have gifts to use, must I use them for the church exclusively?
And for years, these kind of questions troubled me.
I knew I loved sharing my faith – so I decided I should probably be a youth speaker when I was old enough.
I knew I loved kids – so I decided I should probably teach Sunday School, every week when I was older, every few weeks then.
I knew I loved music – so I considered being a worship leader, because why should I tour the US as a singer-songwriter when there’s a place right here that needs me?
And yet, I never felt a “calling” to any of those things.
I might have enjoyed them, sure. But I never felt God’s hand on my heart, urging me to do any of those things specifically.
But you know what I did feel a calling to? Writing.
I don’t write as a child of a pastor – I write as a Child of God.
I don’t write because anyone forced me to or told me I should – I write because I have personally experienced the grace of God in my own life.
I might not ever be able to write full-time, but I feel a distinct calling toward it, and not just an obligation to fill a need at church.
I might be filling needs here and there for the rest of my life as a PK. I might.
But, speaking for all of us PKs, we want you to know who our families happen to be cannot dictate what we do with our one, beautiful, and individual God-given life.
We might be called to be in vocational ministry. And that’s good if we are – but we can’t feel guilty if we’re not.
We can still serve God in the workplace. We can still live for Him in our everyday lives. We can still worship Him in our hearts. We are still just as loved by Him if we’re not “called into the Ministry.”
The worst thing we can do is to live a tormented life. We need to understand who we are in Christ – our identity – and know that who we are does not lie in what we choose to do; it’s in who Christ has made us.
While there are definitely more than four widely-believed myths about pastor’s kids, this is all we have time for today. But I’d love to know, if you’re a PK, what kind of questions do you get a lot? What do people assume about you? Even if you’re not a PK, what are some myths that people have believed about you as a Christian? Let me know in the comments!