Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Dear Preacher’s Kids …

Dear Preacher’s Kids …

However, based on the three mentioned above—the children of Eli, Samuel and David—we might conclude:

a) There are no guarantees. Even the finest parent can see his child become a prodigal.

b) It’s an uphill battle for one called of God to do His work in the world while also being the husband and father his family needs. Books have been written by these angry adult PKs, as they indict their fathers and blame the ministries that drove them to greater and greater sacrifices, resulting in their abandoning their families.

c) The occasions when the children become as solid and faithful as the parents are rare indeed. If we think of Anne Graham Lotz and Franklin Graham as exceptions, anyone familiar with that household would give Ruth Bell Graham, the matriarch, the lionness’ share of the credit.

Same today. In this fallen world, bringing children up in the fear and nurture of the Lord to become faithful disciples of Jesus Christ will not happen easily, naturally or accidentally.

A pastor’s wife wrote, “You’ve written on what to say and what not to say to pastors and their spouses. But what about the pastors’ children? Say something to them.”

This is a more complex subject. It’s much harder to get a handle on.

I need to confess I was never a PK. I’m a CMK. A coal miner’s kid. That’s about as far to the other end of the spectrum as one can get. The privileges are fewer, the circumstances vastly different and the expectations considerably lower.

But my three children are PKs. They know. God bless ’em.

I sent out a call on Facebook for input into this subject. Once again, the responses were all over the map. Here are a couple …

My friend Amber has a word of wisdom:

“Dear PKS: Before anything else, I hope you know that you’re allowed to doubt, to throw fits, to be in bad moods and to embarrass your parents—just like every single other child that has ever lived. Being a pastor’s kid is neither your identity, nor your job. It does not determine your worth, and the pressure placed on you is artificial and misguided. Jesus sees and pours abundant grace on you just as much as any other person. Take a deep breath, and realize you are NOT responsible for people’s feelings toward you or your family. You are only responsible for you—your actions and reactions—just like everyone else.”

Preacher’s wife Elizabeth Tero writes both to church members as well as to PKs …

“To others: The preacher’s kids are just like other kids; don’t treat them any differently, whether it’s leaving them out because ‘they’re the preacher’s kids’ or holding them in higher esteem. Don’t put them on a pedestal for everyone’s kids to look up to.”


“To the preacher’s kids: Don’t believe yourself more spiritual or on a different level because your daddy is the preacher. Realize you are just as human as everyone else. Don’t mix up head knowledge for heart knowledge. Realize everyone else is human too and give them room (and God room to work), even if what they say or do is hurtful to your parents and family. Pray for a heart to see your fellow church members through God’s eyes when something does happen, because, unfortunately, it probably will.”

My 10 words to the sons and daughters of God-called ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ:

1. You are blessed indeed.

You will have privileges and opportunities most children never have. You will be raised in church by the finest teachers and nurturers. You will go on trips with your family and church groups, and sometimes will stay in vacation homes your family could not afford in a lifetime but which are provided without cost by people who love you and your folks. So, I suggest you start by counting your blessings.

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Joe McKeever has been a preacher for nearly 60 years, a pastor for 42 years, and a cartoonist/writer for Christian publications all his adult life. He lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi.