Feb 11, 2014

Katy Perry...Why Pastors' Kids Go Awry

Katy Perry is currently the highest profile P.K. that has gone awry.  In a recent interview, she said she is no longer a Christian and doesn't believe in heaven, hell, or "an old man sitting on a throne."

Katy represents a host of P.K.'s who have struggled with their faith.  Recent stats from Barna research says that...
  • 40% have gone through a period where they significantly questioned their faith
  • 33% are no longer active in church
  • 7% no longer consider him or herself a Christian
What causes this?  Pastors who were asked answered:
  • 28% - unrealistic expectations were placed on them
  • 18% - negative experiences in church
  • 17% - father or mother is too busy at church to spend time with them
  • 14% - faith not modeled at home
  • 9% - influence of friends or peers
What Pastors say they've done best in raising their kids:
  • 37% - introduced them to Christ and maintained a Bible-focused home
  • 21% - spent time with them and supported them
  • 12% - loved them
  • 10% - taught them good values
  • 9% - allowed them to make their own choices and be themselves
 What Pastors said they wish they had done better:
  • 42% - had spent more time with their kids
  • 8% - wish they had been more understanding
  • 5% - wish they had given them more Bible teaching
  • 19% - no regrets, wouldn't change anything
I have a special place in my heart for kids who are P.K.'s because I am one.  I grew up to serve the Lord and live for Him.  Looking back here are a few reasons...

My parents practiced what they preached.  I could argue with what they believed, but I couldn't argue with how they lived what they believed.

My dad and mom spent time with me.  My dad spent hours with me in the backyard practicing pitching with me when I was in Little League.  When I got into high school and played basketball, he was there in the stands cheering for me.  My mom poured her life into me, always there for me.

I was able to see past the negative side of ministry.  Yes, there are negative sides to ministry.  Sheep bite and people are not perfect.  At times there are politics.  The church is made up of people.  People who struggle and have weaknesses like we all do.  But I was able to see past that and see the bigger picture.

I made a personal choice to follow Christ and my faith became my own.  I came to Christ when I was a young child.  It was a very real experience which I can still remember to this day.  When I was in high school, God begin to speak to me about being a Pastor myself.

My parents had never asked me about being a pastor.  In fact, they had mentioned several times I should consider being a school teacher.  And I had personally told God I would never be a pastor.  Yes, I would be faithful to church and serve Him...but not working for a church.

But when God calls...you have to make a choice.  You can say "yes" or you can walk away from His will for your life.  After struggling for months, I made the choice to say "yes" to God's plan for my life.

I said that to say this.  At the end of the day, each person must decide for themselves if they will follow Christ or not.  Yes, godly parents do make a difference and help cultivate the soil, but they cannot make the decision for their child.

Do I blame Katy Perry's parents for the road she has chosen?  No.  She picked this path.  I could have just as easily chosen to go down a path away from God.

If your Pastor has kids in your Children's Ministry, I want to encourage you to...
  • Love them.  They are just like the other kids in your ministry.  They want to know you care about them, not because of who their father is, but because of who they are as an individual.
  • Let them be kids.  They are not perfect.  They are going to misbehave at times and make mistakes.  Don't say, "You should know better.  You are the Pastor's kid!"  This places unrealistic expectations on them. 
  • Don't mistreat their parents.  When you talk about the Pastor or cause strife in the church, you not only bring hurt to him, you hurt his kids as well.  Even if they don't know the details (hopefully their parents are protecting them from the negative side of church), they sense when there is strife and division in the church.
  • Pour into their lives.  Just because their father is the pastor, doesn't mean they don't need other people to teach them, mentor them, and speak into their lives.  Yes, my parents were my primary spiritual influence, but there were also lots of godly leaders who poured into my life over the years.  They all had a part in my decision to follow Christ.
  • Don't place unrealistic expectations on their father that causes him to be gone from home all the time.  Help protect their father's time.  They need a father at home just like other kids.  Don't contribute to them resenting the church because it took their father away all the time.
What are your thoughts about P.K.s?
If you are a P.K., share your experience growing up.
Are you a Pastor or staff member in ministry who currently has kids at home?
What are some other ways we can support and encourage P.K.'s?
What are some other reasons why you believe some P.K.'s walk away from God?

Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.


I'm a PK and have raised 4 PKs (actually, almost done with #4). I agree! Living out our faith with our kids is critical to them loving the Savior in spite of the hard stuff that goes with being raised in ministry. I'm not going to speak to how well I'm doing it but can speak to parents who spent time, faith that was lived out authentically (not perfectly) and introduction to Jesus personally. There's a great challenge here!

Thanks for sharing Debby. May God's best blessings be upon your kids. I've got 2 that are adults now and they are serving Jesus. His grace is great inspite of our failures, isn't it.

What about when P.K. think they can get away with anything because they are P.K.. What do you do?

For the comment about the kid who thinks they can get away with anything because they are a P.K. Sounds like they are just trying to get attention. Those are the kids who need you the most.

I grew up a pk. I saw negative impact on my dad and mom by back biting and infighting amongst members and issues my dad would have with dealing with board and deacons. My sisters and overheard the stress it caused our parents. The stress of lack of financial support for our dad as well. He worked a part time job to help make ends meet. I have followed the Lord but have never joined a church. I tithe and worship but refuse to become involved in small group meetings and other activities because of the way I disliked all the infighting I saw as a youth. I feel this has insulated me and kept me focused. It bothers my dad to this day that not a member of a church but he is happy I Love the Lord.

I'm a pk and definitely chose the wrong path! But I turned my life around and I have my upbringing to thank for that....as for the reason I made the choices I did....because I chose to! It had nothing to do with being a pk...it had to do with my attitude

I am one of several out of a pastor's family. My parents were not perfect, but I never doubted their intent and service to the Lord. I am the only of my siblings who choose to follow the Lord. The others played the game. We were raise the same, but chose differently. Others have since turned to Christ with authentic conversions. They are involved in leadership in the church our father started.
My father always stated, "God doesn't have grandchildren, only children." This speaks to personal responsibility. Often we wish to parent our adult children to the point that we beat ourselves up for their decisions. I believe that mistake often exacerbates the problem as it inhibits God directly accessing their backsides. ;°)

Great article Dale. Keep them coming!

My husband and I started 2 churches, was in the pastorate for over 17 years. We adopted a son after being married for 11 years. Right before we adopted Dave we started our 2nd church. One big mistake we made was putting the church before our son. We spent 7 days a weeks building it. My son was raised at the church and spent many hours watching video's while I worked at the church. My husband would leave 6 am and get home usually around 8 pm. We regret big time putting that church first. We sacrificed our son for 12 years and when we resigned we were not even given a going away party or a thank you. This article is spot on! The church members were way too hard on my son always criticizing him and us. I do not regret my service to the Lord but putting a church above your kids is so wrong. My son is now a SGT. in the Army and we have a great relationship with him but we almost lost our son and it is only by God's grace he forgave us. All Pastor's need to memorize this article. Put your family first. Turn that cell phone off. People can wait and the church can wait. In the end you will not regret it.

PK or not she knows enough to know that the Bible isn't just something that was made up! She has made a CHOICE to deny that there is a God and that is the one sin that can't be forgiven. It will be a sad day for her when she realizes that FAME wasn't more important than GOD! False Idols, Blasphemy... I pray for her!

Great article Dale. It is an honor to be your mom. We never fail to thank the Lord for how He has used you and how you have allowed God to direct your life.

Great job on the article - My Husband & I are both PKs, we raised 3 PKs, and have 3 'grand-PKs' ... my dad took a pastorate in a small town in Oregon when I was a baby, 5 years later my mom was killed in a Car accident... the entire community rallied around our family and my dad remained Pastor of that A/G church for 14 more years. All to say - our family was VERY KNOWN (and owned) in that town ...my two brothers and myself couldn't breath without everyone hearing about it...my dad got calls if my dresses were too short, my brothers hair too long - I could go on and on :) ... There was a lot of pressure to be perfect for sure and much of that did come from my dad ...he would jokingly say to us, "Now remember I have my reputation!"... joking aside, HE MEANT IT! But, my Dad had a deep and sincere love for the Lord, he modeled servanthood well, he was the same man at home as he was in the pulpit and out in the community, and we had his undivided attention when we needed it. I'm quite sure that's why all three of us left home loving Jesus and headed into ministry ourselves. Since my husband and I are both PKs, we entered ministry together very realistically - we were not enamored by the position and totally aware of the pressures that existed, AND the pressures that would exist for our own kids. We determined to never allow the churches expectations to press against our kids ... our goal was to raise 3 great Christ followers, not 3 great PKs ... Our kids heard often "We do, or do not do things because your dad is the pastor, but because we are Christ followers !" We are very thankful that all three of our adult kids are following Christ and raising their own kids for Jesus.

This is probably the greatest fear that I have. I feel that if I am a "successful" pastor, but a "neglectful" parent, I would judge myself as a failure.

The thing that bothers me the most about this is : What Pastors say they've done best in raising their kids: 9% - allowed them to make their own choices and be themselves.

If you aren't giving your children freedom to discover who they are and to make their own decisions, then anything that happens throughout their child & teenage years has a high chance of not sticking once they're out in the real world. Let them question things - encourage it, even! Have real conversations with them. Hash things out and keep the lines of communication open. Because if you don't, someone else will. That someone might be a great influence, but could just as easily be a negative one.

Thanks for sharing your story Melodee. I think we all look back at things we could have done a better job at. I worked too much when my kids were younger. Family must definitely come first. But that's easier said than done when you're in ministry. You definitely have to make a decision to be intentional about protecting your time with them.

I am a PK, and my dad was sexually, physically, and emotionally abusive. I accepted Christ as a very young child, and thankfully God never gave up on me. I went through times that I strayed, but God through His mercy and grace would bring me back. I still struggle with believing, in my heart what I know is true in my head, that God loves me unconditionally. I struggle with seeing Him as a tough task master whom I can never please. I also struggle finding a church where I feel comfortable. I've been through Christian counseling off and on, and that has has helped me. Also, having a close Christian friend with whom I could share has been life saving, but I just don't think my final healing will come until I see my Savior face-to-face. Even so, I can't imagine going through what I went through and not having a faith in God to get me through. I know so many others who were abused who haven't had a faith in God to help them through such difficulty.
As a teen, I told a the head of YFC in our area that my father was abusing me. Unfortunately, he didn't believe me. That was the turning point that led me down the wrong path for many years. I would say if you are a leader please listen when a child or teen takes the courage to step out and tell you they are being abuse, and don't brush it off just because they are a PK or another ministry leader's child.
As far as Katy Perry goes. I still believe that God is in the redeeming business, and He can redeem her life for His glory. I don't listen to her music, but I pray for her when she is brought to mind.

Wow. Thanks for having the courage to share your story. Sorry to hear what you went through. Were you able to confront your father about this? If not, this needs to happen and be brought to light so it doesn't happen to someone else. Is he still pastoring? We have the responsibility to report this when it comes to our attention and I am sorry the people you told didn't have the courage to do so. Yes, where hurt is found, God's grace is found more abundantly. Thankful you have found some healing. Again, if this has not been dealt with regarding your father it needs to happen. Let us know how we can support and encourage you.

Thanks for your response Dale. Yes, I did confront my dad when I went through counseling. He denied it, and he would not admit that anything happened. He at one point did admit to the counselor that he had "sexual feelings" for my sister. At that point I had to cut my ties with him because I had my own family, and I didn't want to endanger my children. I have several siblings, and he abused all of us. Even though confronted by others his heart remained hardened. He passed away several years ago, and I did not go to his funeral. I had grieved the loss of my dad many years before.
I do appreciate your willingness to be supportive had my situation been different. That type of support from the Christian community is unfortunately difficult to find.

I have 3 boys..... as a parent I really believe God helped me and my wife be very good parents...most of the stuff on your list I would check off.... We never told are kids what a tough life ministry was..... which I find many preachers do...we told my kids we had the best job in the world...love to ministry, how my job allowed me to do things and spend time with them that most job didn't. Plus they were meeting missionary from all over the world and had also meet many famous people who had world wide ministries.....example Dr. Edwin Louis Cole.... The Couriers, etc..... Paul Cole even went to one of my kids championship soccer games when he was young..... but I remember my kids coming back from Christian Summer Camp and I asked them if they had heard any messages about knowing the will of God in your life....up to this time my 2 oldest wanted to go into ministry, one a pastor the other a missionary......The both told me they wanted to be lawyers....after some discussion I asked why? Telling them that I recalled them both wanting to go into ministry......My oldest responded, "Ya Dad, I use to but after see how people in the church often treat you I know I could never do or want to be a pastor." My kids are great kids but not regular at any church....they are successful in their late 20's.... I pray for them everyday.....are they saved yes...... but my biggest pray is that God will give them mentors and 24/7 Christians......by the way my oldest spoke at his college graduation.......I just sat there listening to him remembering folks always saying the best preacher are PK's....and he was so good in fact the next day on the front page the city's newspaper most of the article on his college's graduation was on how well he spoke...and the keynote speaker of there also at the graduation only had a little paragraph.....yes I was proud but very sad......

where is the supposed interview where she said this?

I am a PK, and had a very strict upbringing. I rebelled and after marrying got out of church for a while. But after finding my own faith and relationship with the Lord, I have been very thankful for my parents. I raised my own children a little less strict and they are both serving the Lord. I will never talk bad about my pastor to other people even when I don't agree with him. I will talk to him privately. I know how much people like to bad mouth the pastor, or talk about how much money he gets, or the new car he bought, or the new clothes his wife has on... I would never be a pastor.!

Hey Mattitude, thanks for inquiring. Here is the interview where she made this statement. It was during an interview with Marie Claire magazine.

I was a PK- oldest of three. My dad turned out to be the "darth vader" of Ministry. Not only was unfaithful to our mom but sexually assaulted the middle daughter. I remember kneeling next to him praying about issues dividing our church never guessing he was the reason for the reign of sin in that work. When I did discover I confronted him, left the church and dropped out of Bible College. WOrked to hlep the sister find healing and have great relationship with both younger sisters; myself I returned to Ministry while serving in the Army, including church planting. I'm now married with two beautiful daughters and pray everyday to be a Godly husband and father...as well as a faithful minister. Now that I'm getting out of Army am going back and finished my MDiv and prayering over option to plant again or pastor existing church. But my family always comes before the church; Next to being a child of God my second greatet investment and first ministry is that of my marriage, then my parenting and then the church family. While our past can be difficult; God's Grace will always prove sufficient to help us create a better today for a greater tomorrow. But it will always come down to our choice and what we will allow our past to drive us towards; and to God and God alone we will give account. Thanks for the Post! -Damian

My family is ministers my uncles where preachers my mom is a Sunday school teacher she started with children then moved up to adults. I saw the issues of doing all this. Most of their kids are in the ministry in some form. The issue children deal with is the expectation to be perfect church kids and then others going out of their way to make the children fail. Their children are the ones that have even more pressure put on them because they are compared to their parents and grandparents. Depending on their personality they can handle it or they just can't deal with the pressure.

Wow...you are an overcomer. Thanks for sharing your story. God's grace abounds beyond even the vilest of sins. So sorry you had to go through that.

I a P.K. I'm 17 years old. I have been on and off since I was 8 years old. I like that you brout out how the parents choices make a difference but it is up to each individual. Im a senior in high school. I am a Christian and plan to stay in ministry. I want to bea praise and worship leader. People say Im only a Christian because I'm still with my parents. Its not true. There plenty of opportunities as a teenager. So I am thankful for the strength God has given me and the opportunities for ministry. My mom and dad both have made sure to spend tine with family. My dad was a P.K. so he knew how he felt. He was a dad to me first and they are true about what tgewy say. They practiced what they preach. I thank God for my parents. My relationship with God is not based them. I could not imagine life without him<3

As I was reading the stats in this article, it occurred to me that we might be looking at this all wrong. Does not the Bible say that the road to eternal life is narrow, and few will find it? While it is heartbreaking that children stray from the faith they've been taught in childhood, isn't this basically consistent with what Jesus told us would happen. If 40% of PKs say they've struggled with their faith, that means 60% have not...a pretty amazing stat in the big picture.

Sometimes I think we fall into the trap of believing that a person will follow Christ if only we love them enough, present compelling reasons for faith, or convince them of the folly of sin. It is not up to us to save the world...and that includes our families. Jesus paid the price, and it is up to them to follow. Let us pray for them and embrace them. But I think we are wise to avoid the temptation to seek reasons why some will stray, as it can lead to making conclusions that are inaccurate and potentially hurtful.

I have a problem with this article.
The wrong people were asked these questions. Pole us PKs, not the Pastors! PKs "awry" assumes the position of that PK's inner conversations with God. Who judges "awry" anyway?!? Ask PKs about the burden, the expectations, the back story, them....ask them about THEM without the shadow of a steeple over their heads. Asking Pastors drives the point home why PKs have had "enough"! Where's the PK feedback in those percentages?!? (Raised eyebrow)

I'm a PK. I once told God to take a hike. I once believed firmly I was sold lies about the promise of my future based on my submission...among other religious practices. I'm a PK that has broken all the rules about "church" as I saw it growing up. I'm a PK with a strong faith. I'm not a Christian. I'm a Christ-follower. (Yes, I've found there's a difference). I'm proud to be a PK. I see other PKs and think...."Yea, I get it. You're still ok."

Maybe I'll write my own article on this....hmmm...

I am a P.K. I told my dad when I was a teen that I would never do what he did. HA! I have lead a youth group for 20 years and serve as pulpit supply. I am so thankful for my father's influence and love sharing the God News to anyone who will listen. I thank God he had a different plan for me than what I thought when I was a teenager! The best part is my parents never pressured me into ministry, it was my own decision.

I have mentored PK's and one main issue I noticed is them thinking their negative feelings were somehow not allowed in their home. Anger, fear, insecurity, these were not welcomed because they showed spiritual weakness. I think these kids having a safe person to talk to about their disappointments and frustrations was really helpful. Hopefully the parents can be safe people, but sometimes they are very worried about what people will think if their kids are not model Christians. Emotionally honesty seems to be a big need for PK's.

My children are PKs and first and formost I let them know and everyone else including teachers at school (we lived in a small town)) that they are kids and will make mistakes. We also raised them knowing they are christians, just like any other christian. We were called to the ministry, not them, they would have to wait for their own calling when they began their own walk with God. We never expected anything extra from them because they were PKs and neither did our church. If someone would say to them that they should know better or set an example for others because they were PKs they would very politly reply, No! I should set an example because I am a christian. If they did not get it then I would explain it to them.

Valoree, thanks for taking time to share your thoughts. This has definitely struck a heart chord with many people. I agree with you about hearing from P.K.s. A survey among P.K.'s would be great and I am sure would shed light on a lot of things. Do keep in mind the person that wrote the article (me) is a P.K. and speaks from experience. I can relate to much of what you said. If you decide to write and article I'd enjoy reading it. I think it would be insightful. Blessings.

I originally liked Katy Perry b/c she was so talented, then b/c she seemed modest. I heard she was a PK, as you call them. I now feel sorry for her. She may have gained the world, adolation and cash, but what about her soul? It's never too late for her. God may have the biggest plan for her, but we may all never know. We need to know when to let go and let God...

I am a PK. I admit that I am not very strong in my faith at the moment, but I'm growing and healing slowly. I love my parents very much and I don't blame them for any fault in my personal faith. They let my brother and I accept Christ very young, but never forced us into this decision. The one problem our family had for the longest time was that my parents would volunteer us for jobs or events. We started calling it voluntelling. As members of the church we deserve to be asked politely just as much as anybody else. In fact, any parent that controls a child's activities is pushing them away and causing resentment. I have a friend that is a fellow PK whose church has a lot of get togethers and things like that. Anytime we try to hang out, they have something going on. Consequently, I haven't spent more that two hours at a time with her outside of school, and that's been less that ten times over the three years she's been in the area. Choice is huge! How can you expect someone to fall in love with God if they don't get the choice to be around Him?

I was a PK and I had a very different experience. Every time, I went to church, I was greeted warmly, I was well loved and always cared for. When I walked into churches during college, I was greeted warmly and that was it.I felt so lost and struggled to build relationships Who was I to them....just another college student. So, my advice is to support that college aged person that walls into your church alone.Invite them to sit with you, build a relationship with them before they walk out and never come back.

I love the Lord and I follow him. However, I hate tobe identified wits the word Christian. I cringe when I hear that word. I'm an AG PK that was raised in the cult... lol.. where church was the most important thing. It came before anything. . And the members of the church got the best of my parents. We got the left overs. When people

call me out and say aren't you a Christian you aren't mean and judgemental? I explain I am a daughter of God.. and I represent Jesus and are responsibility is to show Love!!! And be among those who need it.. I do go to church and I pray and read the Bible daily with my children but I have serious problems with the institution. I can see where some people need that

My dad was a pastor long before I was born in the early 60's. I have just two thoughts to share. God instituted the home long before he instituted the church. My dad was given a choice between the two, and he chose the latter. Finally, Mrs. Billy Sunday made this statement when my dad was at Winona Lake Conference in 1954. "Billy was so busy saving the world, that his son's went to hell." Just something to think about.

As a PK and a mother of two pks....the road is not always easy, but I thank God that my parents were always genuine which is why me and my siblings all serve the Lord today and my hope is that my kids will say the same about us and will choose to live a life that honors God as they become adults....

Katy Perry never said this. I've watched an interview with Katy and she said, "I am a Christian and I am a firm believer in God. People have this perspective of me that with the way I dress and talk that I do not believe in God. And I do." It is apparent to me that the person who posted this twisted her words to make her sound like the bad person.

Hi Meagin, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Katy made have said she is a firm believer in an interview a few years ago but she did say what I stated in this post. Here is the direct link with her interview and her words. I am not coming out against Katy, I am simply stating what she said. I beileve she will come back to God. I think the lure of fame and fortune at any cost has it's grips on her at this time but it won't last forever. God always draws his kids back to Himself.
- here is the interview if you want to read it

Unfortunately pk's are held to a higher standard and then everyone thinks that they should be punished more severely than any other kid to make a point. Often times the Pastors home is judged. A lot of saints feel that if he can't raise his kids then how is he suppose to lead his flock? Well, although he is our pastor, we (like his kids) still have a choice to make about what we want to do in our lives. They are kids. My heart goes out to them. Its like the live in a glass house. ....just make sure your lives are perfect before casting stones.....

Am not a Pk....but my dad was supposedly friends with pastors ...was an elder served faithfully had a deep love for God...n counselled many at home with my mum as i grew up....with this idealized view that the church was a.loving caring place to be....when my dad died when i was pregnant as a single mum....have Eva experienced so much judgemtalism..pastors would preach about how u should leave url wife provided for when u die as is the economic collapse in my country dat turned his savings to mulch was his fault....or they would preach Bout single mum's....i was grieving oldest child now a breadwinner for my ...when my daughter was born premier n diagnosis was poor all dis pastors came to...watch ...for a better word.. COz no caring was involved....n when iwhd to leave my daughter in my home country twice...due to struggling as a single mum...once when she was nine months n second time when i lost my job......i went off the rails for a good while...grief does funny things to u....n to this day....i keep little or no contact with the church's my dad helped to plant...the pastors he helped back up or their kids.....and my father was a prominant elder....all i can say is...church's...r very dangerous places...n going off the rails so bad...forced me to Jesus.......leave Pk to be just who they r..people....at some.point God will meet de too...whether now or in dat future..as for me still in love with Jesus....but just not so sure bout the church

I'm a PK, and I've been a PK pretty much my entire life; I've always, and still do, hate it. I hate the fact that you're looked at with a stronger eye. Just because I'm the PK doesn't mean I'm not human. When I was younger, I would do dumb, immature stuff just like all the other kids, because I was a dumb, immature kid like all the others, but because I was the PK I would always get a stronger scolding, and with each one I would get more and more bitter because I would always say, "but (insert name here) did it more than me" and every-time the response would always be. "but you're the PK", and it would piss me off every single time, because, just like the article says, it's an unfair extra layer of expectations that a regular kid is almost never going to reach. It's pretty much expecting the kid to sit out and exclude himself from what almost every other normal kid in the church is doing. If all the other kids are goofing off and running around, nope, the PK can't do that because if they're inside, running in the building is a no, no. People always expect the PK to be the super well behaved kid, and in theory, it makes sense, but reality is not a theory, and people need to understand and get used to the fact that the pastor's KID is going to be, and act like, a kid.

Pastors are usually busy making sure your kids go in the right path while no one ever takes the time to shepherd theirs

Actually if u look at percentages of church staff folks who follow the same path, u will see the same thing. Pk follow one of 2 paths either become preachers themselves or go off. Its the condition of that thing called church..pk are a generated product..results of the church

pastor' kids leave the church after associating with deacons & elder kids

Wow Its amazing to see the many stories just like mine!!!
I Thank God for My past present And future!!!!!

Its made me Who i am today. Pk for 30yrs And after alot of ups And down now soon to be a Pastor Myself And i will give My 2 children The attention They Need And up bringing that lots of us pks didn't or couldn't Have....
I pray for all The pks today And all those to come We are truly Blessed if We choice to see IT in The positive side And learn from all The negative!
God bless from your sister in Christ!!!

I too am a PK. An only child, so I went to all services and meetings, almost never having a sitter. At this time my dad pastored small and aging churches. Let's just say there wasn't a lot of room for the Spirit to move. My parents were however sprung out of the Jesus movement, and both baptised in the Spirit. Every once in a while we'd go to a conference where I would really see and feel the presence of God, even as a young child. This was one of the things that saved me. The other was in my teens, when my father let me question my faith and find my own way. He didnt force anything on me or guilt me, but took a step back and prayed. After a while of me finding myself, I realized I had seen too much, felt too much and witnessed too much of God at work to disregard Him. It had to be all or nothing for me. With my fathers blessing I went to a church with strong charismatic tradition and a vibrant ministry. His self control in not trying to control me is what saved me and helped me choose my own life with God. Today I also minister in nearby churches, leading worship and preaching.

Daniel, thanks for sharing your story. Nothing makes the difference like God's presence or working in a person's life does it. Blessings.

I'm a PK and I'm not going to lie, I was scarred by the church growing up for that reason. Not because my parents did anything wrong, but because Christians can be really mean...my dad tried to do everything right. In fact, when faced with adversity in the church, he pushed through it doing everything he could to keep the church and it's people in tact. There was one particular ministry that we were a part of where the lead pastor HATED my dad. Everything he was. And he let him know it. There were so many times when I would come home from school and he would be crying in the garage because he didn't want us to hear. I hated the pastor who made my dad cry. He threatened to leave and split the church if my dad didn't leave. Despite how much it hurt, my dad left. He couldn't bear the thought of Christ's bride being split by something so childish. I was mad at my dad for so long for taking me away from my home. I vowed to never marry a pastor, much less become one. Being a pastor is one of the most frustrating jobs on the planet. But despite all of that, despite the personal hell that my dad went through, he inspired me. He taught me to keep going despite adversity, to be kind to those who don't deserve to have kindness, to love those who don't love you, and to always put the church and it's people before yourself, but not your family. My dad loved us. He always took us out on "daddy-daughter" dates and made sure that we had our Saturday nights together. I still hate being a PK...but I love my dad and what he does for the people in his community. I hope that one day I can leave a legacy like his behind for my kids.

Alicia, thanks for sharing your experience. Your dad is a great example of a pastor who had his priorities straight. Sheep definitely can bite but we love them just the same. We all fall short so many times in our own lives as well. Thankful for grace.

Those are the ones you have to love on the most. Kids are smart. They're not pushing their boundaries because they know they can, they're most likely pushing their boundaries to test whether or no you are who you say you are...a loving Christian ready to serve others whether they are low man on the totem pole or a P.K. Also, I detect a hint of something in your response...maybe jealousy or resentment. Make sure you're not placing unrealistic expectations on them. Pretend that they aren't the Pastor's kid. How would you treat that behavior otherwise? Then go from there.

I saw this article via Charisma News I think and found the link back to this site. I've no problems with the article, its well written with good advice. I just have a quarrel with the inclusion of Katy Perry's name in the headline. It's as if this was just included to generate hits. The inference is that Katy was interviewed on this topic and the piece will include her take on the issue, which would of course be interesting, to say the least. However there is just a re-quote of hers.
To me, this is just plain misleading. (It misled me) Maybe this was a sub-editor having their way)

My husband and I are both pastors and missionaries. It hasn't been easy for our children to be traveling around the world establishing churches, but we take the time to explain our lifestyle. Our children see first hand the miracles of God. They have seen blind eyes opened, they have seen deaf ears opened. They have seen deliverance services in voodoo filled villages. We practice what we preach and let the Lord speak for Himself. I have never had to push our beliefs on our children because they see the evidence with their own eyes. They have felt the Holy Spirit in their own bodies and lives. For us, it's not about indoctrinating our children. We ask God to reveal Himself to them, and He does. We include our children in just about every aspect of ministry that we do, and we take ample time to explain things to them in ways that are age appropriate and match their mentality. When we do radio shows the kids listen and often have their own comments or suggestions on ways we could have improved the message. When I preach in the children's church my daughter almost always reminds me of a detail to a Bible story that makes the story come to life for the kids. Rather than seeing our children as PK's, we see our entire family as pastors. Our children minister to other children, they lay hands on other sick kids during our travels, they lead people to the Lord, and they know how to put on their armor and fight against the devil. I think it's really about the amount of education children receive and making faith more than just an idea from a book.

Being an avid music lover I have seen in the past where the church would openly reject talented gospel musicians often PK just because they became successful "in the world." One is Aretha Franklin who became huge. In her Amazing Grace Album her father Rev C.L FRranklin says... if you want to know the truth... she has never left The Church. I meet many PKs that are virulently against Church and in most cases it is because they saw that secretly their parents did not practice what they preached... but more often it is because The church just was not loving them through their difficult decision to use their talents where they would be better appreciated with substantial compensation. They are expected to donate their outstanding talent in the Church and as soon as they get successful the Church writes them off. This was certainly the case with Aretha Franklin.WE should remember that in the Old Testament. Many of the Levites were temple musicians... they were not all priests. And all Levites partook of the benefits of the priestly tribe. We should expect these gone astray talents to come back to The Church instead of spitefully writing them off.

I'm a 15 year-old PK and the biggest struggle I've had in my life had to do with a friend of mine, who was also a PK. We were best friends for a few years, but as we grew closer, I started noticing some things about him that really confused me. He seemed to have no personal boundaries concerning modesty and purity, both physically and mentally. He pressured me into sensual conversations I wish I never had, and he wanted me to send him immodest pictures. It was only my personal morals that stopped me from going too far. We aren't friends now, and I'm so glad that I resisted the temptation. I was shocked that a PK could be so loose and inappropriate, and then turn around and say how much he loved God and wanted to please Him. I think a lot of PKs come across people like this during their adolescence, and it confuses them so much that they begin to doubt how real Christianity really is. Hypocrites are EVERYWHERE, and I think PKs out of all people need to be taught that. Just because someone is in a respected position doesn't mean they're respectable--they have to prove that through their actions, not their title.

PKs aren't any more righteous than anyone else. In fact, they have the same exact struggles that worldly kids have, plus they're constantly being watched by church people. They can't slip up and make mistakes, or it'd reflect badly on their parents! A lot of PKs are forced to deal with their struggles privately, and without help. This should never happen! Christian teens, nowadays more than ever, are so prone to spiritual attacks. If they don't have the right kind of guidance and direction, of course they're going to fall!

Another thing that I think PKs need to do is realize that they can't ride through the Christian life on their parents' beliefs. PKs have to pray and search God's Word so their faith can become their OWN. That's the only way it will ever last! I've seen time and time again where pastors' families will tell their kids what to do and what not to do, but they never explain WHY--or at least not in a way that their kids understand. Sometimes it's because they don't feel their kids are old enough yet, sometimes they don't have time, and sometimes the parents simply don't know why, either. I think it would do a lot of PKs good if they were taught the reasoning behind certain beliefs, instead of just being told to obey blindly. That only creates resentment and frustration toward the parents, which in time will translate over to resentment and frustration towards God and all things related to Him.

I hope this makes sense to any teens reading this, and any parents of teens--PKs or not. God bless!

I spend 20 years being a missionary kid and a pastors kid. The expectations, that I felt i needed to measure up to, were beyond overwhelming. the worst for me was knowing that I was always being watched, not by my parents but by others. "People are watching and know who you are and who your parents are, what would people think?" I heard this from one of my own parents, they didn't mean it in a harmful way but it dictated my life for years and years. I wasn't allowed to "make mistakes" i wasn't allowed to do or act a certain way, only always what was expected of me. I wasn't allowed to be struggling, I always had it together. And if I do something wrong, heaven forbid if someone found out. This was my lifestyle for almost ten years.
I broke... i broke loose in college and after years of bottled up emotions and permanent scars from christian leaders that wounded me. I became a cynical christian. One who believes in God but never in people. God had to do much healing in me and I'm doing better.

But this reality of the pastors kid is more than just a statistic, i lived it.

If you have children and your are a pastor, please realize the tremendous pressure your kids are really going through and make sure they understand that ...God is real... God is real outside of ministry... outside of the christian home. Invite them to discover God on their own and not follow your footsteps or worship the god of your church.
You will save your children from years of torture.

I am a PK as well who went through a lot. My dad had to step down from ministry due to sin and the church was not kind at all. Yet, My sister, brother and I are all still serving the Lord. From my parents we learned that no matter what we will serve the Lord. When my dad messed up he sat us down and told that God loves and forgives but still will discipline. They were authentic with us. And even when many churches turned their backs to us, my parents continued to go to church. And they made us go with them. We had to go as long as we were in their house. I am thankful for Godly parents who showed us the meaning of transparent, authentic faith, and who taught us to look past human weakness and failures to the God bigger then all that and to make our faith our own.

Fuck being a P.K., I am one, and its a sorry fact that I can never say "was" one. I've read all of these comments and stories. The expectations are unreal and you never live your own life. A pk will forever be under the scope and judgement from the day they are born. You make a mistake, even a simple one that many "normal" ppl make in life, and its not just your fault, it travels up the chain and ppl see it as your parents fault also. All because you are a pk, and thats just one tiny example. God and church becomes politics and different sized "kingdoms" all doing they're own thing and either rising or falling within their age. Half of pks wouldn't turn their backs if they had just been simply treated as regular human beings and not some kind of god chosen kid. If I could relive another life I would forsake it all. There isn't one good thing that came out of it. Yes I believe there is a God, but for many of us he is not worth chasing or loving.

I would like yo thank the author of this article for being gracious in all your responses to people even when they were clearly attacking you and attempting to make you look bad. You demonstrate the love of Christ very beautifully!

I think you hit the nail on the head with this article. It was great. I can't think of anything to add to it.
p.s. Thank you for the reminders of what we should do for our pk's.


I was a PK for much of my life, but I never felt like it defined me. My parents led me to Christ when I was about 5, but my dad didn't become a pastor until I was 13. My parents encouraged us to love the Lord because we were people, not because we were PKs. I knew that my testimony reflected back on my parents, and there were some seriously hard things about being a pastor's family, but my mom & dad encouraged all of us to be ourselves & follow God's plan for our lives. My siblings & I are all involved in different kinds of ministry now, & a lot of that has to do with my dad's example. I know a lot of PKs feel a lot of pressure, but I never felt that myself. My parents taught us that our relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the most important thing, and there are many ways to serve Him.

It's not about thinking you can get away with anything, it's about not caring whether you get away with it or not. As a pk you are watched and judged your whole life. Your parents are watched and judged based on your actions. But because you are the pastors kid you see the good and bad in church and know that the people judging you are not perfect and have just as many skeletons in their closet, but they aren't displayed to the entire church like yours are. You get to point you just don't care. I am a pk. I long ago lost faith in church, but have since found my faith in God. Growing up a pk is very hard, and there are unrealistic expectation placed on you. It's enough to make anyone not care, and that's the reason most pks turn out tough. It's not about turning from God, at least at first, it's about being free of the church's judgement

Inspired by this article. Immediately shared this to my PK friends. I am a PK from the Philippines and this gave me an idea to make a research like this.

I went to a religious college where katy perry sang....before she was katy perry. She was a Christian singer and an adult. I think her saying she doesn't believe in God is a cop out. I think Hollywood happened to her. They offered fame and fortune and she couldn't say no. She has chosen poorly.

" It bothers my dad to this day that not a member of a church but he is happy I Love the Lord."


Me and my husband are leaders in the church. It is our job to raise our kids according to the word of God, balance home and ministry the best to our ability, and live a life before them. Like any parent when you teach your child right from wrong, their is an expectancy in making the right choices. We encourage our kids in any way we can and sometimes discipline them. Just because they are PK doesn't mean they can do what ever they want. They must abide by laws and rules like everyone else. As parents we instill in our kids whats right but at the end of the day, they must choose if they will live for Christ. If they choose not to, guess what? They must answer to God for that choice. I read a lot of comments on PK blaming their parents for everything. Unfortunately their is no perfect parent. You learn as you raise your kids, and yes sometimes you make mistakes along the way. I didn't understand that until I became a parent. Stop blaming your parents for everything, grow up and take responsibility for your life. At the end of the day, in-spite of what you have seen or experience, you are responsible for your life and the choices you make. I could have easily spiraled out of control because of things happened to me and I'm not even a PK. Life is about choices. All excuses was nailed to the cross and when we stand before Him no excuse will hold.

Being a PK is the shittiest thing that can happen to a normal, intelligent kid. I am a PK. It hindered my success. Parents pretended to be poor, never gave us much attention nor cared. I was the only kid who was able to finish college. And I had to do it in a 3rd world country that I didn't belong in. whats worse is I was made to act american and follow inapplicable American ways in a country where that didn't work. Ex work and school. when kids were not hired if they don't have a degree. So I had to hustle. And ohh the hypocrisy. The royal bullshit. no wonder only among the poor does religion thrive. So yes I will always hate your religion and my biological parents. These days i don't even carry their last name and have worked my ass off to become a millionaire. So my advice don't go to church PKs stop believing that BS early on and focus on your lives be happy. Your parents are probably sociopaths anyway. Be good parents when you get there.

Thanks for stopping by to share your story. It's obvious you carry a lot of hurt from your time growing up as a PK. I pray you find the peace in Christ you are looking for this Christmas.

Amen from a PK, born and raised. I never allow anyone to badmouth my pastor.

I just watched her movie "Part of Me" and read her comments about not believing and God. I am so sad. She was suppose to be an icon that I could point to who loved God. There is so much in some of her songs that inspires and brings hope but there are others that are about the excitement of sin. Why does Christianity seem so gloomy, a life of pain and sorrow... I know it's for a short time but where joy is the tangible joy I can point kids to... The joy of the lord is my strength, please encourage me, where is that joy that I can point kids to and not say one day. The joy that gives strength has to be strength now, what is it, list it please. When I read through the bible the followers of God are allows in struggles, depression, pain. Please don't tell me the joy is knowing that we are saved and one day will be in paradise with God. There is something deeper.

Hey Chris, thanks for sharing your thoughts. There are lots of great role models we can point kids to. I believe the biggest role model is like you that God places them in direct contact with. You have a great opportunity to make a huge impact in their lives. Be encouraged. You matter and what you do matters. Blessings.

Part 1
Putting things in perspective after reading many of the comments and percentages of PK's or even Teens from non-Christian homes who have been listed in survey's like this Opinion Pole at Charisma News . Com
I didn't grow up PK, but my dad became a Pastor after I got married and my younger brother and sister were teens, dated, got married and had children while they served under my dad. They stayed with my dad through their early 40's and just before my dad retired due to health, my sister ran off with a much younger man and my sister-in-law through my brother out divorcing him twice. My dad's grand-kids grew up under his preaching until they were teens and have nothing to do with churches today. My brother and sister have had their ups and downs with a few marriages, but they still love and serve their Lord, one at Harvest Riverside and the other at Calvary Pasadena, while the preachers grand kids and yes the preacher are the ones who are far from serving God today.

At this time it appears my dad is the one who seems to have backslid, he is in his 80's; and seems to be at war with everyone, he has been asked to leave the churches where he tried to get involved. I know he believes in God, but he is so bitter and angry with his and my mom's health that he has threatened suicide for him and my mom. When he does not get his way he threatens to cut whoever he is mad at, out of his will, but his liquid assets are almost gone. Right now I'm the only one he is speaking to and my mom with Parkinson and Dementia, really has little idea what is going on.

Part 2
The crazy thing is I'm the one he was angry with while he was in the ministry, making up all kinds of lies about me while I was in ministry in Anaheim were the Set Free Movement began. I was the youth pastor who allowed Phil to speak with my teens, a year or so after he left Vacaville. When he left ABC, most of the teens who grew up through my Youth Department left with Phil while they were in their 20's to start Set Free. Just before Phil left ABC I went over to El Monte to help my brother get a youth department started, it grew from 8 to 35 in 3.5 months, we took 27 teens to Hume Lake camp before I returned to ABC. Four months earlier I told my dad and brother it would be a 4-month trial, with no promises. The youth ministry was successful and growing with 35- teens in a church of 175, but I could not stay, the theology and ministry idea's between my dad and I were so different. It was at the end of the 4-months that I told my dad my brother was doing good and I was going back to Anaheim, it was after that when he practically disowned me, telling his congregation lies about me for the next 16- years.

You see for my dad this was a business, the attendance had been up over 250 at one time and he saw my efforts as a positive growth period and he was angry that I would not stay. During this time we were still living in Fullerton, since my wife was still on staff at ABC and after the 4- months in El Monte Phil was ready to leave. He lived in the church parsonage and I rented a house in Fullerton, Phil and I traded homes and Set Free started in that Fullerton home where my oldest son was born. I ended up taking back what was left of ABC's Youth Department and my family of 3- kids and I were on staff for another 6- years. During this time we experienced, church splits, power struggles, and after that we left our volatile church home of over 10- years, moving to Apple Valley.

After being the Interim Pastor in Anaheim for several months, a new Pastor was elected, then as the dust cleared my family of 4- children moved to the High Desert where I started as an Elder eventually became the Teaching Elder at a Bible Church, during the next 10- years we help build one of the best youth departments in the High Desert, taught the Adult Bible Class, led the midweek prayer meeting and Study, and Interned again after leaving Dispensationalism and the Bible Church, also during this time I was part-time self employed. Our family grew to 8- children, my wife stayed home for those 10- years and I coached 23- different sports teams for my sons and was successful in getting 1- of my daughters to play sports. For that daughter I was a Ref and Umpire for many of her games while coaching teams for 1 or 2 of sons teams. It did not seem like it then, but looking back my oldest daughter was very resentful that she was the oldest of our crew. All of our children attended private Christian schools or home schooled for various periods of time during their elementary years.

Part 3
Now even though my oldest made a decision for Christ when she was 4 or 5, with the encouragement of an AWANA worker, I was never impressed that anything had happened in her life; but how should I know this was my oldest, but I knew from God's Word this was not how salvation worked. The truth is as she grew up there was never any evidence of any Spiritual awakening or desires in her, but this was not the case with my other 7- children. They all grew up going to whatever Camp or Retreat was planned. My oldest rarely wanted to participate in any of these activities, while all my others were very sensitive to God's calling in their lives. Now none of my children have ever been in open rebellion, they never went on dates except the oldest who was chaperoned at 17.5- years and she was also the youngest to get a Driver License before reaching 18. The others didn't get their License or start dating until a year or two after they were in Christian College.

The oldest was respectful, but cautiously resentful when she had to attend any Youth meetings and thought church attendance once a week was more than enough. All of our children were high IQ's, mostly all A-students at their private school, never causing us any problems and all but the oldest could not wait to go to a Christian College. Now my oldest, no, no, no; she made up her mind to go to UC Santa Cruz after spending the summer working at Camp Herman Christian Conference Grounds, where she met her future husband. With exception of our 2- youngest, both doing well at different Christian Colleges, the others are all married college grads, having kids, (9 total) buying homes, (5) and all but the oldest are serving God in a way that pleases us greatly. One is still preparing for the ministry to reach Muslims, another teaches Lady Bible Studies, another is a Pastor (full time for over 10- years) and one is a Police Officer and all of them are married to wonderful partners totaling more than the 43 years we have been married.

So the fact is almost all my kids are serving God, in contrast to their cousins and to my knowledge, my brother and sisters kids are just like my oldest. None of them departed from the faith, since I don't believe any of those (5) ever desired to serve our Lord and Savior. Now I know my theology and idea's of ministry have changed in the last 44-years, but it is my conviction that a lot of foolish or ignorant people think they are Christians just because they said a prayer or got baptized as young people. I never tried to convert my children, I just treated them as though they were Christians and watched God do wonderful things through them. They have all been under the strong preaching of God's Word and they have all come forward to pray when God was dealing with them at church or teen activities, but not my oldest. (38) and honestly I don't think her cousins now in their early 30's every experienced the same type of preaching at my dad's church.

Part 4
I believe my children all grew up experiencing good churches and balanced preaching, so I have no regrets for anything and I would do it all over again the same way. So I really believe the majority of kids who leave their Christian Faith, had never experienced true faith. Honestly how my brother and sister made it in my dad's ministry is a testimony to the fact that they were truly saved and my dad, well it was all about him and his ministry that he ran like it was a business he owned; and honestly I seriously doubt he has ever experienced true salvation. He started his church and ran it in the ground, it only served his purposes and died when he retired. Now I never exposed my children to the problems at my dad's church or those at ABC and I think it had little to no affect on my oldest daughter, so I fault no person for her condition, since from the time she was 5- years old, I never saw in her what I experienced with her brothers and sisters.

Now my daughter thinks herself to be some type of religious person, but she will have little to nothing to do with the rest of us. She was brainwashed with all the Anti-Christian stuff at UC Santa Cruz, but in truth she was walking that direction before attending there. She is very pro-homosexuality, Obama, drinking and using drugs in moderation; interesting how all that goes together and she wants nothing to do with what she learned as a child and teen. Four of my grand kids from 3- of our children, go to private Christian Schools, but my oldest does not want her children to have that Christian influence in their life. So I think her philosophy is humanistic, believing children should not be exposed to any religion, so they can make their minds up when they become adults. It is sad, but my daughter seems a lot like Katy Perry and the reality must be that she and many other PK's never experienced true salvation.

Therefore I'm convinced of Scripture and what I have seen in many religious social clubs that call themselves Churches, that most of what is called Christianity is far from what Church Ministry is suppose to be. What I mostly see is a sad imitation of what Jesus what training His disciples to spread throughout the known world. For that reason most of what has been said above does not surprise me. Honestly, is the divorce rate for Christians the same or worse than what it is for non-Christian people? I seriously doubt it, but this is what we are told to believe. The truth is, out of all the people I have known in Christian Ministry and I'm thinking of possibly over a 1,000 Christian people, I only know of somewhere around a dozen people who I'm sure are Christians to experience divorce, with my brother and sister being the first 2. Now when I think of non-Christian distant or past family members, it would seem like half of them have been divorced one or two times. So I think a lot of the statistics and percentages cited by Chrisma News.Com are really bogus.

I am a PK and I have recently found myself in a terrible position where my sins have caught up with me. I am trying to rebuild myself but it's just so hard. I am seeking any advice people want to offer. I have fallen short of god by getting into sexual relationships as a young teen. I know that I don't want to go down the same route as KP but i struggling with the consequences of my actions. I have ruined my relationship with my family. My parents are extremely angry at me. I don't know if i can ever get out of this whole. I seeked out this mistake and I regret it completely.

Hi PK. God is more concerned about your future than He is your past. When we repent and turn to Him we find His forgiveness. This doesn't mean we won't have to deal with the scars and damage control from our sins, but it does mean we can have a new start which includes moving past our past. You are not alone. We have all messed up. It's never too late. Praying with you for today to be the start of a brand new beginning for you and that your relationships will be restored.

I'm a PK and I stopped going to church four years ago because I was sick of getting bullied. Even in churches where my dad wasn't the pastor (we've been to far too many to keep count) I was always bullied. People think of PKs as toys they can play with rather than human beings to be respected. To them, we have no feelings and never struggle with anything.

Anne, thanks for sharing. I am a PK as well and understand where you are coming from. I do hope God will lead you to a good church filled with good people who will encourage and support you rather than trying to tear you down. Be encouraged. God loves you and knows all about it.

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