Growing Up as a Minister's Kid...the Good...the Bad...the Ugly

I am a P.K. (pastor's kid). Which means I grew up in church. I was there every time the doors were open and many times when the doors weren't open.  

I attended church on Sunday morning. Sunday night.  Wednesday night. Friday night youth activities. Week long revivals.

Other times, I was there for special events, programs like VBS, missions conferences, summer camps and more. 

And yes, as a kid, there were times that I didn’t want to be at church.

Especially Sunday nights. Sunday nights were when the “Wonderful World of Disney” came on television…right in the middle of the p.m. service. There was no on demand television back then. You simply had to miss the show if you went to church.

Then there was the Sunday night when my beloved Dallas Cowboys were playing in the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos. I was desperate to not miss the game, so I got “sick” that afternoon and was able to stay home and watch the game. 

In spite of missing many of my favorite television shows due to being at church, I grew up to love Jesus and His church. In fact, for over 33 years, I have served full-time in children’s and family ministry. During this time, I have watched ministers' kids grow up in church and continue to love and serve Jesus as adults. I have also seen ministers' kids grow up in church and then walk away as soon as they had the freedom to do so.

I have spent a lot of time pondering this. I have studied the statistics and research. I have talked with pastors and other church leaders. I have watched kids grow up in real time. As I have been going through this process, some big questions came to the forefront. 

What causes some ministers' kids to grow up and continue to follow Jesus for a lifetime, while others do not? 

What influences are in the mix?

What home situations did the kids grow up in? 

How big of a part do parents play in kids and students following Jesus for a lifetime?

The pursuit for the answers to these questions took me to the greatest parenting and discipleship resource ever - God’s Word. As I searched God’s Word, the Holy Spirit led me to a passage that would give me the answers I had been looking for.

Around the same time I was studying this passage of Scripture, a report surfaced that revealed the top reasons why kids grow up and walk away from the church and even the faith.  As I put the Bible passage and the research stats side-by-side, it was startling. The reasons kids have abandoned the church and the faith are the same reasons that the Bible says people will walk away.

In my newest book, Fertile to see kids' faith grow and flourish for a lifetime, I share the three biggest reasons why kids walk away from the church and even the faith in many instances.  

I'll take you on a journey through the good, bad and ugly of being a minister's kid.  We'll talk about how we can see minister's kids grow up to love Jesus.  I believe if we will share and live this out with the kids in our lives, we can see many more fall in love with Jesus for a lifetime.

Here's a couple of sneak peeks.  These are quotes from minister's kids. 

“My father has ministered all 47 years of my life. Church was always first and still is. Don’t miss church for a ball game, etc. Meanwhile,no family time and no time for our personal interests.  Now, I can’t stand church.”

“I hate the fact that you’re looked at with a stronger eye. When I was younger, I’d do dumb, immature stuff just like all the other kids. Why? Because I was a dumb, immature kid - like all the others. But because I was the PK, I’d always get a stronger scolding. With each one,I’d get more and more bitter.” 

We are in a war for the heart, mind and soul of the next generation. We must share the truth of God’s Word with them and model what it means to live that out.

Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Deuteronomy 4:9
We must help the next generation truly know Jesus and fall deeply in love with Him and His church. We must equip the next generation to make wise decisions as they navigate a post-Christian culture.

As I share some of the reasons why ministers' kids grow up in church and then walk away, it may be overwhelming.  But don’t worry, I am going to also share how we can prevent this from happening as we apply God’s Word to our situations and context.

My heart’s desire is that every single ministers' kid will grow up to love and follow Jesus for a lifetime. And not just survive, but thrive in their relationship with Jesus and His church. 

p.s. To learn more about this I am providing you with two resources:

The book - Fertile to see kids' faith grow and flourish for a lifetime.  Available at this link.

A live webinar about how to help ministers' kids follow Jesus.   Happens on Thursday, July 28th. Available at this link.  When you sign up for the webinar, you get the book for free ($17 value).

For the next generation of minister's kids!