What kind of challenges do you face raising preacher’s kids?
It’s hard to remember that they are kids and they are not as far along in their spiritual growth a I am. I need to take the time to train them in the Lord at home intentionally and prayerfully. —Rachel Schmoyer
Having people understand that salvation is personal and individual. And people don’t look at our kids as normal kids. So we have to navigate our children and encourage them on a different scale because they face different challenges than other kids. —Pastor Pablo Catala
Being criticized by others for your kids not being perfect, and having your own feelings of frustration for your kids not being perfect. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer
The expectations put on my children to behave and act a certain way by people in the church was quite a burden to me—honestly one of the hardest things for me to face entering the ministry. Leaving a home church where my kids had family to love on them for who they were and not expect them to act like angels but allowed them to be kids—to a church where adults would yell at them or try to correct them, even if I was right there and had a situation under control, was a total shock. The church we took over pastoring had no small children for quite a while before we came, so they were not used to children being children. I learned to talk to women privately, and my husband to the men, and we explained that our children were our responsibility and that we were accountable to God for how we raised them. That they did not need that burden on themselves, and God will not hold them responsible for our children.
Over time this became much better and as new converts and their children began attending, the church learned to have more grace and realized our kids were actually quite well behaved. I also would like to say that people’s expectations do not mean a pastor or pastor’s wife, or any parent for that matter, need to change to please people’s expectations, but aim to please God. We will give an account to God, not men. Having a little grace toward all the children in the church and treating them the same regardless of their parent’s position would help pastor’s kids to not be resentful later on in life toward the ministry or people. —Anonymous, Missionaries to Kathmandu, Nepal
People expect perfection and have no idea the price that preacher’s kids pay—sharing their parents, their homes, their lives, with the people of the church. They feel they must follow in their parents footsteps and find it hard to be individuals. To be unique. To think independently. People expect them to be clones and to mimic the “party line!” Ha! Oh I could tell you stories . . . —Janet Foley
A Preacher’s Kid Speaks~Pastor John Foley
What was it like being raised as the preacher’s kid, (PK)? What are some the pros and cons?
Pastor John Foley: I was into it. I liked knowing my dad/parents and our family were doing something important with our lives. I enjoyed getting to meet all the pastors and speakers. They were always pretty fascinating people.
The con may be that your dad doesn’t get to clock out and you can end up moving around a lot.
Pro: You get to see a lot of places and have a really well rounded experience in life—probably a much broader view of life and the world having moved around and been around so many kinds of people.
How was your childhood as a PK different from other children?
Life was about more than just us as a family. We did family stuff but it was a life centered around other people—how they were doing and outreach. We didn’t take a week long vacation that I can remember, maybe once as a visit to see family that included preaching at a church while we were there?
Do you feel you were treated differently as a PK than other children in church by adults and by your peers when you were growing up?
Sometimes. I feel like people were looking out for me and I feel like they did respect me because of who my father was. Sometimes I would test pastors and not tell them I was my father’s child to see if they would still take time for me. Probably not he best thing to do but…I remember doing that.
You’ve been privileged to be raised by godly parents. Do you have any advice for the youth who are PKs and also for the Church Kid?
Appreciate that your life is meaningful, everything you do has a purpose beyond just existence and entertainment. You are living a life that even as a child is making eternal impact. Be a blessing to your parents, it’s a ministry you can serve in. Be a blessing to other families and other kids—it will give those families hope for themselves.
Do you have any words of encouragement for pastors and wives raising kids in the ministry, especially to those who have prodigals?
There are seeds sown that will never leave them. God is faithful. Rest in Him and knowing that you did as best as you knew at the time. There are no perfect parents and even the best of parents will have kids that backslide. Just live in confidence that God is still in charge. Also, life has a way of showing them that so many of things you taught them were true.
Is there anything else you would like to say to the Church about PKs?
Just protect them, they may not know how they can hurt their parents testimony. Take the time to love them as a way to love your pastor and his wife and appreciate them. Build a relationship so that they know you care about them.
Is there anything you would like to say to your parents, or tell us about your parents?
My parents were and are the best. Wouldn’t trade them for the world. Wonderful examples of how pastoring should go and how parents should be. I would not be here without them—in more ways than one!
Pastor John Foley and his wife, Sophie, and their four children pastor in Malden Ma, just outside of Boston at:
37 Florence Street, Malden, MA, 02148, United States (781)661-8128
*I will be continuing my series of interviews with pastors and pastors wives for a few days into December.
Next up: Setting the Record Straight: A Day in the Life of a Pastor
**It would bless these pastors and pastor’s wives, myself, and others, if you would please share these articles.
Prior Posts in 2018 Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives:
Part 3: Life as a Pastor’s Wife
Part 1: If My People #heroesamongus
You can read part 1 of my 2018 series of interviews with pastors & pastor’s wives, If My People, HERE
Pastor Obermeyer is doing his part to help combat Biblical illiteracy and ignorance. You can check out his brand new Sonshine Institute, an online learning center bringing you great content on a variety of subjects.
Proceeds from the Sonshine Institute help continue to serve needs in Bible teaching, counseling, sexual abuse, and other outreaches.
You can also check our Pastor Obermeyer’s blog here: ministry.obiehouse.com
***Of The Word Ministries—Ministry for Pastors
Pastoral coaching with a primary focus on encouraging pastors in their personal spiritual development. Looking beyond the problems a Pastor faces to show how personal devotion to God’s Word is always their foundation. Offered free of charge. Donations to the ministry gratefully accepted. Contact at:
email@example.com Twitter: @OfTheWord
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Text the word PASTOR to 74574 to sign up to receive either daily or weekly prayer reminders with suggestions for praying for your pastor and a matching scripture reference via text message.
Check out Energize Ministries
A ministry dedicated to motivating and educating churches to care for and encourage their pastors and families. Energize ministries offers encouraging articles and podcasts for ministers and their families, resources to equip and opportunities for getaways so they can be refreshed.
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