The Pastor’s Kid:
What It’s Like and How to Help
by Barnabas Piper
“You have to watch out for that boy,” the old saying goes. “He is a pastor’s kid.” Many times it is said in jest, and sometimes we truly mean it, but is it fair to single out someone just because their dad is a pastor? If they don’t toe the line and obey the law, “What a shame! He was raised better than that.”
It sounds like an immense amount of pressure to me, and while my father wasn’t a pastor, my grandfather was. And now I have children who will be able to say they are pastor’s kids. They have the right to remain silent because everything they do and say can, and will, be used against them as a sermon illustration.
Barnabas Piper is the son of well-known pastor John Piper. John has written best-selling books and has spoken on some of the world’s biggest stages. Barnabas was always the pastor’s kid. The Pastor’s Kid is a tell-all, leave no stone unturned book about the struggles of being a pastor’s kid and how knowing these struggles can help us reach those that weigh heavy under that moniker.
As you read this book you will hear Piper’s stories, as well as quotes from other “PKs” that tell just how difficult it is growing up in a home where your father is a pastor. But as one review on the book cover says, “Every churchgoer should read this book.” PKs are just broken people like the rest of us.
My thoughts: I am not a pastor’s kid, but I do know what it is like to live my life in the shadow of my pastor grandfather. When I first started preaching, I could hear people saying, “If you are like your grandfather, you will be a good one.” I love and respect my grandfather, but I learned a long time ago that I have to be me, and my walk with God has to be just that — MY walk with God. Piper holds back nothing as he calls us out on how we treat PKs differently from other people and what damaging effects that has on someone’s spiritual walk.
The most interesting part of the book for me was when Piper pointed out something that I had never thought of. When a preacher gets married, his wife knows to expect that they will be in ministry together. But the children do not get a choice. It was not their choice for dad to have Jesus “as a boss.” The next time we see a pastor’s kid doing something we don’t deem appropriate for them, let’s give them grace and realize their walk with God is not guaranteed because Dad is a pastor.
Ricky Statham is director at Oneonta Public Library. Visit the library Monday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., to check out this or another great book.