Ryan is the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory, NC. He is the host of the "In The Room" podcast, and the author of 8 Hours, Or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster.  

5 Ways To Love Your Pastor's Kids

5 Ways To Love Your Pastor's Kids

Having a pastor for a dad has been a nightmare for many kids. Sadly, many pastors are careful preachers, but crappy dads. Sometimes, it is not the pastor-dad's fault, but an overbearing, unhelpful, and hurtful congregation. 

My dad was not a pastor, but I had enough friends who had a pastor for a dad to know that it’s not easy. This is a critical issue for me as parent of three kids and a pastor of a young church. I want them to love Jesus. I want them to love me. I want them to love the Church. You may not attend my church, but if you read my blog, you most likely attend some church. So, here are five ways you can help love your pastor’s kids.

1. Pray for them faithfully.

Your pastor’s family experiences a rare breed of spiritual attack. One of the most vital ways to serve your pastor and his kids is to pray for them faithfully. If He hasn’t yet, pray that God would open their hearts to place their faith in Jesus. Pray that God would protect them from spiritual attack. Pray that God would give them a strong relationship with their mom and dad. Pray that they would love the church and be who God made them to be. Which brings us to number two.

2. Let them be who they are.

There is no job description for your pastor’s kids. There is no one personality that God forms in the children of pastors. My kids, for instance, are shy around people they don’t know. That means when people at church come up to say “hello” to them, they often hide behind my leg. Your pastor’s children may be super outgoing and extroverted. If that’s the case, awesome. But if they’re shy, don’t push them, and don’t take it personally if they aren't ready to be your bestie just yet.

3. Treat them like kids.

Often times the pastor’s kids are placed on a pedestal. They are held to an impossibly high standard that no other child in the church is held to. This is unfair, unhelpful, and unbiblical. Just because their dad is your pastor, does not mean that they are more holy. They’re just kids. Let them make mistakes. Encourage them. Be patient with them. Don’t judge them. Just let them be kids.

4. Remember they aren’t the church’s kids.

This is huge! You hear stories about them and they’re the source of many illustrations, but don’t forget that you don’t know them and they certainly don’t know you. I’ve had people, kind and loving people, come up to me after a service and engage my kids around some illustration about them I just used. It usually makes them feel awkward and uncomfortable (provided they don’t know the person). I know people mean well, but it’s so important we don’t assume an intimacy that doesn’t exist.

5. Don’t criticize their dad. 

No pastor is perfect - especially the one writing this. Every pastor will make mistakes that will most likely be talked about in the homes of his people. If you have kids, please be careful not to criticize your pastor in front of them. The last thing your pastor’s kid needs to hear through his or her friends is that the friend's parents are criticizing their dad. Take criticism to him, not them.

I’m blessed to pastor a church that loves and prays for my kids regularly. Nothing blesses me more than the way my church loves my family well. Unfortunately, my case is rare and many pastor’s kids are taken for granted, mistreated, and abused. Let’s change this. Let’s make it an amazing privilege and great gift to be a pastor’s kid. Together, by God’s grace, we can make the term “pastor’s kid” a positive one, instead of the pejorative title it’s become. 

 

What are some other ways to love your pastor’s kids? Join the conversation and leave a comment here…

 

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