Sep 16, 2019

Being a Pastor’s Kid

Pastor’s kid. PK. Son of a preacher man. All names I have been called my entire life. Being a PK has its many challenges, obstacles, and stereotypes to overcome. My opinion is that there are two different stereotypes: in one, they are perfectly angelic role models, in the other they are rebels at the opposite extreme. My story places me as a balance in between.

My dad is a great man. I consider him one of my greatest role models, and even one of my heroes. He has always led by example and shown me how to be a successful Christian man in a world filled with sin. I believe everyone needs a father. Despite my dad spending massive amounts of time and energy investing in leaders and congregations in ministry for my entire life, I never felt like he neglected me as his son. In fact, on the contrary, I felt loved by him in a way that a father ought to love his son, even as he loves others as their pastor. I am glad and proud that my dad is a pastor, but I am more thankful and proud that he is always just my dad. My dad has spent nearly his entire ministerial career with the same church, in fact, he has been with the same church a full year longer than I have been alive. So, I believe I am one of the few that can actually say I have grown up in church.

I think most PKs would agree that you are often under a microscope. Everybody with any type of connection to your church is watching your every move. You have to be ready to “perform” at a moment’s notice. I always found it stressful, but necessary to perform at church. Deep down I knew I was normal and was allowed to be myself, but I never wanted my actions or my struggles to be seen as a failure for my dad. I never wanted to disappoint him. I never wanted the congregation or people visiting to think, “How can that pastor minister to me, if he can’t even control or minister to his son.” Therefore, I always attended Bible studies, Sunday School, Wednesday night youth groups, etc., without ever voicing my true struggles. So, I tried my best to live out that first stereotype by being the perfectly angelic role model.

Being the youngest in my family, always made me feel like I was living in the shadows. My dad is a preacher, my mom is a teacher, and my sister is three years older and was always more driven than I. At church I was always known as Victor’s son. At school I was either known as Theresa’s son, or Joy’s brother. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school, when I started to live “separate” lives. I started experimenting with life outside church. I had received my driver’s license, my parents started letting me forge my own path. My sister had gone off to college, and for the first time I was experiencing freedom. It was my last three years in high school that I lived the stereotype of the rebel.

I lived two lives. I put on the church mask on Sunday and Wednesday, and the rebel mask all other days. I had church friends and non-church friends. I would do the godly thing at church and would do several ungodly things during the week. I enjoyed the freedom. I enjoyed the adrenaline of experimentation. However, just like anyone who goes down a path of destruction, I hit rock bottom. I became angry and disappointed with myself. I withdrew from everything that had become familiar. I didn’t know who I was or what I was going to do next. I built up the courage to talk to my dad. He reminded me who I was; I am a child of God. He reminded me that God never turns His back on His people. He drilled Proverbs 3:5-6 into my head:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

My mom would pray Psalms 37:4 over me. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” I rededicated my life to Christ the summer before my senior year of high school. I am thankful for my struggles and thankful for the amazing grace of God.

To all the PKs that are struggling: it’s okay to struggle, and more importantly, it’s okay to voice those struggles at church. Looking back now, I wish I would have. To all the congregations out there: don’t categorize children as preacher’s kids. View them as just a kid whose dad also happens to be a pastor. Help guide them to living a Christian life and not the reason why they have to perform. Finally, to all the pastors: try to not become a live-in, full-time pastor who treats his kids like a member of his congregation. Care about their struggles as much as you do their salvation. Show the love of God to your children. Help them see their present struggles as God’s concern. Sit down with your children, talk to them, and show them grace. Simply just be a dad.

By <a href="https://pastorskids.org/author/landon-miller/" target="_self">Landon Miller</a>

By Landon Miller

Landon Miller was born and raised in Amarillo, TX. Landon has a Bachelor’s degree in Recreational Management from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, TX. He and his wife Erin currently reside in Amarillo where they attend Paramount Baptist Church. Erin is a teacher and Landon is an activity director for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Landon and Erin are excited to finalize the adoption of their son in October.