Monday, December 3, 2012

Pastor's kids aren't unpaid ministry team members


I've been reflecting recently on a common issue that comes up when chatting to adult PK's.  A lot of fantastic pastor's children are involved with the uni ministry. It is always a great privilege to meet them.  We feel a strong affinity since both of us are PK's too.

The issue that keeps coming up is how hard it is for adult PK's to leave their parent's church.  Especially when they are heavily involved.  They might help with the music, or help run the youth group or teach Sunday School.  And it is tough in a small church.  You need the people power to keep the show on the road and it becomes easy to rely on your capable children who have grown up knowing instinctively what to do.  As committed Christians themselves they feel the burden of the responsibility too.

I have come to feel strongly that pastors need to free their adult children to go to another church or to serve in ministries where they choose.  I actually think that it is vitally important that they are freed to make that choice without the burden of obligation.  It can be very difficult for PK's to know whether their faith is actually their own or just a faith that has developed because of the family business they've grown up in.

Both Rowan and I are thankful for not feeling that our parents wanted to keep us in their churches for their own purposes.  We both knew the needs of the small churches our parents worked in.  We were both heavily involved.  But when the time came for each of us to move on for different reasons we felt free.

PK's didn't sign up for the ministry gig.  You get born into it and you can't assume your kids are unpaid members of the ministry team.  Encourage them to serve - sure.  But free them up to be their own Christian person.

2 comments:

Tamie said...

Hi Jenny

Do you have suggestions about how to do this?

My experience is that my parents didn't expect me to be involved in or support their ministries and certainly encouraged me to be my own Christian person and pursue my own life and ministry. But I still felt like I was abandoning them when I did do my own thing.

(Perhaps that's just a result of being the responsible first-born, then again, maybe not.)

Do you have any tips?

Jenny said...

Hi Tamie, of course it is OK to feel sad and torn about leaving. Neither of us left our home churches lightly.

But you weren't really going to just do your 'own thing'. You were leaving to serve God's people in another place. I think that's what I like to see encouraged. An excitement that my Christian child is keen to serve somewhere else, even if it isn't in my patch.

And that's a challenge. To not become so consumed by the needs of our own ministry that you are unable to remain outward looking.