There are a lot of misconceptions or opinions of what it must be like to be the child of a pastor growing up.
Of course there was the moving around and the struggles of trying to find new friends that I faced whenever we moved because of my Dad accepting the call to pastor a church.
I got to meet a lot of people from different churches but never developed lasting relationships with very many of them. That’s not to say that my parents didn’t develop strong bonds to all of the people they met. I was also able to see how churches operate, some good and others not so good. I’ve been in churches where the people go out of their way to show the love of Christ and others where the people were dead set on their traditions and unwilling to change.
I’m not quite sure why I had trouble making friends wherever we moved to but if I had to choose which move was the hardest it would have to be when we moved from my “hometown” in Indiana where I was born to Michigan in the summer of 1989.
During my 6th grade year preceding the move, I had just experienced my first crush. I was shy and awkward, but the next year I was going to make sure that Jessica knew that I liked her. Of course I probably only spoke a total of 10 words to her throughout that whole year and didn’t know a thing about her, but none of that mattered.
My Dad accepted the call to pastor a church in St. Joseph, MI and we moved one day before my birthday. When we finally were moved, I sat down and wrote her a letter and intended on mailing it. I don’t know where I was going to find her address. I sat on the idea of mailing it to her for almost a year, until I finally decided it was probably not going to work and that too much time had passed.
I often wondered what would’ve happened if we hadn’t moved. Would I have worked up the courage to talk to her and make my “feelings” for her known? As expected, the feelings faded and so did my short-lived dreams of a would be relationship.
When we moved to Michigan, I basically had two friends that I mainly hung out with. Dan and Willy.
One of the misconceptions of pks is that they’re rebellious. I don’t know what causes this to be believed. Maybe the statistics show this to be true or maybe it’s just one of those beliefs that just stuck. I certainly can’t say that I didn’t have my moments.
Willy and I were notorious for sneaking downstairs during the middle of my Dad’s sermons and messing around during the service. It was just “fun” because we always believed no one noticed that we were gone for the majority of the service.
We always planned it out with the best possible chance of not making it obvious that we were skipping out on church. We would always sit in the very back of the sanctuary and one of us would leave a few minutes before the other. We thought we were pretty clever.
We didn’t always leave the service to play around. If you could have fun during the message without getting caught, then that was more of a challenge. Of course, as always, I got caught. Not just in trouble when I got home. My Dad had something in mind that would be much more effective. Calling me by name in the middle of his message wasn’t pleasant at all, but it definitely got my attention. I wish I could say that I never goofed off in church again, but at least I knew that my Dad was keeping an eye on me.
Of course there were certain traits that went along with being a pk. Like knowing all the answers in Sunday School and VBS and not just the Sunday School answer. Or how about always winning Bible drills. Well, most of the time I won them.
With all that said, I couldn’t have chosen a better environment to grow up in than in the church. I wouldn’t trade being a pk for anything and I am very blessed to have a Father who serves and obeys God, loves his family and holds tight to his convictions and beliefs so much that he’s had to make a lot of very hard choices.
God’s hand was evident in every move and every step of faith that our family had to take and He used it all for our good and His glory.
I wouldn’t trade any of the pain that I experienced growing up, no matter how hard it was, to be brought up any differently or to have been part of any other family.