9 Reasons Pastors’ Kids Stray

Girl staring up to a dark sky

As we continue our theme on PK’s this month, I would like to share an article by Chuck Lawless at Church Leaders on “9 Reasons Pastor’s Kids Stray.”

Over my 20 years of teaching, I’ve talked with a lot of “PKs” who struggled at some point in their Christian walk. When I’ve asked them why they think they struggled, here are some of the reasons they’ve told me:

  1. They’re weren’t (and aren’t) perfect. Everybody knows that truth, but some church folks expect PKs to live differently. All of us struggle because we’re still in the process of growing. We’re all fallen.
  2. Their church told them the way they should live, but nobody personally helped them do so. The PKs knew what others expected of them, but nobody—including their parents, too often—actually invested in them as mentors.
  3. They weren’t sure how to handle their feelings when their pastor/parent seemed too busy for them.To not speak up left them lonely, but to speak up made them feel selfish. After all, pastors do stuff for others that really matters.
  4. They didn’t tell anybody when their struggles started.They sometimes felt like they had no one to tell. In other cases, they were too embarrassed to tell—or they thought they’d embarrass their family by their honesty.
  5. They weren’t sure how to handle temptation when it overwhelmed them. For many of these PKs, those temptations became most powerful during their teenage or college years. The teachings of their childhood had not adequately prepared them to deal with the onslaught of sinful opportunities that the world offers.
  6. They weren’t saved yet. They may have thought they were, but some didn’t learn until years later what salvation really means.
  7. They just wanted to experiment. Sin’s like that sometimes. It’s alluring. It pulls at the heart, even for people raised in a Christian home. Experimentation, though, can lead to trouble—as some of these PKs learned.
  8. They were rebelling against the church. It’s easy to do that, especially if the church “family” creates anguish for your family. Anger and defensiveness can lead to rebellion and sin.
  9. They followed the lead of their church friends. To be frank, I’ve met few PKs who rebelled because of the influence of their non-believing friends. Much of the time, that influence was church friends who hid their sin.

Here’s the good news. Most of the PKs I’ve talked with came through their struggles and are now walking with God. I pray that’s the case with yours.

I’m sure you could probably add to this list of 9 reasons. We would love to hear from you with (any ideas or suggestions you may have as we walk this journey) to help PK’s remain healthy, emotionally and spiritually.

Click here to read the original blog on ChurchLeaders.com

Dr. Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Dean of Graduate Studies, and Vice-President for Graduate Studies and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary, in addition to serving as Team Leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board. Dr. Lawless served as pastor of two Ohio churches prior to joining the Southern Seminary faculty in 1996. He received a B.S. degree from Cumberland College and M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary. He is the author of eight works, including “Membership Matters,” and “Spiritual Warfare,” and has contributed numerous articles to denominational periodicals.  He and his wife Pam have been married for more than 20 years and reside in Wake Forest, NC.

About Rodetta Cook

Rodetta Cook has been a pastor’s wife for 40 years. She and her husband, Ron, have actively served the Lord together in ministry during the entire time and are co-founders of Care for Pastors. She understands the expectations, loneliness and how hard it is to find balance in ministry as a pastor’s wife. Rodetta also leads the pastor’s wives initiative at Care for Pastors called The Confidante and ministers to hundreds of wives each week. She strives to share blogs with other pastors’ wives that will help them in their ministry walk.

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