I've been a pastor's kid (PK) for more than half of my life. So it was at a young age that I learned how to share my dad with more people than just my siblings. But this article isn't going to be about all the complaints I've had growing up as a PK (and trust me, there are many). There's already enough negativity associated with having this label. Instead, I want to highlight all the things I love about being a PK.
I love and am thankful for growing up in such a hospitable home. As the pastor's family, we have had to take a lot of people in over the years. Whether they were missionaries or other pastors, or if they were people who had nowhere else to go, we were taught at a young age to humbly open our doors for anyone who needs it.
On top of that, my house has always been the go-to house for hangouts, sleepovers, and birthday parties. This was especially fun when I was a teenager because I never had to leave the comfort of my own home to have fun. This has shaped a lot of my views on what a home actually is, and it helps me look forward to the day I have my own family in a home I hope to bring up one just as hospitable and loving as the one I've had the privilege of growing up in.
I love and am thankful for the one-on-ones with my pastor. Because in reality, he's my dad too. So many people struggle in their churches with being able to connect with their pastors. On the flip side, even more people have grown up without a father present in their lives. Somehow, I've ended up with like a two-in-one package deal. I think we can all agree that parents will brag about their children to whomever gives them a listening ear. However, parents need a little credit too, especially when they work in ministry.
Over the years, our church has gone through various ups and downs. There were happy times as well as not so happy times. But through it all, just like in every other year of my life, my dad comes home at the end of the day ready to tackle on the next family night. Whether it's dinner at Polcari's, a walk around Revere Beach, or simply a lazy day making fondue and watching movies at home, he is never too busy to be our father and live out what he preaches on Sunday mornings. And when my siblings and I have some kind of deep spiritual questions in mind? He's available to answer them for us 24/7.
I love and am thankful for growing up and serving in church. Not a lot of people my age can say they regularly go (and like going) to church every Sunday. A smaller percentage can say they have had their first (unofficial) job at church. An even smaller percentage than that can say they took part in starting a brand new church.
Going to church has become much more than just a routine or some boring activity my parents force me to do. I actually look forward to going because it's had such an impact on my life growing up. Some of my best memories were made in church or with people from church. Some of those memories include helping my parents clean up after the service, setting up and tearing down for events, and doing pretty much any other odd job that people often overlook. But then there are the super fun aspects that come with planting a church. At first, there were not a lot of people to do everything that needed to be done, so growing up I got to explore every single one of my skills and talents. I've been part of the band, the welcome committee, the Sunday school teaching rotation, and so much else that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do had I grown up outside of church. How's that for a resume?
I love and am thankful for all the hardships. I'm not going to sugarcoat anything and say that growing up a pastor's kid is all rainbows and unicorns. In fact, my best friend tells me all the time that she doesn't know how we do it because she sees how much we struggle sometimes. It's especially difficult when it dawns on us that we didn't choose to be the pastor's family; that's just how life happened. But if I ever had the opportunity to change that, I wouldn't. Being a pastor's kid has put me through situations that I wouldn't wish upon anybody. But it has also pushed me to learn how to show grace, forgiveness, and love. Fellow PK friends of mine sometimes ask me why I enjoy being part of my dad's ministry so much. I mean, we're supposed to hate it right? Being a PK is uncool. But it's because I've chosen to accept my role in the church rather than rebel against it, that I've been able to find the utmost joy even in the midst of struggling.
I love and am thankful for getting to meet new people. I think it's safe to say most pastor families have a wide range of connections throughout. Over the years, I have met the most amazing people with the kindest hearts. There have been camps, day trips, events, and cookouts that have made every season incredibly special.
A family favorite is the church planters dinner we have during Christmastime. It's a night where all the pastors and their families can come together to eat, socialize, and get some presents as encouragement to keep going. It's become tradition for my siblings and I to rally up our friends to take care of the kids during the dinner. We rehearse "Jingle Bells" for them to sing at the end of the night, and every year we look forward to seeing the kids and their parents. It's comforting to know that, yes, being a pastor family can be weird, but there are so many of us out there that we can delight in our similarities, share our struggles, and support each other through thick and thin. There's family, and then there's church family. I'm really happy to have both.
The list goes on and on about why I love being a PK. It definitely is a challenging and totally exciting lifestyle. I learn a lot from it every day, and as I spend a few months away from home this semester, I can take everything I have learned and continue to apply it to my life. For the first time in a long time, I am going to a church where my family isn't in the spotlight. Where I go to on Sunday mornings just before service starts and have no idea what the message is going to be about. Where I sit on a pew, feeling strange that there isn't someone asking me to fold a bulletin or talk to that new girl or step in for "so and so" because they couldn't make it to church today.
It's also a time when I'm meeting people who know me only by my first name. Kind of cool, kind of scary. The, "wait, you're a pastor's kid?" reaction isn't new when I'm chatting with friends from school, but when I'm at church and someone says that, it blows my mind every time. Call it a perk, or call it a problem, but I just love being the pastor's daughter.