rebelling against low expectations

My Life as a Pastor’s Kid – Danielle’s Story


My story of being a pastor’s kid is difficult to write in isolation because it is tightly interwoven with the entirety of my life, and bleeds into so many other aspects of my journey.

Often when I am in an existential mood, I sift through the personality traits or struggles unique to me and try to trace them back to this facet of my life. Pastor’s daughter.

How does that shape me differently than any other member of a family with any other father’s vocation?

My life has been a good one.

I have no doubt that being a daughter of a pastor comes along with some ‘perks’ — I’ve been privileged to see the inner workings of the leadership as the elders move towards new ministries. I have met and spoken to prolific, renowned pastors whose sole reason for remembering me is my last name. I’ve attended family camps of more churches than I can remember and as a result have met diverse people with endless true-life stories.

But, like life and this groaning creation, nothing is left untouched by the Fall.


My father’s ministry is made up of humans — images of God thoroughly ravished with sin — and he is called to be actively involved in lives for the good of the church. It’s a messy business.

There are times that he comes home and anyone can read the empathy on his face from his listening to the brokenness of others.

There are times when he doesn’t acknowledge my questions because in his mind he is still in his counseling room, or in a hospital, or at the funeral of a little boy.

There were times when I was near-tears, yet I would shrink back from telling him why because the laments of a teenage girl seem petty when he has come from counseling a family torn asunder.

At a sensitive age, I was disturbed at the pervasiveness of such brokenness, but now I understand it is a blessing to have grown up seeing the human struggle — and redemption — in such a real, important way.

One remark I’ve often heard from pastor’s kids is a feeling of being held to a higher standard, but I would be underestimating the grace and sympathy of my church family to say that I felt the same.

If anything, my pride rendered me incapable of being honest. I was afraid if I was completely open about my sinful struggles and times of doubt, it would reflect badly upon my father.

I held back because I thought if somebody found out we were not a fruit-of-the-spirit family all the time, that person would not be able to respect my father in the pulpit.

This battle between fierce loyalty and honesty gunned me down for years, until I was able to realize the truth of James 5:16 — that where there is honesty among community, there is healing.

More than being a good representative of my family, God desires me to be a good representative of Christ. That is freeing, because it means that I am no different than any other redeemed sinner, seeking God on a journey Home.

I am sure my story on this subject differs from others’, but mine rests on the kind of pastor my dad is.

I remember when our church once went through a split, and young as I was, I understood what slander was. It ached to the depth of my being- hearing the car pull in late at night, the steady step of my dad, the low voices emanating from my parent’s room.

It was all too much for me so I draped my blanket over my shoulders and tapped on my parent’s door. My ten year old vocabulary lacked the words needed to sufficiently represent my feelings, and I said a feeble, “Dad, I’m sorry people hurt you.” Though it was late and my father tired, he sat on the edge of his bed with me and explained to me the necessity of people following their Biblical convictions, even if it meant their leaving the church or causing minor hurts.

And that’s the kind of man my pastor is. A good one. That’s the kind of man my dad is. A good one. He just happens, for me, to be one and the same, and I wouldn’t change that for all the world.

Question: Have you grown up as a Pastor’s Kid? How does your story compare to Danielle’s? There are currently __ Comments.

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About the author

Danielle Van Meter

is a missionary kid born and raised in South Africa, with a courageous father, wise mom, and four best friends she gets to call older sisters. She is working to finish high school in preparation for seeking adventure, defending the marginalized, and putting Ephesians into practice within a church community. She has a deep aspiration to be a novelist and a vague infatuation with road-trips.


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  • I’m a pastor’s kid and can appreciate/relate to a lot of this! I can truly say that I love being in this position. Of course, there are hard times. And when the ministry is hard, it always effects family life. Recently, I’ve realized that simply praying and trying to blessing my dad in little things at home can greatly encourage him when he’s dealing with stressful/difficult issues at church.
    Thanks for this post!

    • It can be difficult- at times stifling- to deal with those hard times when it affects both your family and your community but it’s also a unique situation that has so many blessings. What a great reminder to pray for our dads. Thanks for the comment, Hannah!

  • Hey! Thanks, I’m a P.K. too. I’ve so often felt the same way! Thank you so much for writing this!

    • I’m glad that this article meant something to you. Thank you for your kind words, Mykah!

  • This is great! I love how what you said about life “But, like life and this groaning creation, nothing is left untouched by the Fall.” Love that.

    • I guess the encouraging part about that is another truth- there is not a place that Redemption cannot reach. Thanks for commenting, Libby!

  • I completely relate! I am a Pastor’s daughter and have felt the same kinds of things! With the limited amount of other PKs I have met, it seemed like I was the only one who felt like this. Thank-you so much for sharing! Knowing some one else has broken through, and opened up about themselves gives me the inspiration to do the same!

    • I’m so glad you feel the same way, Samantha! Vulnerability is scary and usually uncomfortable, but I’ve learned that it’s the way community was created to work. Very few circumstances in life are you the only one- I think you’ll be surprised by how many people who feel the same way will be influenced by your bravery. Thank you for your comment!

  • For 18 years, one of my biggest struggle being a Pastor’s kid is that I don’t have close friends in our home church. It’s mostly someone from neighboring churches or fellow Pastor’s kids from hundreds of kilometers away because I’m scared that if I vent my feelings and struggles to them they’d think less of my dad and respect him less on the pulpit. It’s something I need to work on really. Thank you for this. Blessed.

    • I understand completely. I didn’t have close friends in my church until very recently, and it was frustrating since I’m one of those people who feel like they need to talk everything through. There is something to be said about being wise in who we choose to tell our struggles to, and of course doing it in pure speech, but it is always sanctifying to be honest in our local church community. I need to work on this too. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Eunice, I pray you would find a godly friend or mentor in which you can confide.

      • my husband now is my friend and i never never had a close friend they are were really disappointing…. well i eventually got there after 23 yr old 😀

  • Dani – It has been a JOY to see you grow up to love the Lord PERSONALLY over the last 17 years I’ve known you!!! 🙂 What a beautiful Testimony this is!!! Reflects Christ and HIS magnificence among the broken people we are. 🙂 Transparency is not always easy, but goes a long way to reaching out to others! Reminds me of the book Relationships…A Mess worth Making. All centered on our relationship with Christ! Such a JOY to see God using your gift of writing for HIM! Absolutely REFRESHING!!! 🙂

    • Thank you for encouraging me, Aunty Tammy! ‘Relationships’ is a great book and taught me a lot. I’m really touched from this comment, thank you.

  • Hey Danielle!
    I’m a PK too! And I can totally relate! Thank you so much for writing this. It really encouraged me. God has given you a beautiful gift of writing. Prayin’ for you as one who understands the bitter pain of being hurt, and the powerful relief and freedom of God’s healing!

    • Hi Sierra! So awesome that you’re a PK too. I really appreciate your commenting and weighing in on this article- the wounds are unmatched by the healing indeed. Thank you for the prayers!

  • Oh Danielle, it is evident you are born of the Spirit of God full of His wisdom and grace as you eloquently share your heart and lessons here with us! I shall keep this blog post to read over and over. This gives us a peek into the hearts and lives of those in ministry. You have shared Truths here that God has been teaching me too. Though my husband and I are in our 30’s we are 4 years in the LORD Jesus Christ and God has called my husband to be a Pastor. Already we have experienced some of which you have shared here and it’s so comforting to hear confirmation through you. God continues to take me to Hebrews 12:1-4.

    Your comment about transparency especially resonates with me:

    “This battle between fierce loyalty and honesty gunned me down for years, until I was able to realize the truth of James 5:16 — that where there is honesty among community, there is healing. More than being a good representative of my family, God desires me to be a good representative of Christ. That is freeing, because it means that I am no different than any other redeemed sinner, seeking God on a journey Home.”

    Yes. God has been teaching me exactly this. He can’t heal what we don’t reveal and transparency is transforming! Thank you for sharing, I see God has called you to exhort others through your gift of writing. Continue my sister….continue! Hugs and love to you!

    • Arcelia, I so enjoyed reading this heartfelt comment. Your reference to those few verses in Hebrews is fitting to keep in mind at any stage of life. It’s thrilling that God is taking you on a similar journey to mine in what He is teaching us- thank you so much for sharing that! I pray your husband and you are strengthened as you continue ministering. Thank you again for your kind words regarding my story.

  • Thank you for this post, Danielle! I was born as a missionary kid in South Africa, too, but moved to a first-world country two years ago…I can appreciate your saying how seeing man’s struggle so evidently has been a blessing – and that seeing his redemption has been even better! Keep on serving God! 🙂

    • How rad that you came across this post as a fellow MK born in SA! Thanks for commenting and letting me know. I’m so grateful that you could relate to that part of this story, Dee. Keep well!

  • “Where there is honesty among community, there is healing.” Very well put. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for commenting, Moriah, I think we all constantly need to remind ourselves of this truth!

  • Yoh Dani that was fantastically deep and so open, I see another side of you I was not aware of and well written too. Praise the Lord for His grace in your life!

    • Amen, Nthato. His Grace is abounding. Thanks for reading my story and posting a comment, I appreciate it!

  • Hi Rebekah- I too have been encouraged by all the comments, especially of the other pastor’s kids that have felt the same way. You’re so right- it is indeed a privilege and a challenge. That is a wise perspective to have. Thank you for commenting, Rebekah!

  • Thank you for sharing! I’m also a pastor’s daughter… and I would agree with how being a PK can render you “incapable of being honest”. My pride almost got the better of me, and I almost didn’t leave a comment. I’ve been a PK almost my whole life. The year 2012 was hard for our church. But I learned so much about my Christian walk, and about keeping my focus on Christ. God is so good!

    • Courtney, I’m so glad that you did indeed leave a comment to share how God is working in your life. I know that hardships of the church are amplified in pastor’s homes, and that can be a heavy burden. But it is beautiful that our Father uses trials in our lives to make us stronger, that they are never futile or meant for our harm. Your comment testifies to that. Thank you, Courtney.

  • I think that sometimes it’s hard for parents knowing their kids are PKs too. My first recollections of being a PK were living in a dilapidated church provided rectory in a Sydney red light district. As a child I knew there was something “different”about the prostitute with the make-up caked face. I knew there was something “not-quite-right”about the old men who drank metho and the young people with disheveled hair and scars on their arms. But my parents didn’t explain what was “wrong” with this steady stream of visitors who came to our house – only that they were from the nearby hospital.

    Later my dad was a Reverend (a pastor of an Anglican – Church of England church). I was the eldest of 6 PKs by then and expected to set the example. As a teenager my relationship took off as a Christian – but the group of Christians I hung around weren’t Anglican – they were a different denomination (Pentecostal). This caused a major rift in the Anglican church where my dad pastored. My hanging out with the Pentecostal Christians was too much for some of the Anglicans from dad’s church. Some women from the congregation even spat on my mother for allowing me to fellowship with the Pentecostals.

    Naturally my parents wanted me to “tow the line” because it was our family’s income as well as their ministry. I tried to resolve the problem by going to the 8am Anglican service as an obedient PK & then running down the road to join the 10am Pentecostal service with my teenage friends. In the end I moved away to another town – just so I could enjoy fellowshiping as a Christian instead of having to be a PK of a certain denomination. In retrospect I realize I hurt my dad and caused him a lot of trouble by wanting to hang out with the Pentecostal Christians – but at the time I just wanted to go to a church service which I enjoyed where there were younger Christian people.

    If you are a PK reading this in a situation like I was I’d recommend being more subtle than me. It didn’t occur to me at the time but if you’re a PK, go the route of organizing some combined youth event of all churches – so that way you’re representing your parents church – but having heaps of fun with the believers from the other churches.

  • Your ‘god’ is 1 of thousands throughout history, but sure yours is the right one! Yours is the only REAL one.! GOD IS GOOD RIGHT?

  • I’m a pastor’s daughter, too. Like many of you who have already commented, I struggle with pride. But it’s not in the same way that you guys have said.
    My dad’s church is located in downtown Bryan, TX–right in the middle of the ghettos. It’s a rough neighborhood, and I see the brokenness of our world on a daily basis at a close proximity. Last night, my parents were counseling a couple who want to get married–though they already have three children.
    My problem is elevating myself above these people. I often think that I’m somehow better than them because I haven’t committed the awful sins that they have. But I know, that ultimately, we’re the same. If everything was stripped away, in our essence, we are the same. The same broken sinners standing before a holy God in need of forgiveness.

  • Danielle, I cannot tell you the tears this brought to my eyes this morning. Our church is going through a rough time among the elders and senior pastor. My dad is the associate pastor and has been playing the “Middle Man” for many years. Interpreting our senior pastor to the elders and vice versa due to communication problems.

    It’s so hard because I know most of the things that go on, that the rest of the congregation doesn’t. And it makes my heart heavy many days in the last few months. I’ve never heard the phrase “rendered me uncapable of being honest” but I’ve never heard PK struggles so perfectly summed up.

    I am learning that I can’t keep everything in for the sake of the church. Your fierce loyalty hit it on the nose, I don’t want anyone to disrespect my family. And I also don’t want to hurt the church body. But at the same time, I never want to be joyfully fake. I am in tears seeing so many other kids going through the exact same things.

    God bless you all.

  • I dont even know where to start. I feel unmade as never before in my life. First of all, I want to find something else to call myself besides Christian cause christians are the only ones that ever seem to hurt myself and my family. My dad is the executive pastor of a little church that used to be southern baptist and says it isnt anymore. Whatever is actually is, its nothing like what I grew up with. When we moved cross country to come here a year ago, I remember going dress shopping cause I was the only girl in the entire church that didnt seem to own a thousand bright summer dresses (and I live in Florida so those things are worn every Sunday). Yes, I came into this knowing it would be different, but I have never imagined how different. After all we all speak English, and we know the same songs, and above all we are all Christians, but i feel vastly different. I dress different, I act different, and I speak differently. To them church is building you go to and gripe over the chipped paint in the hallways, to me its a living growing body of people. To them worship is a set of highly controversial songs performed by that too-young worship leader, to me its a way of life. To them relationship is smiling and hugging that person you despise and complimenting their ugly dress, to me its sharing the rough stuff in life with. To them home group is about who knows the most lesser known facts about the Bible, to me its about how God is speaking to you through the Bible. Ive been struggling with this all year and I foolishly tried leaning on those youth leaders and pastors in my life who are sposed to be my authority (heaven help me I even cried at a worship night) , but I abruptly realized that was not going to work when I came back to church after being really sick for a couple of weeks, and my youth leader asked if, now that I was physically better, that meant I was now also spiritually well again. I was puzzled until my mom explained that people actually believe that physical illness is actually a sure sign of spiritual sin, and that crying in front of other people especially at church is considered a sign of weakness. This is totally totally different from what ive grown up with. You see I watched my grandma who remains the strongest woman of faith ive ever met, battle cancer for six years before she ultimately died of it. So I started bottling it all up. The pastor is sposed to have a healthy family far be it from me to struggle through change and blacken my dad’s reputation. Especially since we are down in Florida, 3000 miles from anyone we know. If he loses his job down here where would we go? The pressure is on. I wasnt uneducated in holding my tongue because some of that went on even up at our old church, but wearing a smile was another thing. That is just the Sunday Expectation. The behind the scenes is even more taxing because the elders dont trust pastors, and they see them as lazy. On top of that the senior pastor, well I am not sure what he does everyday cause it sure doesnt take a whole week to write a sermon, but what else does he do? He has given it all to my dad. He is good at giving directions, and even better at changing them. To say my dad is fighting an uphill battle in the rain and the scorching heat and whatever other adverse condition you can think of would be an understatement. He can do nothing right because what is right changes without warning, rhyme, or reason. What is grace here? So my question is this: how do I respect the men throwing stones? How do I continue under their leadership? I cannot leave. I tried for a few weeks, and everyone when I came back wanted to know where I had been, why I wasnt there. Church for this church is THEIR church…. anywhere else is just rebellious, disrespectful, and even maybe sacriligious depending on who you talk to. I feel alone, and I can talk to no one because theres always a way it could get back to bite my dad.

  • My father is the administrative pastor at my church, and my mom is also the head of the classical Christian school that I have been attending for about 10 years. As the eldest daughter in my family and also the daughter of these great leaders, I often deal with the same struggles. The hard part of this journey was accepting the fact that I am not in a fish bowl, but instead a wonderful opportunity to represent Christ and trained by the Lord at a young age to become a great leader like my parents.

  • I’m a pastor’s daughter as well. A few years ago someone told me that pk’s either go off the deep end, or stay on the straight and narrow their entire lives. I struggled with this for a long time, I knew I wasn’t perfect and messed up all the time. I also had a problem with people categorizing me, based not on myself, but on my father’s profession. I wanted to be successful and grow in my relationship with the Lord, but because I was driven, not because I was expected too. I didn’t rebel ostentatiously, but i cut myself off emotionally from God, and my father for the most part. Over the last few months my viewpoint on this topic has changed a lot, I realize how different my life would be if I wasn’t a pk and how much being a pk has shaped my life thus far, mostly positively. I watch my dad at his work, how much he loves it, and how many people he helps on a daily basis accept that this is where God has put me, (probably for a reason) and it’s time I started paying attention and learned something from the wonderful people in my immediate family, and church family.

  • We are looking for input from other pastor’s kids about their experiences being in this unique position as the children of a pastor for a book we are writing together. If you would like to share stories or thoughts or ideas for topics you believe should be discussed on our book, please visit

    im ashleigh and im a pastors daughter too. my family just moved a little more than 5 months ago, so my dad could become the head pastor of a little baptist church in florida. it was soo hard to move, but i felt as if God worked in it all and had the best for me in mind, as He always does. As im sure all pk experience, i have always felt the pressure of being “perfect” and being the oldest child in my family has not helped lessen that pressure. Just as a well known fact, when people hear “pastors kid” they think well they must be perfect little angels. As if it gives us a higher standard to live up to than antother young Christian. but as believers in Christ ALL children of God should strive to live up to Gods standards. (but back to my main point) Feeling so much pressure from being a pk, i often under pressure felt like i had to prove to my other “friends” that i wasnt that perfect little angel i was supposed to be. and many times i did things worse than most girls my age would dream to do, luckily God used my moving to change my heart and drive me closer and back to HIm. i deeply regret those decisoins i made to act out and prove i was just like everyone else. …. although here recently i have felt such persecution and so many expectations from my new surroundings and my new church.just today i was at a party for one of the girls in my youth group, all the girls there were professed Christians. toward the end of the party there was some music playing and one of the girls said ” ashleigh come over here :)” so i went over. her and her friend were dancing a little, just swaying and moving their arms a little and just having fun. nothing bad or sinful. she then said ” come on dance with us, you look so bored over there :P” ( mainly becuz no one had really tlkd to me that night and i was ready to go home ) i replied ” no , its not really my thing and im really cold lol ” she paused and then leaned over to her friend when i looked away. she whispered to her ” are pks even allowed to dance;) ?” then they giggled about it to themselves. Unfortunately i could hear her. :/ i felt so awkward. just..really?!? how am i not supposed to be hurt by that ?
    i then realized that people really do see me as something different… as a special “breed” of Christians. One that is not allowed to do other things “normal” christian girls are allowed to do, one thats not allowed to do anyhing wrong, one that in every area of her life should be perfect,… everyday and all the time. Now many people dont realize they categorize us as this, but in all reality.. they all to often do.
    ive chosen not to be upset or mad with this girl. because i know its what God would want me to do and He has forgiven me for soo much more. But the pain still lingers, so much easier to forgive than forget.
    one thing i do hold and cling to is that Jesus my Lord and savior sees me for me 🙂 His child saved by His son’s blood given for me to cover ALL of my sins. HE doesnt see me as if i should live a perfect life, He knows ill make mistakes. But He has already forgiven them, all He asks and wants for me is to live my life to the best of my ability to serve and please HIM!!!
    i hope i have been an encouragement to all the other pastor kids who will read this 🙂 know that you are a child of God 🙂 nothing more, nothing less 🙂

  • I hate knowing that I am a pastor’s kid myself…. I never had the privacy that I needed because there’s always ‘visitors’ at home every day and they always go home late at night,…. I hate the uncertainty that I am feeling knowing that my father is barely at home because he has to be with the church members,…. it made me feel like I’m just a church member myself…. I know that they ‘love’ me and all but they do the same to other people anyway…. I hate seeing fellow ‘Pastor’s Kids’ suffer from all this confusion and depression that I bear the thought that I might end up like them…. I hate how the church people seem to always have the right to just use use/take my stuff because my parents always says ‘to love with no condition’….. I hate how I cannot use my weekends to do my homework and study because I have to be at church the whole time…. I hate how I cannot hang out with my friends because they think they’re ‘demonic’ just because they’re not christians…. I hate how people are telling me that I have a huge responsibility as the pastor’s son to continue the ministry as if I don’t have control over my life…. I wanted to be an Audio Engineer…. but it seems unlikely…. I hate how they always tell me that I have some demon inside me when I tell them my problems…. and now I stopped telling them my issues….. I hate having to sleep having that feeling that I am being watched every night…. turns out that they’re gathered around me with their palms directed at me while I sleep….. it’s weird….I understood why a lot of my fellow PK’s actually hated the church….. and finally….. I hate hearing my parents preach about ‘God first, the family second’…. and honestly….. I really feel like I have no future that I am bound to live under my mom’s basement till I die….

    • well I have reached alot of problems being a PK and my parents always come to this meeting and dont miss them ect… sometimes I just tell them I cant and dont go because I would not be happy to go with force but I like to go when I am happy. so there is another thing you dont have to listen to the problems that come from the church when they tell your parents as Pastors or leaders in the church because I hated that when i always always heard horrible thing being said to my parents of even things that disturb you i really didnt want to hear it sooo eventually as soon as people stared to talk about there problems all leave the living room and go do something else and that helped me in my spiritual life as I grew stronger and followed my dad’s dream for my carrer not related to pastor… but what I loved doing in childcare work and it is really hard but God will get you through and out soon it might take time but Hold On Gods promise….

    • Angelo, it gets better. I am no longer with the church… I can’t even all myself a Christian. I don’t even know why I’m on this site, but obviously, growing up a PK has majorly influenced my life. I wanted to see if others felt the same as me. And I found you. I went through all of this. Anger, hate, depression… The feeling that I will forever be under the scrutiny of others and that I must represent myself as someone other than I am. I’m not saying things have always been easy… But they have definitely gotten better. After leaving home, I had the chance to really explore who I am as a person… Not just as a pastor’s kid. I got to make friends with those who would have otherwise been deemed improper. I got to explore different ideas and experience true friendship… I won’t lie to you though. My move away from the church and a belief in God has made my relationship with my parents strained… But I try to openly communicate with them and show them my love. Over the years, though I know it sorrows them, they have opened up to me as the person I am. Not the person they wanted me to be. Despite this, I am so happy now… There are times that I look back at my life and I feel sorrow over my stolen childhood, but I am also grateful. Going through such things can help you to become strong and sure of yourself. Hang in there Angelo. No matter what you choose to do, do it for yourself. Become an audio engineer. Stay with the church or leave it. But you must love yourself and care for yourself… It is NOT selfish to do this. Best of luck Angelo. My thoughts are with you.

    • Angelo, I’m a PK, and I made it to the age of 64. I agree with everything you said. My memories of growing up in the church are not very positive.

      I go to church these days, but for most of my life I haven’t. I finally found a church where it’s okay to have trouble believing. In many ways, I’m still back there with you no liking how it was. But, my demons have been tamed for the most part.

      I just want to tell you that I understand.

  • Danielle, I have just read your article. I too am a preacher’s kid. From the age of 5 until I graduated from high school I lived with my pastor, after (5 years) college I returned home and worked for my dad. Less I am confusing you they are one in the same. Let me speake to the earlier first. Our church was (and am sure still is) a wonderful place to grow up. Did it have it’s warts? I am sure it did, but don’t ask me for examples because I can’t recall any. Speaking to the church family, they loved my dad as he did them. And like any family there were the occasional disagreement. Then there was the deacons and trustees, no matter the “vision” that my dad presented to them (bus ministry, printing ministry, Christian school and building debt free) they would hold his arms up and follow his leadership. One last perspective from my time spent at home and that would be his wife, my mom. Dad was gone a lot. Not so much in my elementary grade years but more in jr high and high school I was not a happy camper. Acting out at school and home when dad was gone left my mom with a hand full. I will not bore you with endless stories, let’s just say that if not for my mom’s intercedeing, my dad’s ministry of 35+ years would of been short live

  • Sorry, I wasn’t finished. You mentioned how there were those visiting preachers and guests that were not so much interest in getting to know you as you but were more interested in the name that followed your first. Try spending five years at the same college your dad attended, walk the halls he walked. I often wondered why he did come to campus and speak in chapel. Then it came to me, he did that for me. It was hard enough being there as his son, for him to come and speak or visit might just compound things.

    Well, I have enjoyed visiting with you. Your parents must be so proud of you. I know your uncle is.

  • im Dru and thanks for the encouragement Danielle.
    ALL to Read
    well I have reached alot of problems being a PK and my parents always come to this meeting and dont miss them ect… sometimes I just tell them I cant and dont go because I would not be happy to go with force but I like to go when I am happy. so there is another thing you dont have to listen to the problems that come from the church when they tell your parents as Pastors or leaders in the church because I hated that when i always always heard horrible thing being said to my parents of even things that disturb you i really didnt want to hear it sooo eventually as soon as people stared to talk about there problems all leave the living room and go do something else and that helped me in my spiritual life as I grew stronger and followed my dad’s dream for my carrer not related to pastor… but what I loved doing in childcare work and it is really hard but God will get you through and out soon it might take time but Hold On Gods promise…. by the way i still get hurt when people say why didnt you come and my parents get hurt that I didnt go but remember i am just like the other Christians they miss out for some reasons and they do wrong things unintended so I say to God please forgive them they dont know what they are doing and never tell anyone about it when they hurt me with words but really it is difficut being a PK all the time , i guess the best thing is ti go to another church but be for your parents and God where you are, but be involve din youth ministries if u are a youth or if u are a parent go to Christian playgroups ect… meetings.. see how God works in different people you will be really impowered Thats what I did and my parents didnt agree at first but now they are good with it…

  • Lord Jesus as we are all suffering as PK or our dads or our family Lord please I pray send your healing to our hearts by your loving power we know how you have been working in our lives please keep us empowered and strengthen us in this crazy world out there we love u and share these things because we struggle in life its so hard Lord help us to be encouraging to one another 🙁 and help each other we want to serve u without distractions and satan trying to cut us down and pressure us please help us love our parents and church members as much as words can hurt and change ideas towrds you but u always love and cant wait to hold us and hug us in heaven when we meet you in Jesus precious blood Amen
    i hope i have encouraged you in this prayer i will always pray this and hope this can go a long way for all of us

  • I’m 16 and a pastor’s daughter. People that I know that aren’t anything to do with the church find it weird how I’m not that close with my dad because everyone sees him as a great guy who has a great sense of humour. When something is wrong with me, there is nothing I can really do to let it out. I just bottle it up until sometimes I explode with anger. My dad takes his job very seriously which I completely understand and I find it fascinating but what I don’t like that much is the fact he sometimes forgets that I’m only young and that he is my father, not my minister. My dad knows practically nothing about my life because we never have the chance to sit down and talk either his phone goes off, he’s out or when we do talk he turns all preachery on me. The thing that is making me not wanting to accept Christ into my life the most is the fact for as long as I can remember my dad has asked “when are you asking for God” has been a more frequently asked question than “how are you”. I love my dad to pieces but ever since I was younger I’ve always asked him why doesn’t he have a proper job like any of my other friends parents. I can’t act like a normal teenager because where ever I go, someone will recognise me because of my dad and it sucks.

    • Hey Elizabeth! Danielle here. I randomly decided to check the comments today and I’m so glad I did. It sounds like your father has a heart and passion for the ministry that has left you feeling overlooked, and that isn’t fair to you. I challenge you to ask him if you can schedule some uninterrupted time that he can give you his full attention, and bring these points up with him in a calm manner, and be willing to listen to his side, too. If you feel that he isn’t listening, share with an older woman in the church whom you trust; it’s a big step, and can make you feel very vulnerable, but it’s how the Lord has designed the church- to encourage, admonish, and heal. As for your unwillingness to turn to Christ- I understand that we can project the failures of our earthly fathers as the way we think of our Heavenly Father. Consider that the Lord never fails in His role as Father, but is One who always listens, cares, heals, and protects. Honoring and loving Him is how He meticulously made us, and that is where our joy will be complete, and we be made well. To mourn our sins, ask for forgiveness, and know that He makes them absolutely obsolete is incredibly freeing- I know this as the worst of them all. Serving Him with a grateful, hopeful heart is where a purpose-filled life is, and I know you seek this. I beg you, go to Him this very hour. Praying for you and your hurt heart tonight. xx

    • Elizabeth, I’m 64 years old and I grew up the son of a Church of the Nazarene preacher. I experienced everything you mentioned. Believe me, if I could have had a dad in a different field of work I would have. He eventually left the pastorate and became an executive for the YMCA. That’s not a lot different, but different enough to remove a lot of the pressure.

      But, honestly, the damage was already done. I have stayed away from church most of my life, however, my wife and I attend a small, very liberal Methodist church now. On good days I’m agnostic about God, on most days I’m atheistic. So, why would I attend church? Because it feels like home and because I appreciate the support of so many people.

  • I’m a PK to and i know how you feel. Sometimes it drives me nuts when my dad taks about me when he preachs and junk, (and always having to read the verses in youth group and… Yeah.)
    but i love talking to people about Jesus and that is really want counts, right?

  • I have never really thought about what pastor’s kids go through, and reading the comments was really hard for me. There’s a lot of pain for the Pks that no one ever really sees.

    I’m not going to offer any advice, but just say that I’m praying for all you Pks.

  • I’m a PK. Honestly i find it to be a blessing. So many doors open right in front of you, You see how God moves, you see how God heals, How God frees people. It’s amazing. It is just a matter of relationship with God.

    On the other hand, i do suffer. We are four girls. My parents began their ministry one year ago. And it is ROUGH.
    You have to be careful what you say, how you react, how you dress, how you are really. I don’t think of my life as a ‘not serving God in the future’ i actually want to follow their footsteps. I think people just expect way too much from us even our parents. That we dissapoint them so quickly, it is nlt easy. You can’t have close friends and tell them your secrets or your problems (since you cant tell your parents) because theu could stab you without you even knowing it.
    I feel like my parents care more about the church than ‘family’ and that shouldn’t be. I have my boyfriend, we’ve been dating more then a year now. And till this day i feel and so does he, that my parents don’t like him. Everyone notices it, and it hurts. He is the only one i talk to other then God. He makes me happy, I do love him, i do want to marry him and i just feel like my parents will never agree. This has affect us, my parents, the Church. And sometimes i just wonder how life would be of they weren’t pastors. If we were just a NORMAL family. I didn’t choose this life. I want to start making my own life.

    • I’m going through the exact issue. It’s to the point where my boyfriend and I are considering elopement. We know God wants us together, but he’s not good enough for my parents.

  • I just finished HS and I’ve been a pk for all my life. My parents ministry is only a month older than me. Growing up an only child with both parents who are pastor and the praise and worship directors is tough bc you grow up feeling alone, set aside, and not very important. Although I was a little spoiled and loved very very much I still felt neglected. I would go to church at least 3x a week and I’d see all the families sitting together, clapping, smiling, the occasional mom rocking her baby and I was the little girl in that first chair with the first row all to herself. I would go sometime and sit with other aunts and uncles but over the year they had children of their own and I was back to the se place sitting alone watching my parents on the alter. Now I realize that nothing comes before God not even your kids, so even if they’re young, you have to leave them so you can do the work He has called you to do and hope as they grow they can understand why it is they did it and I believe that’s why they were were so affectionate and would baby me, because they didn’t wante to feel that way but it’s inevitable. Also growing up I’d hear the stories of different members or youth and the struggles they went through, the mistakes they made and I was taught clearly the right from the wrong. And my parents are the most compassionate loving and helpful people out there they never judge but they do instruct, counsel, and help people understand their wrongs and help them stay from sin and so it was so hard to talk to them growing up. They literally only know about 1/3 of my life, I never had those open relationships with them I don’t tell them my secrets or how I feel or who I like or who’s done or said what to me and overall it’s been a hard journey to mend all the brokenness that I’ve felt growing up a Pk but slowly but surely I’m understanding and being able to trust God that everything will be okay and I’ve always said it was a blessing to have pastors as parents but as long as no one knew and junior year is when I started telling people and friends that my parents are pastors and now that I’m out of HS it feels like a new fresh start to be more open from the beginning with new people of who I am and being free

    • I share the same feeling but you encouraged me to be humble and understand. I’m also a pk.

  • I’m 25 and not my father, but my Mom is a pastor. How does that feel? Its hard. I think its OK having your dad as a pastor because you will really confide in mom, but when mom is carrying the Pastor role, now that’s a twist.
    I also have the privilege to be the youth leader of our church and I love being the leader.
    What really hurts more than everything is not being able to have my moms full attention and having to hold most of my emotions inside just not to put no pressure on her that she already has from the church. Most of the time I find myself in tears and on my knees with tons of questions to God. Being a pk definitely comes with hurts, rejects, and depression…
    I guess its not easy but its worth it.

  • I’m a PK, and I’m currently going through the struggle of my parents not accepting my choices. I’m trying to serve God as best as I can, but whenever I enter their church on Sunday, I feel as though everyone is watching me and I have to act accordingly. I can’t worship freely, I can’t take the word seriously, and I end up hating going to church.

    When I go to a different church, despite how angry everyone in my family gets at me, I feel so free. I did this just this past Sunday and broke down in tears during worship. I feel like I can actually enjoy the service when no one knows who I am or who my father is.

    Needless to say, I don’t want to go to my parents’ church anymore. How the heck do I do this? Has anyone else gone through the same issues? HELP!

    • I am going through the exact same thing… EVERYTHING YOU SAID IS exactly how i feel.. did you end up leaving your church for another?

      • Long story short, actually ended up moving out and then going to my own church. Had to move back eventually due to some circumstances with my health. But when I moved back i just stood up to them. I said I have the right to choose where I worship. They WEREN’T happy and still aren’t, but it gets easier everyday. They get up earlier than me to go to church, so I stay in bed and don’t get up til they’re gone. I’ve tried telling them how I feel but they don’t understand so I just reinstate that it’s my decision, and I’m happy with it. They have to respect it since I am an adult. Hope this helps! God will show you what to do, say, and how to act.

        • Thanks so much it did help. My dad is reluctantly supportive (as I knew he would be) that is just who he is, although i know he doesn’t want me to leave but is trying to understand. My mother is so mad she wont even talk to me (I knew she would do that too) I haven’t left yet it is a slow process. i’m trying so hard not to hurt my dad. But you’re right I have the right to worship where i need to. I LOVE my dads passion & heart for the ministry. I just need to be able to worship more freely

  • I’m a pk since I was born and I’m 17 and honestly it’s hard. They don’t allow me to go out wit my friends all the time I can’t listen to any other music besides gospel and if I do talk to them about something they always relate it to the bible which is good yes but sometimes very annoying and sometimes I just wanna be normal not sin but like to be able to go out with my unsaved friends once in a while and talk to girls and stuff but they might only allow me to go for one party for the year and if I do go they would harass me about and make jokes like if going to a party is the biggest thing and then in church I have to be a certain way …it’s just really hard tbh and I have to bottle up all my feelings when I’m hurt and just cry 😔

    • I am a pastors kid. I truly understand. My father took it even further and would not let me even go out with church groups when I really wanted to. I’ll tell you what worked for me. I was your same age at the time about to turn 18. I would sit down with my father and talk to him. I would tell him that he needs to trust me. I would be bold but not disrespectful. I would tell him my feelings. Of course it did not happen in one sit down conversation. In time, he began to trust me more. But I also earned his trust. Eventually, I was happy where I was. Life is full of lessons brother. Pray to God and ask Him for understanding and wisdom. Be blessed brother!

  • I loved and love having grown up as a Pastor’s daughter. My experience with our Church has been a mainly positive one, though I know there have been times of heartache within the congregation, and for my parents because of it. All in all though, I’m very glad to have been a PK.

    I’m 20 now, and have a close relationship with my dad. He really listens to me, and tells me he’s proud of me, and that I’m doing well…. It’s a blessing to have a dad who cares about how I’m doing spiritually.

  • im a pastors kid. i feel like people expect me to be perfect. if i accidentally don’t show up for something they act weird. if i don’t go to prayer meeting because i was having a hard day and i felt like i couldn’t go to God having that attitude the next time they see me they are all rude and act weird. I’m a normal person and i wish people would treat me so.

  • I am 27 and I have been a PK my whole life. I love my church and for most of my memories and time at our church, it has been a positive experience. However, the negative is what always creeps up in the backs of our minds and are hardest to forget. Words can be forgiven but they can never be unsaid or taken back. The hardest part about being a PK is seeing the hurt that comes with it. When people are hurtful and hateful to my dad. When they say things that are critical and questioning. They do not take into consideration the humanity of their pastor so many times. Would they say these things to the mailman? Their doctor? Their neighbor? Yet the one person who stays awake at night praying for the people of the community and broken for the hurt in the lives of the church, he is the recipient of the negative comments, the hurtful words.

  • I am a Pastor’s kid as well, like most of the people in this comment section. People have been really hurtful to my dad and my family. I have 4 other siblings and we get beat up, called names, and poked fun at just about every Sunday by other kids and sometimes even adults . It’s not only the kids too. Adults do the exact same thing to my parents. My dad is not the senior Pastor, he’s the Pastor of Worship and Ministries. (aka Children, Teens, Administration, and working on his Masters degree) Right now, our church is trying to find a new Youth Pastor because none of the Youth respect my dad and he really doesn’t want to lead the youth anymore.

    I struggle everyday because my dad loves working with the youth, but stepping down because he doesn’t think he is helping the teens. I have grown up with ministry at the forefront of my home, and I know I should love to serve and help, but when you see the ugly side of people and the ugly side of ministry, it really discourages you.

  • I’m a pk and I didn’t realize how much it affected me until recently. My family never talked about emotions or how we were feeling or what was going on for us. It was always about putting on the face bc ‘we are a pastors family and we don’t struggle.’ Except for that I did struggle and bc I kept it bottled up for many years it eventually started coming out in the form of self harm and bulimia. I didn’t know any other way to deal with my emotions. I was taught at a young age to hide my heart. I was taught that the things in my heart weren’t important. And those are the types of messages that kill someone’s identity. I’m just getting out of treatment for my eating disorder now and I’m trying to rediscover who I am but I want nothing to do with the church who stole my father from me

  • Hi, I am a pk and I would like to share my story with you… My parents are pastor since I was 2 years old, they moved from the city to a small town in the east of Nicaragua, I grew up not loving that place because It wasn’t the same than the city we used to live before, we left everything we had even our grandparents, cousins, everything. When I was 17 years old I decided to go to Guatemala to study in a bible institute as an scholarship intern student, after I finished i decided to stay a third year but this time I was not intern anymore, you know living by myself, cooking my own food, washing my own clothes, and whatever else that means to live alone. The thing is that everything is going good here, my faith has grown, now I serve God because I need It, not because I have to (As a pk)… I talked to my parents because I want to stay a fourth year but they think I do it because I don’t like the city where they live (That is not true) I think there is nothing better than be at your home or country. Today I talked to my mom about it and she was crying and she started to tell me that she knew that i prefer to be here than my house because she knew it already, and then she just told me somethings that were really hard for me, and I started feeling bad and sad, her words were really hurting me, she wasn’t mean but all what she said was making me feel so bad, like if I am a bad son, I don’t want to be bad, I just want to do what I feel in my heart I should… If you are reading this, there is a guy over here crying, feeling bad, that probably needs your advice.

  • Wow, it’s been so great to read these comments! I’ve never heard another PK voice their struggles so it’s so encouraging to hear that I’m not alone, though my story is a bit different. My parents never put me aside or neglected me because of their ministry. “Family First” is my Dad’s motto. I realize that that is a HUGE blessing and I thank God every day for the blessings I have. One of the toughest things about being a PK is the loneliness. No one seems to understand your point of view, and you can’t help but cringe at the look on people’s faces when you tell them your a (home-schooled) PK. But as I meet new people from different church and outside church backgrounds I am overcome with the realization of how blessed I am. Yes, my parents are the most hardworking, loving people I have ever met and sometimes they spend themselves to utter exhaustion- but I know I will never be someone with a poor work ethic who depends on others charity for survival. Yes, not many people will ever understand my point of view- but I know that God does. When other people are alone, they have no one to turn to- we know where to go. Straight to God! So being a PK is a blessing and a trial, but it is TOTALLY WORTH IT! Life is a meaningful adventure when you can pursue God and love people alongside your family. It is a privilege and no matter what pain comes because of it- God has put YOU where you are for a reason! He will never leave you in darkness but he understands pain and loneliness and He is the giver of JOY! So hang in there fellow PK’s! God sees your true heart- and smiles.

  • Hii I’m a PK myself and at this stage in my life I’m not happy. I find my self living for my parents not for me. I didn’t get a chance to enjoy my teenage years. Now I’m an adult I feel like I’m being robbed of that too. I just don’t know what to do at this point

    • Hi Jen I just happened to read this because I am doing a homework paper and figured I get and idea about how to write a narrow topic about my life as a pk. I will tell you this I browsed down and saw this. I normally dont comment to anything but you feeling not happy is what is making me write. I hope you get his or see this.
      God does not want you to be unhappy. You live for what makes you happy and what pleases God, not you parents. There is a phase in the pk life whether adult or teenage where we have to find our own relationship. our own relationship in Christ. What is it that you want to do. What are you feeling robbed off? You must enjoy life love.

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rebelling against low expectations

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