Pastors, Privacy, and the Incarnation

IMG_0741 We often have conversations with folks in the ministry about “the fishbowl”: the feeling (or reality!) that the pastor’s family lives a public life, often on view to the congregation. It’s part of the deal; something that ministers, their wives, and sometimes their children struggle with, as they often feel vulnerable, as though their privacy is constantly violated. When you’re on call 24/7, standing in front of the congregation weekly, frequently opening your home to new and needy people, and your salary has an annual, public review, it’s easy to feel that way. The fishbowl becomes an enemy, fought because we don’t enjoy the privacy that other families seem to. Continue reading

The Tanner of Bruth

whitefield If I told you that the Tanner of Bruth was a lay preacher who lived just outside of Edinburgh in the mid-18th century, would you believe me? What if I added that he was a Presbyterian lay preacher who experienced a blessed ministry to the non-conformist communities in Lothian? That his first name was Duncan and his wife was a highland lassie whom he had met at a communion season in Inverness?

Now that’s starting to sound rather like a cheesy Christian romance novel, isn’t it? The Tanner of Bruth is just a spoonerism: it’s really the Banner of Truth. And, thankfully, their books have better theology than any novel, little romance, and no cheese.

Since 1957, The Banner of Truth has been providing solidly biblical books for the Reformed and Presbyterian worlds. Continue reading

The Call to Christian Ministry

In this interview, Derek Thomas provides helpful thoughts for men who are considering the pastoral ministry, wondering if they are called. It also offers encouragement for those already shepherding a congregation.

The video is in a series that Jonathan Masters is doing, similar to the conversation he had with Sinclair Ferguson, released last year. Continue reading

The PK Parishioner (4)

church doorsAlthough there can be hard things about being an adult pastor’s kid in a church not pastored by your father, being a pk in different congregation can also be a blessing. Here are some of the perks I’ve discovered.

First, you know what the ministry is like. You understand what life is like for your pastor’s family like few other people can and so you can pray for them accordingly. You might not even talk to them much, but you pick up on vibes, clues, or just common pk knowledge, and pray in a more informed way than you would be able to if you had not grow up in a pastor’s home. It will be a blessing to their ministry even if they are unaware of it.

And hard as it can be to have to earn the trust of a congregation, it’s good for you. When you are the new member and nobody knows your dad, you can’t rest on your pk laurels. Continue reading

The PK Parishioner (3)

firstpresI never thought too much about it at the time, but growing up, I sort of assumed that once I moved out of the house, I would effectively stop being a PK: someone else would be my pastor, I would not play board games in the basement while Dad counseled an engaged couple upstairs, and I would not hear the phone ring in the middle of the night. Wrong.

It’s true, my dad is no longer my pastor, I don’t play board games much, and though I’m married to a pastor, he’s serving as a professor and students don’t tend to call at 2 A.M. But being a pastor’s kid never stops. Continue reading

Preachers’ Daughters (2)

new-windsor-pewWhat I’ve heard about the latest reality tv show isn’t encouraging, let alone edifying. Thankfully, there are teenaged preachers’ daughters who aren’t doing drugs, getting drunk, pregnant, and ruining their father’s reputations. Some of these young ladies, from different denominations, countries and families, answered a few questions about being pk’s for our second post in this series. We have left out their names to give them privacy. Their answers give insight into what it’s like to have dad as the preacher and give everyone some encouragement: there are many godly pastor’s daughters out there!

Would you marry a pastor?

1. “This is something that I have thought about a lot actually and have had pretty mixed feelings about. In some ways, I would like to marry a pastor as I think that it would help me to go deeper in my faith and having grown up in a pastor’s home, I have experience and knowledge that would hopefully enable me to be a blessing to a pastor. However, growing up in a pastor’s family has also opened my eyes to the amount of spiritual and emotional trials that many pastors deal with on a regular basis. Continue reading

The Pastor’s Kid (1)

510px-Hasenclever_The_Parson's_ChildrenMy Dad is a pastor. Same for Grandpa, uncles, brothers-in-law, and husband. Growing up in a family of pastor’s kids (there were six of us, plus cousins) has given us a different experience than many of our peers, simply because dad was a minister. From not having him in the pew with us on Sunday, to going to every funeral and wedding in the congregation, our growing up years were shaped by his calling.

I haven’t seen much written on the pastor’s kid – pk’s tend to be tight-lipped, sometimes rebellious. So in the next couple weeks, we’ll be posting about different aspects of being a pk. Our hope is to give pk’s encouragement, give their parents some insight on a child’s perspective, and open up the topic for discussion in families.

Last week I was on a panel about growing up in the manse. Future pastor’s wives submitted questions ahead of time, and then a mix of pastor’s children answered. We’ll start this series with some thoughts I jotted down in preparation for that evening. Continue reading