Most pastors love their kids deeply. They have dreams for them and hopes. They want the best for them and work to provide it. Like all of us, they are fallible. And when you add the (enormous) pressure of ministry to that fallibility, being a parent gets really difficult. I’ve reached out to several pastors to hear from them about their relationships with their kids. I’ve written a fair amount about being a PK from a PK’s perspective, but I think hearing from pastors is also helpful. It’s too easy to get jaded or lose perspective. Both sides of the story need to be told. For the next several weeks I will be sharing the responses from these pastors.
Darrin Patrick founded The Journey in 2002 in the urban core of St. Louis, Missouri. The Journey has six locations and has released seven church plants. Darrin is Vice President of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network and has helped start multiple non-profits in St. Louis. He also serves as Chaplain to the St. Louis Cardinals.
After earning his B.A. in Biblical languages from Southwest Baptist University and a Master’s of Divinity (summa cum laude) from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Darrin earned his Doctor of Ministry from Covenant Seminary. Darrin is author of The Dude’s Guide to Manhood, Church Planter, and co-author of For the City. His next book, Replant, is set to release in May 2014. Darrin is married to his high school sweetheart, Amie, and they have four beautiful children: Glory, Grace, Drew, and Delainey.
What is your greatest hope for your children?
I pray that all my Children meet Jesus and serve him with the gifts he has given them.
I want my kids to know that they need to concern themselves with what God is calling them to do, not what I think they should do, or what is normal to evangelicalism.
I want them to feel freedom to question and doubt. I want them to understand that grace is real and that it covers their sin and empowers them to resist sin.
What is the greatest struggle you face in parenting as a pastor?
Focusing on their needs more than the church’s needs. I struggle to be present with them. I have a difficult time not thinking about a sermon or book idea when I am watching them perform musically or athletically.
I want them to be worried about pleasing God more than their parents, or the church. I struggle with putting as much prayer, thought and strategy behind leading my family spiritually as I do The Journey.
How do you help your kids manage the expectations placed on them as PKs?
Because we planted The Journey and have tended to reach people who aren’t traditional “church people” we haven’t had to wrestle much with this. Also, have a church that is multi-site, which a lead pastor and elders at each respective church takes the heat off of our kids. Additionally, we have been very quick to correct any adult who has attempted to place demands on our kids that aren’t biblical.
For more on the experience of PKs and how to minister to them check out my book The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity. I wrote it from the perspective of a PK and for the benefit of the church and its leaders.