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. Here is the sixth interview.
Derwin L. Gray is the founding and Lead Pastor of Transformation Church, a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community with two campuses in South Carolina (Indian Land and Rock Hill), both just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Transformation Church was recognized as the 2nd fastest-growing church by percentage in America for 2010 by Outreach magazine. In 2011 and 2012, TC was recognized again as one of the top 100 fastest-growing churches in America.
After graduating from Brigham Young University, Derwin played professional football in the NFL for five years. He then attended Southern Evangelical Seminary where he was mentored by renowned theologian and philosopher Dr. Norman Geisler. Gray graduated magna cum laude, earning a M.Div. with a concentration in Apologetics. He’s recognized by many as The Evangelism Linebackerand is a highly sought-after communicator. Gray is the author of Hero: Unleashing God’s Power in a Man’s Heart (2009) and Limitless Life: You Are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future, (2013).
What is your greatest hope for your children?
My greatest hope is that my children consider all things as lost compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord. I pray that they leverage their lives for the glory of God in all that do.
What is the greatest struggle you face in parenting as a pastor?
- My greatest struggle is knowing that my role as a “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” however, only God’s prevenient grace can open their hearts and illuminate all that they’ve been taught about Jesus.
- Like every parent of teens, I struggle to enter their world and listen and validate.
- I struggle with the unfair expectations that are placed on my children.
- My children keep me on my knees in prayer.
How do you help your kids manage the expectations placed on them as PKs?
- We have honest conversations. My wife and I have tried to create a family environment where honest conversations can take place.
- We try to point children to finding their identity in Christ alone.
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.