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 ninth interview.
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) serves as senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton. His books include Journey to Joy (Crossway 2013), Jonathan Edwards and Justification (Crossway 2012), No Other Gospel (Crossway 2011), and The God-Centered Life (Regent 2007; IVP UK 2006).
Josh grew up south of London in England, became a follower of Jesus in the Church of England, and was an undergraduate at Cambridge University where he was president of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union. He served as the college pastor at Eden Baptist Church in Cambridge, England, did pioneer mission work in the former Soviet Union countries of Georgia and Azerbaijan. He is married to Rochelle and they have four children.
Of himself he says, “My passion is the gospel. By that I don’t mean the cheap, cheesy, man-centered gospel that tells you that heaven can be won with a little prayer and playing nice. I mean the full orbed, bloody, biblical, God-centered gospel that tells you that heaven is won through what Jesus has done. I want to preach the gospel in the power of the Spirit so that we are no longer simply nice-looking people but newly made people.” For more, visit www.GodCenteredLife.org.
What is your greatest hope for your children?
Simple: Love Jesus
What is the greatest struggle you face in parenting as a pastor?
Time. That’s almost as simple. Sure, I need wisdom, and being a parent is more demanding than being a pastor (which puts it pretty high up there on the scale of ‘demanding things’). But basically, number one struggle is: time. And energy – but that goes with time. Need to give children my best not my leftovers after I’ve given my best to everyone else. Time, time, time.
How do you help your kids manage the expectations placed on them as PKs?
Interesting question. I don’t know whether I really think quite like that. I don’t think of my children as “PKs”. I think of them as my children, as the children of Josh and Rochelle, grandchildren of my parents and Rochelle’s parents, great grandchildren of an extremely energetic grandmother of mine and a grandfather of mine who died before I was born but I know lots of stories about. I don’t think of them as “PKs”. I’d be disappointed if others thought of them like that too. They are not “pastor’s kids” they are ‘my kids” and primarily God’s. So I just train them as I would if I was doing engineering, banking, being a fisherman, teacher, or factory worker. They are growing up in a family which loves Jesus and loves them. I want them to be all that Jesus wants them to be. I don’t even start to think of them as “PKs”. Perhaps that ‘head game’ helps, I don’t know. But we want them to be who they were meant to be, and not what anyone else wants them to be or expects them to be, and don’t even think in terms of managing expectations from anyone else. The only expectation we want to manage is the expectation of Christ in their lives. I’m not sure ‘expectation’ is the right word for that, but I’m just playing with the question.
When they are older you’ll have to ask them how we did…
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.