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 seventh interview.
Stephen Miller serves as pastor of worship arts at The Journey in St Louis. His book, Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock Stars, and newest worship album, All Hail the King, released in the fall of last year. Stephen also helps oversee the song writing and production efforts of The Journey Collective, a collection of skilled artists at The Journey to produce original music for the good of the church. He writes regularly at www.stephen-miller.com, and you find him on Twitter @StephenMiller and at Facebook.com/StephenMillerMusic.
What is your greatest hope for your children?
My greatest hope for my children is that they would grow to love Jesus as their own, and cherish him apart from their parents’ faith. It would be so easy for them to simply recite things they hear me say, or pray the way I pray, but never connect with it as truth. I pray God would save them from becoming so familiar with him that they miss the awe and amazement of who he is and what he has done. I hope for my daughters to grow up to be godly women who love holiness and are filled with joy; for my sons to become Godly men who are tough and tender, with noble ambition for the Gospel to be made known everywhere. For all of my kids to know their value and identity is firmly rooted in Christ. And for them to never have to question if their father loved them.
What is the greatest struggle you face in parenting as a pastor?
I love ministry. I get really excited about what I do. I think about it a lot. When your job is one of your greatest passions, it can be hard to “shut it off” and just be present with them. I have to be mindful that my children don’t get my spiritual leftovers and know that they are my greatest ministry, so they never feel less important or valued than my job.
How do you help your kids manage the expectations placed on them as PKs?
I don’t even think they are aware of any expectations, which is great, because we just want them to grow up and interact with the church as normal kids. It helps that we have set an expectation that my wife is not just a pastor’s wife, but a normal woman within the church. By extension people tend to look at our kids as normal children who attend with their mom, play with other kids, and generally have a great, healthy relationship with the church.
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.