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 eighth interview.
Kevin Peck has served at the Austin Stone Community Church (Austin, TX) since 2004. He currently serves as Lead pastor with longtime friend and founding pastor Matt Carter, Pastor of Preaching. His primary role is to lead and develop elders, deacons, and other leaders so that God’s church would be led toward the vision of exalting Christ in their city and throughout the nations. Kevin plans, writes, teaches, and leads Austin Stone’s teams to strive with all of God’s energy to accomplish the mission He has set before them. His life’s focus, and the focus of his role, is for God’s people to be equipped and God’s church to flourish. Follow Kevin on Twitter @_KPeck_.
What is your greatest hope for your children?
My greatest hope for my children is twofold. I pray that they would love Jesus and they would love His bride, the local church. I hope they will look back one day and thank Jesus that He called their daddy to pastor the local church. I want them to remember these years as really, really fun. I want them to treasure the kindness of our church to our family and long to find such a church for their own future family.
What is the greatest struggle you face in parenting as a pastor?
The greatest struggle is sharing my emotional capacity with the congregation, sometimes at the expense of my kids. Honestly, the physical and mental demands are fairly manageable, but emotional bandwidth seems to exhaust the quickest. Coming home to my kiddos with a joyful, playful and engaging spirit is of utmost importance. As such, it has required grace from the church and dedication to quite a few disciplines.
How do you help your kids manage the expectations placed on them as PKs?
The most painful problem to navigate with my kids is time away from home. My kiddos are expected to love Christ and the church, both who ask their daddy to travel and be away from home. Seeing the kindness of God calling your dad away is hard, so we talk about it. I try to schedule my travel into seasons, rather than spread it out. Right before those seasons, we have a “sending ceremony” for daddy. We have a meal, talk about the greatness of God, the need of the lost and the honor of ministry. Then, at the end, my girls lay hands on daddy and “send” me to the work of Christ for a season. At the end of a travel or intense season, we celebrate. We talk about it before it comes and we party like rock stars when the day arrives! We go for lots of laughs, hugs, levity, and fun.
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.