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 fourteenth and final interview.
Matt Chandler has been the lead pastor of teaching at The Village Church, a multi-site church across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, since 2002. He is the President of the Acts 29 Network and has authored or co-authored several books. Matt is married to Lauren and they have three children. In November of 2009, Matt was diagnosed with brain cancer and is committed to using the remaining days God gives him to proclaim Jesus.
What is your greatest hope for your children?
I know this will sound canned, but easily my greatest hope for my children is that they would treasure and love Jesus deeply. When I think about them as adults that thought dominates my imagination. As I think of them as married or as parents, etc., I picture and pray for them to treasure Jesus in those roles, to sense His approval and delight in them as a mom or dad, husband or wife.
What is the greatest struggle you face in parenting as a pastor?
As a parent who is also a pastor the greatest struggle is the unrealistic expectations both on my kids and my wife and me. Many people either expect perfection or weirdly celebrate when my kids act like kids. The truth is Lauren and I are doing the best we know to do and the kids are just that, kids. Some days they encourage us with their politeness and thoughtfulness and others they are rude and selfish. Like all other parents we are addressing these things as they come up.
How do you help your kids manage the expectations placed on them as PKs?
We talk a lot about what our expectations are and the differences between our expectations and everyone else’s. Lauren and I try hard to stay tuned in to their hearts and address the fears that can creep in and the pressure to perform for people.
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.