We all wonder how we can help our PKs (Pastor Kids) survive growing up in the parsonage.
In our ministry, we had one very special D.S. that had a heart for PKs and did so many things to help them survive their parents ministry. I asked him to give us a few pointers today.
How Can You Survive Having A(Those) PK(s) Living In Your Home?
What Can You Do to Help Them Survive You and Your Ministry?
Guest Post : Laurel L. Matson is living in retirement after serving in ministry with the Church of the Nazarene for 49 years. During that time he was a staff associate for 3.5 years, lead or senior pastor for 18 years, district superintendent for 15 years, and college administrator at Nazarene Bible College for 14 years. He and his wife, Sharon, have two sons and two daughters, and four granddaughters. Throughout his years as a superintendent and college administrator he displayed a strong concern for children growing up in the spotlight glare of being a PK.
Don’t forget to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY every day!
It is thrilling to be able to share some thoughts on life in the parsonage, especially in reference to PKs. I am pleased that I was not asked to address PKs, but to address parents who live in the parsonages with the too often forgotten, long-suffering PKs.
What can a pastor-parent and her/his spouse do to help their children survive the rigors of ministry?
Too often well-meaning pastors and spouses give more attention to how their ministry can survive the whims, quirks, and impulses of their children than how their children can survive the fancies, notions, moods, and caprices of the congregation to which God has called them.
Serving congregations is vital, but leading children to become men and women who are Christ-followers is a primary responsibility of all parents, even those that live in a parsonage @ggmandy
My wife of 51 years and I have lived in seven church owned parsonages and one district parsonage.
We were privileged to have raised four children and all are presently serving the Lord. We thank God frequently that he brought us and them through. However, I do not want to leave the impression that I believe we did it all right and have all the answers to the questions implied by the title of this blog.
We still pray daily for those children who are between the ages of 50 and 33.
We pray daily for our two in-law kids, and for our four granddaughters who are from three years old to an 18 year-old college freshman. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to raise those great girls in today. I can’t conceive how hard it must be to keep a marriage together with all of the competing philosophies of our era. So, my suggestions do not imply that “if you just do these five things, everything will be fine.” I know better. In spite of all we do, our children are free moral agents and still have choices that are their responsibility.
HERE ARE MY SUGGESTIONS FOR HELPING YOUR CHILDREN SURVIVE THE PARSONAGE ….
Allow your child to be a child.
I once interviewed a prospective pastor who, when asked about his children, responded, “Well, too be honest, I am a little disappointed. I’m not yet getting the ministry from them that I expected by this point in their lives.” I quickly looked again at the information sheet in front of me and said, “but this says your kids are between six and 13!” He responded, “Yeah, I’m really going to have to work on that, aren’t I?” I still wonder if he ever became a pastor and what happened to his precious kids.
Don’t let the work of your ministry drain you to the point that you have no time to be a parent.
Take time with your children. Talk with them, not just too them. There may be times when your ministry schedule is so packed that you end up spending less time with children than you would like. If that happens show your kids that you will make time specifically for them and your spouse that is more than 15 minutes here or there.
Participate with your spouse in your children’s school functions.
Go to teacher/parent conferences. Attend sports events, show up at their band and choir concerts. Have regular daddy/daughter or father/son nights and outings. And be sure to make and keep regular “date nights” with your spouse and “family nights” with the entire family. Let them see you and your spouse share affection – not inappropriately, but let them know that you LOVE their Mom/Dad.
Never talk about church issues and problems with your children, or even within hearing of your children.
If your children ever see congregational discord be sure you talk with them about that and apologize to them for the fact that they witnessed such inappropriate behavior. Yes, you apologize even if you had nothing to do with the discord.
Never talk about them from the pulpit in your sermons.
If you intend to use them in a sermon illustration ask permission, and be sure they have the right to say “NO” to granting that permission. I have even heard of some PKs that got “paid” (actual money) if their parent ever used them in an illustration. Spouses should get the same “benefit.”
Important Books to my ministry other than the Bible:
Devotional: The Inner Voice of Love by Henri J. M. Nouwen,
Practical Help: Survival Tactics in the Parish by Lyle Schaller (Old but good!)
Ministry Today: Missional Church edited by Darrell L. Guder
and Introducing the Missional Church: What It Is, Why It Matters, How to Become One by Alan J Roxburgh and M. Scott Boren