If it’s God’s will for a person to become a minister, then it’s His will for that person’s children to grow up in a minister’s home, but life in that fish bowl isn’t easy, folks!
For a scene from my own daughter’s life, see Understanding and Loving Ministers’ Kids Part 1.
Many ministers’ kids grow up carrying the weight of a calling not their own. Want to ease their load and love these young people well? Here are a few more insights and suggestions, courtesy of 12 grown ministers’ kids who still love the Church and Jesus with all their hearts.
Ministers’ kids are just kids. Ministers’ kids move from immaturity to maturity as time and experience provide opportunity without skipping any steps or stages, succeeding and failing in sporadic rhythm like everyone else. Although some may exhibit behavior that suggests advanced maturity in one or more areas, this doesn’t mean they have fully matured in every area. It’s more likely they’ve simply gotten good at reading and pleasing people.
Interact with ministers’ children on an age-appropriate level. Don’t lay on their shoulders any burden of expectation that you would hesitate to lay on the back of any other person at their stage of development or level of experience. Don’t tell them things they don’t need to know, and don’t be surprised when they take three steps forward and two steps back like everyone else. That’s how we learn. Highlight their progress, not their regression.
Ministers’ kids are not super-Christians. They may not even be Christians yet. Assume nothing—including an individual call to vocational ministry, as we no longer assign “priesthood” by tribe—but inform, encourage, and correct them with the same love and patience you would show any other person who is learning to walk to and with Jesus.
Remember, it is God Who convicts, draws, rescues, and transforms sinners—not ministers—and He does it in His wisdom, His way, and His perfect timing so as to bring about His greatest glory in the process.
It could take a while.
For some ministers’ children, just being a minister’s kid is itself a hurdle or roadblock to their placing their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation and/or growing in their faith, as many have either had a peek behind the curtain and witnessed less than Christ-like behavior from those whom the congregation at large considers to be spiritual leaders or are hesitant to admit they need more information or help because they don’t want their ignorance or personal struggle to discourage or reflect badly on their already overwhelmed parents.
Understand, your minister’s family is on a learning curve, too, often counseling and leading others ahead of their own life experience and just praying they don’t trip anyone up. Rest assured, if you are ready for your minister’s child to become more like Christ, so is your minister, for their child’s sake and God’s. Lend your encouragement, support, and prayer as God does His work, not unrealistic expectations and deconstructive criticism.
(To be continued…)