PKs are a dangerous breed.
If you didn’t grow up in ChurchWorld, you may not know that “PK” refers to “preacher’s kid,” a term that strikes fear in the hearts of blue-haired old ladies and building and grounds committees everywhere. PKs are the kids who host cannonball contests in the baptistery. They raid the Sunday School curriculum closet and switch the Life and Work series with the Through the Bible series, just for kicks. They use choir robes for Superman capes, bust through the bottom of the cribs in the nursery, and set off firecrackers outside the deacons meeting.
When I was twelve and getting into fist fights behind the church gym with my combination best friends / worst enemies / resident PKs, I had no way of knowing that I would own three of them one day. My oldest two were born during the Student Ministry Era, which meant that Jacob went on his first youth retreat at about two months old. They did BigStuf camps before they could walk. They’ve had a front-row seat to their mom and dad discipling teenagers, disciplining teenagers, and laughing with and loving on and crying for teenagers.
Then came seminary…a PK paradise if there ever was one. PKs and PKs-in-training are turned loose on the playground from dawn to dusk. (That’s for the preschool set. The older ones were home schooled and read George Mueller biographies from dawn to dusk.) While in seminary, our third and final PK was born. He spent many nights stretched across my lap as I feverishly tried to finish papers for systematic theology.
Regardless of the era, my trio of PKs have always made ministry interesting. My office, for example, seems to be their personal hang out area. If I’m in a meeting or finishing up with Starting Point, I can be sure I’m going to come back to find all the paper clips in my drawer linked together, all of my Far Side books rearranged on the shelf, all of the bottled waters in my mini fridge opened with two sips taken out of them and then left sweating on the desk, and invariably, somebody’s shoes will remain. I can’t really figure out how we leave the building without noticing someone is barefoot, but that’s our life.
I remember a pastor that I worked with once telling me that the PK should be cut some slack, because they have to sacrifice more than any other kid in the church. His kids’ excellent behavior proved that he wasn’t referring to slack in discipline, but in the rigid expectations that we often place on kids. My kids are at church a minimum of five hours each Sunday, with occasional Sundays where they hit a twelve hour stretch. They give up their dad to meetings and trainings and “just one more phone call.” This year we’ve gotten to sit together in church about five times out of 49 Sundays so far. We’ve ridden to church as a one-car family approximately five times in four years. They’ve never been to Jason’s Deli when we didn’t have to drop by a church member’s table (or vice-versa) to say hello.
I’ll be the first to admit that the PKs of the Summit have it much easier than the PKs I knew growing up. They simply don’t have to face the drama, the angry deacons, and the expectation that they’ll wear a clip-on tie to Tuesday night visitation. They are exposed to incredible Bible teaching and discipleship from leaders that see them as a regular kid, separated from their pastor dad’s shadow. As I talk to my kids about what they learn at church, their eyes light up and they laugh about the stories of relationships that they are building with godly adults.
My kids are pretty awesome. They put up with a lot, but they also give a lot. I’d put any one of their servants’ hearts up against a seasoned adult volunteer any day of the week. They’re not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get involved. And fortunately, they really do love the church they’re a part of.
Whatever church you attend, take time this week to pray for the PKs in your life. They are a vital part of your pastor’s ministry to your congregation.
…and please pray that mine will stop tangling up my paper clips.