Right now there is a new cable television show airing called “Preachers’ Daughters.” My husband and I are both Christian ministers with two daughters, so I have taken interest in the show. There are two challenges for a preacher’s family that stand out the most to me. One is the issue of religious politics with it’s pressure to be perfect. When I say “religious” I’m not referring to our relationship with God, but the results of mankind’s erroneous attempt to control themselves and others in the arena of faith. The second is the stress that comes from living in a glass house, being watched and scrutinized by people.
The pressure religion puts on preacher’s daughters and sons.
- You can’t make a mistake.
- You have to be an example.
- You’re not good enough. Try harder.
- You could hurt your parent’s ministry.
Different ways preacher’s kids respond:
- Some rebel. Their behavior is bad. For some, their heart is filled with rebellion, but for some, their behavior is a cry for attention. “I’m hurting. Listen to me. I want to be accepted for who I am, not how I perform.”
- Some reject. They feel, “If this is God, I don’t want Him. I’ll decide for myself what I think is right and wrong.”
- Some conform. They want approval, so they perform. Unfortunately, they hide their true self and their true gift inside.
- Some adopt religious thinking. They learn to become religious. They learn to judge and control others through religion.
- Some quietly withdraw. They’re hurting, but they don’t want anyone to know about it. They learn not to trust anyone.
- Some self-destruct. Some try to alleviate their soul pain by hurting themselves or drugging themselves. Some even kill themselves.
- Some encounter God and realize people aren’t always right. They think, “I’m not perfect, but God still loves me. Other people aren’t perfect, so I’ll overlook their faults and love them for who they are.” And another beautiful thought is when a preacher’s kid thinks this- “I can love myself.”
A message to the kids
- You don’t have to be perfect. There’s room to make mistakes. He loves you no matter what. If you make a wrong choice, repent and accept God’s forgiveness.
- You don’t have to be acceptable to everybody. You answer to God, then your parents, but you do not have to answer to people in your church or community that you are not accountable to.
- Enjoy being a kid. You aren’t grown yet, and you don’t have to be. Mature as God leads you, but enjoy life along the way.
- Live in God’s presence. Learn to encounter God in worship. He will heal you when you hurt. He will show you how to love others like He does, with grace and forgiveness. He gives you confidence to be who you are.
A message to the parents
- Recognize the pressure to perform that exists for your family.
- Make sure religion hasn’t attached itself to you and that you are adding pressure to your kids. Protect them from religious people and address religion.
- Teach your kids in love. After you discipline, always show acceptance and forgiveness.
- Verbalize God’s love and grace for your children. Don’t assume they know it.
- Don’t push your kids, but lead them to open up to you in conversation.
- Demonstrate grace to other people in front of your children.
- Lead your children into real encounters with God in worship. Let God do the rest.
I think the parents of the young people on the show Preacher’s Daughters are exploiting their children, and I do not advocate the show. I also feel this show gives a false representation of all preachers kids to the world, other ministers, and other preachers’ families.
I just want to encourage other parents in ministry to believe that your kids can grow up to be healthy, strong, loving, God-encountering Christians! Our daughters aren’t perfect, and they don’t have to be. God loves them for who they are, and so do we. They know Jerry and I aren’t perfect, and they know we don’t have to be. What matters is that we’re all growing forward in our relationship with God by His grace. I hope this inspires other preachers to love your family and continue to pursue the call of God on your life!