PK's: Life In The Crucible

Before the weekend with hundreds of PK's (Pastor's or Minister's Kids) started, a young teen stood to speak to the students and District Officials gathered in the worship center for the PK Retreat. He spoke of how he was not going to be in ministry because of the experiences he had as a PK. A smile came to my face because that is exactly what I was going to be talking about in just a few minutes. Whether we are teenage PK's considering ministry or not, it is this mindset that we have all been shaped with in America.
Life In The Crucible

All of us live in a crucible. The place where heat and pressure create purity and beauty. What makes us think that hardship, trial, or difficulty disqualifies us from ministry? Or from leadership? Or from something great? The crucible is actually the setting of success.

My message that weekend to the PK's was simple. That each of them are born into ministry as the Levites and Kings of old. Like many royal families today. That their lineage and the call of God upon their life is successive. I believe that as ministers (pastors, teachers, prophets, apostles, evangelists, missionaries, etc.), God gives us our offspring to raise as young ministers and revolutionaries. Where is there a better setting to train future Church leaders?

In my experience, I have seen God call some PK's out of the ministry. But generally, there is a call upon the life of a PK that is familial. Jane and I told each of our kids that they were called because of this concept. That God's calling on our lives extended to our children and that we were raising them to lead the Church. However, we also told each of them that if God called any of them out of the ministry we would be completely supportive.

Now, I know that is not a popular message among ministers. But, I hold strongly to it as one of the patterns of the bible. A walk through the Old Testament brings many examples of this cycle. Some of them examples of great success and others not so much.

Trial And Pressure Produces Character

The brother of Jesus had something to say about this. In the book bearing his name, James (New Testament) writes, "2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

I'm sure James experienced many difficult moments as the brother of Jesus. So his perspective is important. As I speak with many PK's across our country, most of the excuses for them wandering from ministry have been driven by one concept. Trial. The struggle, pain, and difficulty of ministry has discouraged them from pursuing ministry. Whether that looks like parishioners who talk badly about their father or mother, or the amount of time the ministry takes their father or mother away from the family, or the platform (and subsequent pressure) that has been placed upon them, or even the financial difficulties that exist in some ministry settings. These 'trials' do not disqualify us from leadership.

I contend that this concept of trial is what qualifies and enables them to be fit for ministry and leadership. The problem is that we need a shift in our American theology of comfort to see that trial is a great trainer of character and strength, and not an evil to be prayed away. With ease as our constant companion we have become afraid of hardship. It has become too simple to avoid difficulty or to blame God for being unfair. And ultimately rejecting Him and the call of God upon our life to ministry or leadership. Even worse, we may rebel from our relationship with God because of trials and hurt.

Many of us live in a place that most of the world would love to dwell in, yet we ourselves find fault in our setting. A fault that can bring grumbling and complaining, and undermine our willingness to accept the call and will of God upon our life.
The Education Of God

It is probably not a surprise to you, but, life is not perfect. There is a theme of brokenness and ruin in scripture that is in contrast to how we think in America today. This is our condition as human. Yet, what we see as evil or unfair or rejection in our life, God uses as education. What could better train us for ministry than to have experienced trial? Athletes understand this concept as 'no pain, no gain'. Farmers know this as sowing and reaping. And soldiers welcome this as basic training.

I believe in PK's. The setting they have been raised in can be a great education. It can lead to them being some of the next great leaders for the Church. What does this education look like?
  • E - Environment. The virtue and vision of parents who shape their homes and ministry with principles and practices that are as unselfish as any vocation on the planet.
  • E - Exposure. Rubbing shoulders with so many godly men and women (pastors, missionaries, etc.) who are friends with ministry families can be a mentoring opportunity that will change the life of a young PK.
  • E - Expectations. There is an expectation that people place on ministry kids THAT SHOULD BE WELCOMED by PKs'. Don't run from great expectations.
  • E - Experience. Where else can a young person better learn the ministry than by watching the parents? And hearing parents talk about the 'nuts and bolts' of ministry. The inheritance of a PK is standing on the shoulders of great parents who modeled leadership success before them.
PKs' Need To Change Their Mind

The best leaders can come out of trial. The most successful people can come out of hardship. Revolutionaries are born from the crucible. Our PK's need a shift in thinking. Have they lost the incredible value of the call to ministry in the face of ease and materialism? I want to challenge every PK in America to consider that the reason why you are experiencing trial is because God has a great plan for your life and not because He is trying to punish you. That just like an accountant, a lawyer, or an electrician, every occupation has its beauty and it's beast. That He wants you to be a revolutionary and take your parents ministry to another level. And so He is preparing you in ways that we need to value better than we have in the past.