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January 15th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

62 comments (+ Add)

Raising Your Kids in the Fishbowl

Ministry can be very hard on pastor’s children.

  • Your kids will hear you criticized.
  • Your kids will watch you hurt.
  • Your kids may see you wrongly strike back.
  • Your kids might see your hypocrisy up close.
  • Your kids might reject the church because you’re always there.
  • Your kids may enjoy the extra attention when they are young and despise it when they mature.

No matter how healthy your church is, a pastor’s kid will likely feel a different sort of pressure. Here are a few things we do to help our kids grow up in the fishbowl:

  • We put the kids’ activities ahead of the church calendar. If my girls have a piano recital on Saturday night, either I pre-produce the message or have someone else speak.
  • I rarely work evenings. The evenings are family time. I also try not to compromise my day off with church needs.
  • I don’t talk about my kids in a sermon without their permission.
  • Amy and I work hard not to talk negatively about the church.
  • We don’t make our kids go to church every week. Every now and then we let them stay home or do something else so going to church doesn’t become a legalistic chore.
  • We live our private lives with personal devotion to Christ. We pray and talk about spiritual things with our children regularly.

I’d love to hear what you do.

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  1. Jan 15, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Great thoughts… “We don’t make our kids go to church every week. Every now and then we let them stay home or do something else so going to church doesn’t become a legalistic chore.” I really like this one…as we we often do the same!

  2. Jan 15, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Growing up as a PK was hard for many of the reasons you mentioned. Because I grew up as one it makes me very conscience for my kids.

    We only have one child and she is only 12 days old so I am very new at this raising a PK thing.

    But as far as family, the big rule for me is that my day off is my day off. I tell people don’t call, I don’t check email, I try to not talk about work. It has shown my wife (and now hopefully my daughter) that I can take a day and just a husband and father. That it is their day!

  3. Jan 15, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I’m not sure if this is right or wrong, it’s just a precaution I have tried to take to protect my children, who are older. We’ve had MUCH unpleasantness and tragedy at our church in the past three years. As a result we’ve lost almost 50% of our congregation and as you can imagine, not everyone has kept their mouth shut on the way out the door. Some have been very vocal to their children, or in front of my kids.

    So I’ve done three things and prayed to God it has helped.
    1) When someone talks to my kids or in front of them we do discuss all of what was implied, etc. I don’t ignore it. (and we’ve had some very difficult conversations!)
    2) I - however - try really hard to not discuss my frustrations in front of them, and especially not to every mention when someone has hurt me or what they said. I learned this the hard way. In the past I would talk about things to my husband and they would overhear when I didn’t realize it. That plus people talking TO my daughter has her really burned. She’s 23 and loves Jesus but hates church and does not attend, which is heartbreaking. She simply saw too much of how I was treated very harshly and unkindly as a woman in ministry. Unfortunately her witness of the church was not a good one because of this.

    3) I talk to my kids about what GOD wants them to do, not what they are expected to do as my child.

  4. Jan 15, 2009 at 9:29 am

    oh, and now (after learning the hard way)I don’t do church things on my day off but spend it with my kids and husband…….

  5. Jan 15, 2009 at 9:33 am

    “I don’t talk about my kids in a sermon without their permission.”

    Glad to hear other pastors say that. I sat under a pastor that would expose all of the family business Sunday mornings. It made me uncomfortable and I vowed to never do it. Now I have a son who gets uncomfortable whenever I even mention him onstage. I can’t imagine how he would feel if I made a struggle of his a sermon illustration.

    I wonder if this is not part of the classic pk syndrome.

    Good post.

  6. Jan 15, 2009 at 9:34 am

    We have had some pretty major challenges with our kids through the teen years, one is 17 and the other 15. They are great kids and not the ones you think would get in trouble - at least others have said that. The older one has led the way making poor decisions and then the younger one has followed to a lesser degree.
    As parents we have sought advice, got counseling, made changes in how we parent and how we live our lives for that matter.

    It has been one of the hardest times of life. We have worked through these challenges as we have led our nearly 2 year old church.

    At times it has been clear that we have not parented well, at other times we have seen a clear spiritual battle and at other times we have just not understood why.

    Thankfully we have a grace filled church and we have not been scrutinized by people. But I have scrutinized my own life and my heart has ached as I see the older child move, in many ways, from our values.

    Thanks for the great reminder of things we can do and or not do to help create a better family relationship while in the fishbowl. The one area that really stood out was “making our kids go to church”. Our kids both serve at the church and seldom ever complain about being there on Sunday, but perhaps I need to give them a little more freedom in this area. I am also constantly addressing how I live before them. I want to show them Jesus - I fail too often.

  7. Jan 15, 2009 at 9:57 am

    This is great. Growing up as a preachers kid in India is different then growing here because of the many religions. Funny thing is that some of the expectations can be the same from other Christians as well as friends from other religions.

    y dad is an Evangelist and had to travel a lot, but every time he was home both mom and dad tried to include us in what was taking place in the ministry and so we felt we were a part of it. When sacrifices had to be made we did it as a family and saw how God came through every time. That strengthened our belief and faith.

    Having conversations about spiritual things with me and my brother was also huge! We still do it a lot of times.

    It can be a tricky thing, so I pray for all you parents and also pray that when I become a parent that I will be able to do a good job with the Grace of God.

  8. Jan 15, 2009 at 9:58 am

    In my case my parents began pastoring when I was 19, but they been in ministry since I was 10.
    The greater preasure our kids can have is our own.
    We must teach them that all eyes are on them, but not to the point of making them fully responsible for their actions, specially when they’re just kids.
    Good communication parents-kinds, pastors-church is important.
    Now I have 2 daughters (8 and 4) and like all I have a day dedicated to them.
    Secular job and church is harder but not impossible.
    I do not regret anything that I went through.
    Its a lesson for my future as a chuch leader.

  9. Jan 15, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Good parenting tips…pastor or not.

  10. Jan 15, 2009 at 10:15 am

    As someone who does not yet have kids, but often wonders what it will be like to raise kids in the ministry, this post was incredibly helpful and insightful to me. Thanks!

  11. Jan 15, 2009 at 10:45 am

    This is something that I struggle with. In starting a new church/campus, it can become all consuming. There are a lot of nights with meetings and rehearsals and almost every Saturday getting ready for Sunday. I worry about my kids if we don’t set some difficult boundaries.

  12. Jan 15, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Very good points. It’s interesting for me since I am a campus pastor now and also grew up as a PK. And a PK of a megachurch pastor. Many things I do the same as my dad, but some different.

    One thing my dad did that I loved- anytime he mentioned me in a message I got $20. Sweet deal!

  13. Jan 15, 2009 at 11:27 am

    What a timely post! I was just at the bedside of a sister-in-law of someone who is active in our church when she passed away. The family of the deceased has no church home, and they have asked me to conduct the funeral.
    The problem is they are planning on holding the service Saturday, and I already have plans to take my kids skiing–a very rare, special treat for us. I told the family I would be unavailable Saturday, but my associate, who they have met, would be glad to do the service.
    That seemed very acceptable to them, but I’m still torn. I expect there will be some criticism from the related family who is part of my church, but my fellow elders will stand with me in this decision. This is the beauty of being able to do pastoral ministry with a team of pastors/elders.
    As a PK myself, I was blessed to have a father who modeled putting family before church responsibilities. I haven’t always followed his example, but I’m trying to improve in this area.

  14. Jan 15, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Something my wife and I had a habit of doing was de-briefing and critiquing church on the way home in the car. Its so easy to do and to forget that the kids are listening. If they hear the first thing you say about church is ‘There wasn’t many people there’ or ‘worship was terrible wasn’t it?’ it sets a terrible example.

    No matter what the service was like, now we ALWAYS say positive things about church and ask the kids what they got out of it.

    Also, if I have to go out in the evening or the kids want to spend more time with me when I have to go to work, we’ll tell the kids that I’m going to help or serve someone instead of ‘Daddy’s got another meeting’. It’s not lying and it sends a positive message.

  15. 16John Mashburn
    Jan 15, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I grew up as a PK, and not a very nice one at that. I met all the stereotypes - perhaps wrote a few of them. When any kid stumbles the pain falls on both the parents and the kid. But when a church and a deacon board is looking on, the pain is amplified many times. As church members, we need to develop an almost reflexive action of looking the other way when a pastor’s child stumbles. A good rule is: if we aren’t close enough to hold hands in the home of the pastor’s family to help them through times of grief, then we aren’t close enough to offer “help” or “advice” regarding their children when they stumble. Is my bias coming through?

  16. Jan 15, 2009 at 11:58 am

    I’m a pastor’s kid and now, a pastor myself and father of 5 amazing kids! Growing up, I saw and heard everything you’ve described. It sucked, A LOT, at times. Yet, my dad was so cool through all the crap. He’s the real deal.

    During the first part of my life in ministry, as a youth pastor, I screwed up tons. Work, work, work … yeah, I saw huge youth ministries built but never saw my wife & kids. What a loser! The church didn’t care or urge me to do less or spend more time with family. They liked the success and looked the other way in regards to my family.


    Five years ago we planted Real Church here in Detroit. From burbs to innercity, from public schools to home school, from multi-staff to lone leadership, from big budget to missionary support. We couldn’t be MORE happy! Finally, my priorities are no longer just preached, they’re lived: Faith, Family… and then everything else. And, you know what? My church is growing, my marriage is thriving and my kids are happy.

    An example: my wife & youngest are sick today. I canceled all meetings & plans to be here, at home, to serve & love them. I’m NO hero, I just finally woke up…

    “He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise” Proverbs 11:29.

  17. 20Jared B
    Jan 15, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Wow chilly that’s all awesome!

  18. Jan 15, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    As a pastor I very rarely get invited to a conference,training or meeting where my entire family is welcome. My wife and I have talked about the need to have conferences where the entire pastor’s family can be ministered to together (not always kids go one way, parents go another). It would seem if we want strong, healthy, Pastoral families we would be intentional in providing more opportunities. Imagine the hope and help our kids would get from being around other ministry families and learning about issues realted to the same. Maybe this is happening somewhere and I need to get out of my cave. If so when and where?

  19. Jan 15, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    It is so funny that we love and forgive strangers in our churchs more than our own kids….I know I just have to keep on being as merciful and loving at church and at home….for me it is harder at home- I just keep reminding myself to give it to God and love them flaws and all….they do!

  20. 23txmom4
    Jan 15, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Chilly said “The church didn’t care or urge me to do less or spend more time with family. They liked the success and looked the other way in regards to my family.” As a former church staff member I saw more of this than I care to admit. It’s one of the reasons I resigned. Our pastor would preach Biblical priorities from the stage, but I bet more than half the staff was working so much in the ministry, they didn’t practice them. Even in my support ministry role, I noticed my children developed resentment toward the church because their mom was never home.

  21. 24De
    Jan 15, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I love this post! My husband isn’t a pastor, but he has spent the last 5 years coordinating student missions (while maintaining his full time job) and before that involved in youth ministry at our large church. We are just now taking a break and have REALLY enjoyed visiting other churches - mostly to expose our girls to different communities of believers right here. I think it has opened their eyes to the idea that we aren’t in a fishbowl. They expect that when we travel, but to have them see it here was really good for them.

  22. Jan 15, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Love your words about loving and forgiving at home like we do with strangers. Man, that’s so hard…but I need to do that.

  23. Jan 15, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Great stuff! I am a PK that was raised in a fairly large church. One thing that I think is key is to have a mentor for your child that is not connected to your church. Maybe a youth pastor from a neighboring church. I found it difficult to talk to any of my pastors about tough issues because they worked with my father.

  24. 28Jan
    Jan 15, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I’m a pastor’s wife and checked this out from a link at Monday Morning Insight…

    We have five kids and they are pk’s. People have asked me how we’ve not only kept our kids involved, but why they are passionate about serving the Lord.

    My husband pays our kids $5 bucks if they are mentioned in a sermon. Two things happen when we do this. #1 we think about it before we speak. #2 our kids have been glued to sermons, just in case their name is mentioned!

    The other thing we’ve done that I think is really important is to recognize that a pastor is not the only one called to a church. WE are called as a family. So, if we went to a ministry, it was a group decision for the most part. If one of us didn’t agree, we went back to prayer.

    So, even in times of great conflict, the perspective that God has called US here really helped us work through it and not abandon church attendance etc.

    I don’t really agree that attending church service is an option. We go to worship the Lord with God’s people. It’s not about any other thing. I think that’s of primary importance in our walk with the Lord and we’ve treated it as such and have had very few problems if any. That may come from our team ministry approach in the first place.

    And lastly, our kids know that we back them 100%. One thing we did was to tell our kids that they were to say this to anyone who tried to pressure them to do something in the church because they were pk’s. “Sorry, I’m not allowed to accept any jobs without my parent’s permission. So, you have to go to them first.” And guess what, we’ve never had these types come to us and ask! They just dropped the whole subject. We’ve also backed them up in times of accusation (Isn’t it unfortunate that pk’s are on the hit list of some?!) But we’ve BELIEVED in them above all else, refused to not follow Matt. 18 and been there through it without question.

    And last of all, we recognize that there are privileges in ministry and with that comes responsibility. We have lots of info we don’t impart to people. We keep it to ourselves. We get to hang out in the church, have slumber parties there, and sit in the office on dad’s computer. We have snacks in the fridge, etc. These are some of the fun things we get because we have a life in ministry. And we also celebrate the successes together as a family. When someone comes to Christ, when we had a huge turn out, we all get the joy too.

  25. 29Jan
    Jan 15, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    By the way, my kids are now 25, 23, 19, 17 and 13. And they all attend our church and are actively involved in ministries. Our two oldest graduated from college and deliberately moved back to this small town where they did not grow up, because they wanted to serve with us in our church.

  26. Jan 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Jan love the money thing…..I’ll have to but that in practice with normal stuff….

  27. Jan 15, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Can anyone share links to family camps?
    Thanks so much

  28. Jan 15, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    My wife and I went through a difficult season in an established church we had served at for nearly 9 years. We tried to shield our kids from the worst, but they knew some of what was going on. A decision we made during that time was beneficial: we simply told them that these things happen and we did not criticize individuals, just explained it from the perspective of imperfect people serving a perfect God. The awesome part is that God opened the door for us to plant a church in a distant state. I was so worried about my kids, but a year and a half later, God has blessed them beyond belief. Friends, school, sports, everything has just been incredible. They have seen the miracles God provided for us: a new home, jobs, a growing church and a better standard of living. Any time my wife or I said too much in front of them, we have apologized to them. We just do our best to be honest, live right, and be transparent.

  29. 33pktoo
    Jan 15, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Craig and others,

    I am a PK. And I have to say that my life now is different that it was then. I am married with 3 young children and am apart of the leadership at my church. I grew up Lutheran and my dad’s “job” took him away from home often and was a great stress at times.
    I had the “enjoyment” of seeing a board almost fire my dad…because of the church’s own laziness -but they blamed it on him. Still to this day my dad is working morning and night. He takes a day off on Fridays and then works on Saturday mornings.
    I now go to a non-denominational church with a very much different order. My pastors are very much family first. In fact last year we canceled VBS and our Harvest fest to focus on spending more time as a family. Those two events take up a lot of time for many many people. It was refreshing to have a break and that my pastors realized that family’s are a priority. Our pastor’s have learned from their mistakes as parents and impart that wisdom to us which is great.
    It is hard to have that balance and you have to constantly seek wisdom to have that balance in your family with ministry/serving in mind. But it is a must! My kids love to go to church and go to their classes.
    I know as they get older I need to be even more mindful of how I present the church and ministry to my children. We are called to serve but first we are called to our families and we have the responsibility to raise our children and serve the Lord at the same time.
    I pray that everyone receives wisdom from the Lord in their pursuit to the highest calling - serving God’s people.

  30. Jan 15, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I’m a PK of a bi-vocational dad who served in every role (not senior pastor until I was grown). I think the best thing they did to make me turn out so well (I’m in ministry now too) was that they practiced what they preached.

    Another thing they did was include me in ministry. One example I can give you of something my dad did that I will never forget: He was an unpaid Assoc/Children’s pastor and was sitting in the office with the Senior Pastor going over some benevolence requests. I popped in to ask something (that’s pretty cool in and of itself, that I knew that was OK) and they invited me in. My dad presented the issue they were discussing, a man who repeatedly asked the church for handouts to pay his bills (no name of course). They asked me what I thought they should do. I said I thought they should help him find a better job. They looked at each other and said that I had confirmed what they already felt God was telling them. I’ll never forget the way that made me feel–validated and included and important and spiritually relevant. I was never treated like a second-class Christian just because I was a kid.

    Something we’ve struggled through after I was grown is breaking out of the expectation to take over their ministry. I was a teacher but not at their school. I came on staff at a church besides theirs. That was rough. You have to be OK with the fact that God called you to fulfill your purpose and likely has a different one for your kids.

  31. 35pktoo
    Jan 15, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I loved what you said about attending church. It isn’t an option in our house either. When there is a church service we all attend - Sunday’s and Wednesday’s.
    The bible speaks about not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together. AMEN

  32. Jan 15, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Craig, on another topic entirely, Anne Jackson mentioned you had some great leave policies for your staff. I need some ideas for “staff health” and wondered if you could share? I didn’t know how else to get in touch with you.

  33. Jan 15, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    My kids are only small, so I appreciate these little tips. They love the attention now, but its good to know that it could change. Love this blog by the way, just found you recently.

  34. Jan 15, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Great insight. As an associate pastor and father of 3 boys, my Senior Pastor has set a great example for me how to raise a family and commit to family. One of the first things he said to me when I became a father was to tell my kids that I was going to work on mon-thurs. but to church on Sunday’s and Wed. nights. That way they wouldn’t resent the church as they got older. Great advice I try to pass on.

  35. Jan 15, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Great discussion…I’ll lend a different perspective.

    I’m a physician, specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry, and I get asked to work with lots of PKs as an offshoot of a ministry I’m involved with. There are lots of parallels between my job and yours in that my kids also live in a fishbowl and parents of my patients make judgments about my work and faith through what they observe with my kids. It’s also very easy for us to rationalize that our jobs are more important than our families. After all, you’re doing God’s work and I’m responding to kids and families in crisis. But in each case, I’m not sure that’s consistent with what we’re taught in the Bible.

    For most of you, if you were killed in a car accident tomorrow, they’d find somebody else to preach by Sunday, the Elder Board would still meet and the emergency calls and prayer requests would be addressed. There are lots of other people who could do your job as well as mine (but maybe not Craig’s). But who would be there to be a dad or a mom to your kids, to love them, spend time with them, and to model how to be a spouse,a parent and a follower of Christ?

    Pastors and physicians are at a heightened risk for assuming such a sense of importance that we spend all our time in a vocation that hundreds of other guys could do at the expense of a call to our kids and spouses that God has UNIQUELY positioned us to address.

    A must-read for my families in which a parent is engaged in full-time ministry is a little book Andy Stanley wrote, “Choosing to Cheat”, that fleshes out these issues from a Biblical perspective.

    PS: Thanks to Craig for so freely sharing your wisdom and the resources of your church. It’s helpful beyond the church world.

  36. 41Chris
    Jan 16, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Wow, so powerful! Even though I have young kids, I have already experienced many things in the top list and I am concerned about them as they grow older. But, what if I am not allowed to do some of those things in the 2nd list? I’m not the senior leader and family boundaries have been a constant conflict at my present assignment. I want to find a place that doesn’t force me to put ministry responsibilities above my family life on a regular basis. I want some peace.

  37. Jan 16, 2009 at 1:59 am

    Excellent Post Craig,
    Man I don’t know where you pull these things out but it’s like every post is better than the next. excellent.

  38. Jan 16, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Craig, I totally LOVE that you are not leagalistic about your kids attending church. Our new church meets in a school and we have so many things at our home every week…small groups, core group meeting, prayer meeting, folks over for dinner or dessert, etc. People also love to visit us because of our close location to the city. We have to be intentional about our time with them and making them feel priority. Even if we think we are doing a good job, if their perception is different we make immediate modifications.

  39. Jan 16, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Great stuff. I don’t take the kids to church every single week either. I also have allowed my oldest to sit in “big” church with me for the last several months until he can move up to the next class for him. He is enjoying it more and loves to hear what you say.

  40. 45John Mashburn
    Jan 16, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Through it all, I wouldn’t have traded being a PK for the world. It is absolutely worth it. There’s just nothing like listening to your own dad preach the Gospel. Forty years later I can hear him telling stories of his own childhood: A young boy slipping in quietly through the screen door on a hot summer day, dusty bare feet, to get a drink of water; the house quite except for a faint voice in the back room; tip-toeing up the stairs to see who it was; recognizing the voice of his mother, but she was alone; then, from just outside her door, he saw her kneeling by her bed, praying: “Jesus, touch Robert, save his soul…” His heart was broken then as were the hearts of those who listened. Stories like that changed many, but the impact of hearing your own dad tell it from the pulpit is priceless. So yes, as pastors your children will bear burdens that others don’t. But rest assured, God will richly bless them and you for your sacrifice.

  41. Jan 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Some good advice…which we don’t take, I’m afraid.

    People do say incredibly rude or hurtful things to their ministers. We try to respond as Christ would, but you I wish some of our flock could see some of the impressions my boys can do of them!

  42. Jan 16, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    [...] Craig Groeschel on Raising kids in the fishbowl [...]

  43. 48DawnCoffman
    Jan 16, 2009 at 2:12 pm


    My husband is the campus pastor of our very first video venue launched at Easter 2008. He is one of your biggest fans. I am sure the multiple children has something to do with it. As a PK, there were so many issues for me to consider when agreeing to follow God’s clear direction for our lives. One of my biggest concerns was how it would affect our four small children (#5 gestating at the moment)I am delighted to say that they are thriving…in ways I never expected. They are in a much smaller environment (portable church in a middle school) with so much more personal attention. They also help me with my responsibilities at their age level. As someone else said, we don’t feel guilty about times when we can’t get to every gathering or volunteer for every job. I choose very carefully how I serve so as to focus on my primary responsibility right now, which is wife and mommy first, pastor’s wife, 2nd or 3rd. One of the best things my dad did for us growing up as PK’s was to never lay on us the guilt or the responsibility of our behavior meeting some standard because we were PK’s. He encouraged us to be followers of Christ, first and foremost and then went about setting a very humble and real example of that for us. To this day, I am eternally grateful to him for that….I never had to go down all those other crazy paths because, I saw it up close and personal when all the other folks in the congregation were making poor choices. It was much easier for me to choose to follow Christ. Even though ministry was never what I envisioned for myself or my kids, I believe that it is where God has led us and believe that He will be faithful to give us the grace and wisdom to parent them well. Thank you so much for your comments and the thoughts for the future of so much personal attention…I never considered that.

  44. Jan 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Craig, and the rest of this community, I am so impressed and thankful for you and the ministry of Life Church, which I have been observing over the last year or so. I love your attitude of service and your heart to advance the church globally through sharing who you are and what you have, Thank you. Although I have been apart of “Open” for the last year I haven’t really used the resources as much as I have been inspired by your heart. In 2008 I completed my first year as a Sr. Pastor of a church in which I have served as a youth pastor for the last ten years. It has been a good transition, but challenging as well. Raising my three kids in the ministry has been fun, but poses unique parenting problems. My kids are 9, 17, and 20 all of them are at different places in their relationship with the Lord. In my opinion honoring them and giving them a platform where they have the freedom to hear the Lords call for themselves is critical. This also means we have to give them the freedom to reject the Lord. Every child will come to this decision point in their life, making it safe for them to do in your home and in a honoring, loving relationship with you is by far the better choice, and an easier path for them. Sometimes through the pressures faced by kids in ministry, their beliefs and identity are inherited, but not internalized as their own. In my experience every human will come to this identity crisis in their lives; who am I and what do I believe? All of us hope that our kids will come to this point while in a positive relationship with us rather than from a place of rebellion. One thing I know for sure is that the strategy to lead our kids to that point is as unique as our kids… Uh oh, I think I was starting to preach, sorry, At the end of the day what has helped me is to not take myself too seriously and laugh a lot with my kids, at my kids, and at myself. May the Lord give us wisdom and discernment as we partner with Him in releasing our kids to their full purpose and potential in His kingdom.

  45. 50Deanna
    Jan 16, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Love this post! Even though I’m not married and don’t have kids, it’s a great reminder. Still can apply all principles with family and friends. I think keeping a life balance is the hardest thing to do when your job is something you LOVE and are so passionate it about.

  46. Jan 18, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    What an awesome packet of wisdom for ministers.

    We need to hear this and continue to learn from seasoned leaders so that we don’t create preventable vulnerability to attacks from the devil in our children’s lives.

    Thank you so much.

  47. Jan 18, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    [...] you what to read Craig’s post click here. Take Me Up! Something to [...]

  48. Jan 19, 2009 at 9:04 am

    [...] Raising Your Kinds in the Fishbowl is helpful for clergy parents. [...]

  49. Jan 20, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks, I found this really helpful…so Craig - did you clear the oreo story with your boys??? that was a great one…

  50. Jan 24, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Good post.

    We try to be very intentional in our parenting (we’ve been parents almost a year), but it is challenging — especially in our case. Both my wife and I are full-time pastors, serving two separate churches.

    We need all the tips we can get! :-)

  51. Feb 9, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    My wife and I are both pk’s now we are pastors in so cal. We have 4 kids, In my experince it was frustrating to not be included in the ministry. So we allow our kids to not only give input but take ownership in ministry we try to pastor as a family.

  52. Feb 25, 2009 at 11:27 am

    [...] P.S. Craig Groeschel (teaching pastor at wrote a great article on the Swerve Blog. If you’re raising kids while you’re in ministry, staff or volunteer, this is a great resource. Check it out: here. [...]

  53. 58Penny Stuart
    Mar 25, 2009 at 11:22 am

    You know I have read so much negative about being a PK. I am definately saying it was easy. There were terrible times. But my positives are I might have been expected to know the bible but guess what I have a great relationship with the Lord and and I see Him in everything. Try to always remember the funny things about being a PK not the negative. People in the church are humans and sinners just like us.
    So why don’t we set the example for them because whether we are PK’s or just church members we are all suppose to have the mind of Christ. Hear is a funny as a PK I remember by sister and I arguing about who got to turn the ink machine to print out the sunday bulletions ( ok I have been a PK for 48 years) I also remember getting to meet a lot of neat people. Let the negative go and look for God. My motto is Did you see God? I bet if you look you wil see Him….

  54. May 3, 2009 at 9:38 am

    ok… so I’m a little late to this discussion, but thought I’d throw in a couple of thoughts…

    Euan mentioned telling his children when he has to work evenings not that it’s a meeting, but that he’s serving people. Let me tell you from experience, that this is not helpful to your kids. I grew up as a PK. And I heard it all. I knew my dad was serving others, and I was glad for that. I also knew that serving others was often more of a priority than serving us as his children.

    Let me be clear that most of the pressure I felt was either pressure I put on myself, or pressure from the people in the congregation, not pressure from my parents. And let me also state that I think any family who is involved in church will have this - we were part of a small church where members regularly gave up evenings to lead small groups, or attend board meetings, or teach kids club, so certainly other people were serving too, but it just wasn’t helpful to hear that dad wouldn’t be home to just hang out that night, or whatever (my parents rarely missed events that were important for us as kids) because he was “serving someone”. It mostly just created a jealousy, and a wondering when my own problems and needs would be big enough that dad would spend an evening “serving” me.

  55. Jul 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    [...] Raising Your Kids In A Fishbowl: Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.TV. gives insight into how Ministers can help their Kids survive minstry life [...]

  56. Jan 20, 2011 at 9:38 am

    [...] Time.  Craig Groeschel, pastor of, blogged, I rarely work evenings. The evenings are family time. I also try not to compromise my day off with [...]

  57. 62John
    Feb 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I grew up in a parsonage. I know that God exists because he saved me from the crazy church people. Had it not been for his presence I would not have made it. I don’t believe that God is real… I KNOW he is real!