Books / Ministry / Pastors / PKs / February 11, 2014

Why I wrote "The Pastor’s Kid"

It may seem like an odd thing to write a book about such a niche bunch as pastors kids. It may seem self-serving or like grade-A navel gazing. Or maybe it seems perfectly reasonable and interesting (I hope it’s more the latter). Either way, I want to share what spurred me to put fingers to keyboard and actually write The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity.

In the spring of 2012, I was asked to write an article for Table Talk Magazine about being a pastor’s kid. I agreed, but with some trepidation. It was personal, after all, and required digging into some history and memories that weren’t all hugs and flowers and puppies and rainbows. To write honestly I needed to tap into some emotional reservoirs buried pretty deep, something I hadn’t done before.

In early March I boarded a plane for a work trip, settled into my seat, and began to write. After just a couple paragraphs I knew the 875-word limit I had been given wasn’t enough. I sat in my seat turned my face toward the window, and cried. I didn’t expect to remember so much and  feel so vividly. I was roiling inside with hurt and anger but also a yearning to fix this. Something needed to be said, to be done. It was overwhelming. Writing a simple article felt inadequate, but it opened the lid on something I recognized as much larger, at least for me.

When the issue with the article in it released in July of that year, the response was immediate and strong. PKs reached out to me to express their appreciation for making known their feelings and putting them into words. Pastors responded with thank-yous and apologies as well as questions. I began connecting with PKs from around the country and gettingtheir stories. It didn’t take long to realize it wasn’t just me who felt deeply and remembered much. As many jokes as were thrown around about PKs, nobody was helping them or even listening.

That’s why I wrote The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity (David C. Cook, July, 2014).My story is shared by many. Some from tiny rural churches others from suburban mega churches. Some PKs’ parents were transient and other served in a single town for decades. Some rebelled against the church, others embraced it, and many, like me, have done both. What I found through it all was that a story needed to be told, a challenge laid down, and hope offered. That’s what I attempt to do in this book.

My hope is that PKs will find a community and a voice. Too many of us have suppressed, unexpressed crap in our lives that needs expulsion. But we need more than that. Venting and flushing aren’t enough. We need to understand the depth of God’s grace and the power of it to heal and change. We need to realize our own responsibility to stop blame-shifting and do some things differently. I hope pastors will read this and find a window into the hearts and minds of their kids and see a need for changes. I hope church members will read this and recognize the role they play either for bad (pressuring PKs) or good (befriending and loving them). I have learned to love the church, and I hope my book contributes in some small way to helping it be a place that reflects Jesus more and is marked by God’s grace.

If you’re a PK I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment or contact me through the tab at the top for the page. 

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Mar 10, 2014

Gday Barnabas.
My name is HaMin, a PK from Australia, Korean by heritage.

Thank you for the post and your book.
3 years ago a group of mkpk (missionary kids/pastor’s kids) came together who had a heart to serve the mkpks in Australia. Through His grace a retreat was launched in 5 months under extraordinary circumstances. (God really opened doors in finances and relationships) 110 mkpks high school + college kids attended that first camp. It was the first time I recall such a gathering/retreat/conference /anything for mkpks done in Australia. The camp was called Restoration and WOW, just being in the same room as 110 mkpks (who look like any other bloke at school or church) was amazing! It was already bringing so much healing and restoration then! Imagine when worship started! God arrived and blew that place apart. He soooooo wanted to awaken the mkpks in Australia.

I will never forget it…
Throughout the short camp, so much truth and life was proclaimed.
It was a camp filled with laughter, love, tears, healing and Koinonia – community.

Fast forward 3 years to now, we have a group called MKPK Australia a community of 200+. Networking them, providing community and support for their own respective churches. During that time we’ve seen mkpks themselves choose to go into the mission field, we’ve had outreaches, we’ve also sent a team to New Zealand Christ Church in 2013 after the Earthquakes and help connect mkpks there! Now we have MKPK New Zealand actively mobilising to serve the mkpks in NZ. We also had our 2nd camp called ‘KINGDOM’ last January.

There is no denying mkpks have an unique anointing. It is only when our identity of being God’s child comes first, before our label as of being an ‘mkpk’ that we can thrive in our anointing and own destiny.

I haven’t read your book yet but I fully support what you said. Surround mkpks with a community, remove lies that ‘no one understands’, proclaim truth in their lives and BOOOM they really do launch. I have seen first hand in my life and my mkpks friends, from trying to hide away from our identity to embracing it to choosing themselves to walk the narrow path our parents have, using their ceiling as our foundation. What you end up is mkpks becoming amazing leaders in their different spheres of influence, being forerunners preparing His 2nd coming. We saw that at our last camp “KINGDOM 2014.”

Jesus,,, John the Baptist,, they were great PKs, we see as role models. I look forward to read your book.
Our group is heavily “korean’ as it was started by the korean mkpks but during Kingdom 2014 we had guys whose heritage is from all over the world! We stand for 3 things. 1. Worshiping the Lord 2. being agents of unity – if our fathers had trouble uniting, mkpks come as one & 3. being part of Australia’s revival. We won’t be at the tip of it, but we eagerly await and want it and we will be a part of it.

I thought I’d just share this with whats going on in Australia and NZ!
It really is a blessing being born into this world as MKPK.


Apr 12, 2014

Hello Barnabas! 🙂 I am Kim, A PK from the Philippines. I am really happy when I heard about this book. I really look forward to reading it. I hope it will be available here in my country 🙂

Nov 04, 2014

[…] * If you’d like to read the foreword in its entirety, before the book was released, Justin Taylor (a blogger at The Gospel Coalition), received permission to post it. You can find it here. If you’d like to read straight from Barnabas about why he wrote the book, you can read it here. […]

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