Last week Ed Stetzer posted an interview with me at his blog about being John Piper’s son, being a PK in general, and my book The Pastor’s Kid. Here’s an excerpt.
Your dad is John Piper, a pretty well-known pastor and author. When did you first realize that your dad was not a “normal” pastor?
I started to see that in junior high and high school. That was when he began to really gain fame nationally. But even through those years my experience with his ministry was almost exclusively in our local church. It wasn’t until college that I really began to intersect with his fame outside of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
You write about being a pastor’s kid, but was being John Piper’s kid so out of the ordinary that it changed the situation?
The difficulties PKs face are pretty much universal whether they are in a church of 100 or 10,000, whether their parents are famous nationally or just in the church. The national fame does add a level pressure and a layer of complexity.
I am 31 years old with a family of my own, and I still get held to a standard when people meet me and expect me to be something reflective of my dad. I still get responses to my writing wondering what my daddy would say if he read it. I can’t really escape it, so I just have to come to terms with and not resent my dad because of it.
The other thing to remember is that many of the challenges PKs can face are internal—in relationship to God and the church. That has nothing to do with the fame of our parents and everything to do with a genuine connection to Jesus or lack thereof.
You have a tat that I saw at lunch last week—it quotes a boy’s father in the gospels, “I believe. Help me in my unbelief.” Why do you have that and does it relate to the book in any way? Did growing up in a pastor’s home make it harder for you to believe?
I got that tattoo shortly before my 30th birthday, so it was an adult decision to remind me of one of the most significant truths I have experienced. Faith is a constant tug-o-war between belief and unbelief, obedience and disobedience, following and quitting. I have been through some times of unbelief that ended up marking me and shaping me. They brought me really low and that was where I truly came to see Jesus in a genuine way and understand the profundity of His grace.
For me, being a PK did make belief harder. Being so familiar with all things biblical made it so hard to figure out what I knew versus what I believed. It wasn’t until all the stuff I knew was tested and I was found wanting that belief became a real thing for me.