By Lenita Marxsen
Free will and expectations often lead to conflicts in Christian homes, particularly in regard to Pastor’s Kids (PKs). You may have heard the statement, ‘When kids act well, they must be PKs,’ or ‘When kids behave badly, they must be PKs.’
Bill Muehlenberg from Culture Watch recently joined us on 20Twenty, and says often a source of criticism for ministry parents is not upholding the typical roles or parental duties. He shared with us two extreme stories from famous Christian households.
Francis and Edith Schaeffer promoted the gospel through apologetics and had their work publicly criticised by their son, Frank. He wrote a book attacking his parent’s viewpoints due to his own disconnection from the faith in which he was raised.
Resulting in bitterness and anger, a known associate to the family revised the book on Christian Today and revealed the scurrilous attack made upon Francis Schaeffer and advised him not to take this publication at face value.
Bob Piece, the founder of World Vision and The Samaritan’s Purse, worked to help children all around the globe. Yet his daughter also wrote a book. She dearly loves her father, but revealed the loneliness, emptiness and neglect she felt without him nearby.
As we reflect on these stories, it’s important to understand free will and expectation. Often the priority list has been set as:
Operating from this list is the result of the two extreme stories above. PKs yearn to be seen, heard, and loved. Instead they want the priority list as:
If a man cannot manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?
‘Family should take precedence over ministry,’ says Bill. ‘What good will any ministry be if you’ve alienated your immediate support group? When the priority is on the ministry, sadly the family can be neglected.’
When raising children in Christian homes, Christianity does not simply transfer over as the genes do. It is necessary for each generation to be evangelised afresh.
Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. But this can create a source of guilt and condemnation for some parents whose children may have left their upbringing in faith.
Bill explains the book of Proverbs is not meant to be an ironclad of guarantees or promises. Some proverbs conflict with other proverbs, showing they are not statements of absolutes.
We are all in an ongoing spiritual battle, especially our church leaders who can easily be placed upon a pedestal. Keep in mind our leaders are as much human as the rest of us. We all live in a fallen world.
‘Instead of being shocked when pastors fall,’ says Bill, ‘Let’s pray even more for them!’