Monday, October 10, 2011

What Andy Stanley said About Preacher's Kids at Catalyst'11

I am a PK. A preacher's kid. I grew up realizing we got an awful lot of bad press--you know, "Preacher's kids are the worst", and all that kind of hype. I heard it, took the teasing in silence and with feigned laughter, but I never saw it. I saw occasional kids who grew up in a pastor's home go astray, but not any further or at a more alarming rate than other people's children. My parents raised 4 children, all of us are loving and serving Jesus, all making a significant difference in our worlds. Two of us are very active laypersons, and two of us are pastors of more than 25 years each. The churches we lead are recognized for their effectiveness in helping the communities around us and around the world.

I also married a pastor--he has been an outstanding church leader and church planter, served with distinction as a denominational superintendent and has been a respected leader in our community for more than 30 years. Together we have raised 3 children to adulthood, so we have 3 PK's as well.

The report on this generation of PK's is that our three children and their families are all part of the church I pastor. We are gratefully proud of all of them, and the in-laws they have brought to us. Now, here's the part that leads me to why I am writing about what Andy Stanley said about preacher's kids. Two of the three children are called to full time Christian ministry as well, and work for me at Cornerstone Church. I don't ever hear the "preacher's kids are the worst" stuff anymore, because the wonderful people in our church family helped us raise our kids with love and compassion. Thanks to the kids and the amazing Cornerstone people, there are no "terrible PK stories" to tell about our children. We take marginal credit for that. The glory goes to Jesus Christ, our children themselves, and the incredible people around us.

Not often--just every great while, I get a whiff of something, rarely said to my face. The comments go something like this. "Don't you think there's a lot of nepotism around here? Should a pastor really hire his/her own kids? Doesn't it just make a clique when there's family on staff?"

I usually don't say anything in response. In fact, I thought better of it, and just deleted an entire paragraph of what I could say that would debunk those myths. I truly don't feel defensive about it, so there's no point in appearing so. But I did give a loud whoop and hurrah when Andy Stanley, son of Charles Stanley, two of the greatest Christian leaders in current generations, made a side comment to 13,000 people in attendance at the Catalyst Conference for young leaders in Atlanta, Ga. last week. Andy not only leads one of the mega-churches of the nation with multiple campuses, Northpoint Ministries, and much of the Catalyst organization, he leads hundreds of paid employees in these organizations. He thanked his father for giving him a start in pastoral ministry by hiring him first, and then he said, "I hire all the preacher's kids I can. If you grew upon the front lines of the church, and your heart wants to serve there, your parents did a pretty good job, and you will benefit me and the cause."

I agree with Andy. I am grateful to my parents and their churches for raising us to love Jesus. I am SO glad to be a PK. And I am really grateful to have PK's. I am so thankful to Cornerstone Church and the Coventry community and all the Christian leaders who have helped our children see that serving Christ is good. I am proud that Rachel and Jacob are called to ministry, and gratefully proud to serve beside them at Cornerstone. I know many other awesome PK's, too, children like my own who are a credit to their families and the Kingdom.

And that's all I have to say about that. :-)