PKs often get a bad rap. We are usually categorized (at some point in our lives) as wild or rebellious. People tend to think that we were raised with a strict religious upbringing and will at some point act out against it. I can’t say that I ever dyed my hair a crazy color or did anything too rebellious; I did once wear my dad’s dress shirt and tie to church. It’s a challenging role we are thrust into, not by choice, but due to our parents leading in the church. We are raised in the eye of the church and feel that we have a higher expectation placed upon us. And when you are growing up and figuring out your identity and faith, it can be a burden to bear.
The older I get, the more I realize how important growing up as a PK in the church is to me. I have seen all the different sides of the church, the good, the bad, and the ugly. My dad always said, “As a PK, you get to see a really different side of religion and the church that others may not get to see, and it’s not always pretty.” You hear about people leaving because they didn’t like the pastor. While this might not be a concern to a normal church attendee, as a PK it breaks your heart because it’s your dad. It’s hard to see him putting his entire heart into something and not always having it go his way. You are protective of him and critical of his sermons. Because he is your dad, you want him to succeed.
I do have to admit I was the biggest critic of his sermons. And I probably still am. But my pastor was more than just a pastor, he was my dad. I could ask him any and every question I had about the sermon or about religion. No question was off limits. And he answered every question openly and honestly. He didn’t always have the answers but he always gave me his insight and perspective. We didn’t always agree on everything and tended to challenge each other. When I was questioning my faith and truly discovering what my faith meant to me, it was amazing to have that kind of access to religion. And since moving away to a different city, where my dad is not the pastor of my church, it is something that I truly miss.
What I would like to say to all the pastors out there who have PKs? Let us grow. Let us find ourselves and our faith. And if we question you or criticize your sermons, embrace it.
While being a pastor’s kid is a challenge, it is something I am very proud to say that I am. I have such a strong faith and such an insight into the church. What I want to say to my pastor dad is: I am very proud to be your daughter. Each place brought new memories and new friends, and made me into the woman that I am today. And I have you to thank for that. And you never know, one day, I myself might end up as a pastor of a church.
Amanda Rollins [amandalynn.rollins @gmail.com] works for an accounting firm in Charlotte, N.C. A graduate of the College of Wooster, she is an elder at Morningstar Church in Charlotte. Her father is James Rollins, pastor of Highland Church in Baton Rouge, La.