Wuxiaworld > CHALLENGES OF PASTOR’S KID > 7 Chapter Six: HANDLING PERSONAL CHALLENGES

7 Chapter Six: HANDLING PERSONAL CHALLENGES



NEEDS AT THE HOMEFRONT

Whenever there is a serious hard time in ministry, it always affects every area of the pastoral family life, especially the children. Preacher's Kids make large sacrifices for the sake of the gospel than most people know. If asked, some Pastors' Kids naturally believe that their parents would have fared a whole lot better, financially, if they were not into full-time ministry, especially at the growing stage of the ministry when the kids have to make so many sacrifices.

To those who were not born as Preacher's Kids, some of them probably had lived very comfortable lives before their father's obedience to the cause of the gospel. Their needs were adequately met because of their parents' fat paychecks and constant flow of funds at the home front, until their parents decided to go on full time for the sake of the ministry, throwing away the fat paycheck, and holding unto the stipends that come from the pioneering works.

Each time there is a major need at home that the parents are unable to meet on time, they nurse the opinion that the reason why things are a bit tight for them as a family is because the church is really not paying their parents as much as they deserve. If only the church will pay them a little more than she does, there will be more money at home to do much more. Although preacher-parents are always very happy to make these sacrifices, because it is a well thought out plan when they heard the call, the ministers' offspring are not as happy as the parents, especially when things do not go as rosy as planned, and what they usually got with ease before now has become a special privilege they enjoy once in a while.

The Preacher's Kids feel the brunt of this brunch, or so it seems to them because they feel they were not the ones directly called by God into this ministry. They were only fortunate (or otherwise) to be born into a family that God has called. So, they feel that asking them to make the same level of sacrifices that those who have received the revelation of the call are making may be too demanding for them, and if not carefully handled, they may want to complain, either vocally or silently. This is partly because they are always the center of focus in the congregation in most churches, and the experience is likened to being the only child of a national celebrity, but without the money and the attendant glamour.

NO PRIVACY AT HOME

Besides the needs at home, another personal challenge they have is the lack of privacy at home. Most people seem not to understand that the vicarage or mission house is not part of the church. To them, they are both one and the same. The door to the pastor's house, or better put, P.Ks house is always expected to be open, and people are free to stop by at any time of the day they chose, thereby denying the Pastor's Kid the needed privacy at the home front.


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He is always open to unscheduled interruptions in his family routines because of pastoral emergencies. It does not matter to anyone whether he is exhausted or sick, he will always have to welcome people to his home. The challenge of having to keep the house absolutely spotless every minute of the day because he never knows who might show up in his house unannounced is more demanding than being a full time housekeeper!

The family living room becomes an extension of the pastor's office and is used for unending sessions of counseling and diverse short prayer sessions, whether convenient or not. Whenever he needs to take things from the room where his dad is holding a meeting with the church council or someone from the church and has to wait till the meeting is over before gaining access, every minute seems like eternity, and no one expects him to complain, because he is a Preacher's Kid. Complaining would not only be seen as being selfish, but that he is not supporting his father's ministry, or worse still, that the devil wants to use him to destroy his father's calling.

In severe situations, he has to give up his right to privacy. Someone from church can even come around to share his room for months, and all the notice he gets is just on the evening of the guest's arrival. His holidays and weekends are hijacked without apologies. These things become more of intrusions into his personal daily life. However, so as not to be accused of cooperating with Satan against his father, many Pastors' Kids will keep mute, suffering in silence.

He has no personal belongings. Sometimes, some church members feel they have the liberty to use his personal belongings at will because they know he is a Preacher's Kid and his father always teaches that one should love other. And love gives. They expect him to demonstrate a godly lifestyle by sharing what he has with others, even if he does not feel like it. Whether it is going to be enough for him or not, does not matter. So does his father preach! At least the boy with three loaves of bread and five fishes gave it to Jesus willingly, so also must he! There are times when his mom cooks a meal and it smells amazing, but he can't eat out of it because it's for another needy family or a sick member of the church. He always almost concludes this 'love sharing' thing is getting the best of his parents.

At any point in time, there are always so many volunteers at the home front. People are always volunteering to cook, clean and babysit for the family. This is because they have been taught by his preacher father that it is a privilege to serve the Lord, and to them, serving the Lord could be done directly to God in the church, or indirectly by serving His servant.

There are some of these people who take it too far. They just want to be the Preacher's Kid's 'babysitter' by all means. They act as though they are his big sister or big aunty. Relationship with them could be nice once in a while, especially when nice things flow from their purses to his wallets, but they could act funny once in a while, and this may get him mad at them. However, he must not show it, because he is a Preacher's Kid. Some of them, either at home or in the church, will always treat him like he is still a baby, even if he is a foot taller than they are, in his late teenage year, and is a final year student in the university who will be graduating in about two months' time. He still remains, to them, a kid. That is why he is called Pastor's Kid anyway!

He spends most of his holidays with different families in the church because some big shots in church feel that they owe his father some gratitude and the only way they think they can repay it is to deny him the comfort of his home and family during the holiday, whether he is in support of it or not.

In some rural areas, it is so bad that some pastors can even volunteer their grown-up kids to help out with house chores during special non-church related events in prominent members' house without first asking for the Preacher's Kid's permission. The way some pastors take it, you may begin to think that every Preacher's Kid is God's special gift to the church and its members, just as God gave the Levites as gifts, both to Aaron as a son and the Israelites as temple errand boys.

SHOWCASED TO THE PUBLIC

Besides having no privacy in their father's house, most Pastors' Kids do not have their own lives to themselves. They simply cannot avoid it; their lives are constantly in the spotlight. They cannot sneeze without everyone hearing about it. Almost everything in their lives and about them are open to public viewing.

The P.K. keeps wondering why every long-standing member in the church knows so much about him! All the Board members, church council, elders and deacons are close to his dad, and as such have a right to know the tiniest details about him. It is as though his father needs to submit the progressive report of his son's life alongside the church reports every time they meet at the church council meetings.

Just like the billboard advert at the junction of his father's church, whatever happens to him, his life is always on display. Everything that is said or done in the home becomes the talk of the church, and soon, the talk of the town. Every little achievement in his life becomes a big event in the church as the announcement is made directly from the altar to everyone who cares to listen. The most painful part of it is when he tells his dad something in confidence and his preacher father jocularly announces it to the entire congregation a few days later. It is okay if it is just the good news about him that goes around, but having most of his embarrassing moments shared as illustrations by his preacher-father during his sermon can be most embarrassing to a Preacher's Kid. At times, when the analogy is good, he feels cool with himself and his head swells, but it seldom is.

Even on his birthday, his preacher father innocently asks the whole church to pray for him because he just turned a year older. His entire life as a Preacher's Kid is like a glasshouse. Everyone in the church seems to know every necessary detail about him but he has no clue who they are! It is so embarrassing when people he cannot remember meeting all the days of his life come to tell him how tall he has grown in recent years and he is wondering in his mind "Who the heck are you..?" He really is not sure which is better, whether to lie in church or actually tell these people the plain truth that he has no idea who they are. For a Preacher's Kid, such are not seen as lies; it is called courtesy. So he pretends as though he knows them too well, beaming with all smiles while exchanging pleasantries with a total stranger!

A WORD OF CAUTION FOR THE PK

Appreciate Their Effort

To begin to think that the reason you do not have some things which your friends have is because your father is a pastor is a thought from the pit of hell. Even if your pastoral parents are blessed with a universe full of resources, they may still not grant every one of your requests, because, just like the economist puts it, human wants are insatiable.

It's not as bad as you make it. There are some of your mates too whose parents are not preachers and who still cannot afford the things your preacher-parents have been able to procure for you. Your parents have done their best to make life comfortable to an extent, please appreciate whatever little effort they have made.

Put Things In Proper Perspective

See it in this light: You surely may not enjoy some of the things that your mates enjoy, but you also do enjoy some privileges that your friends whose parents are not pastors do not have. Some of these benefits and privileges are detailed in Chapter 2 of this book.

So, do not think that you are less privileged because of your father's calling. Being contented with whatever little they can provide today while thanking God for it and believing God for a better tomorrow is a more sure way of bringing the abundance of God into the family than complaining about the insufficiency.

Trust The Great Provider

Pastoral family or not, there will always be needs at every point in time in every home. Any child in any family knows these needs will not be there forever. At some point, God will always provide. Coming from a pastor's family, you should have a stronger faith in God and be willing to be patient until He provides enough for your parents to meet these needs.

It is better to depend on God for provision than depend fully on your parents. Your parents can only do their best; God is the Jehovah Jireh, the Great Provider. He can meet all of your needs beyond the ability of your parents, with or without them. See your parents as one of the avenues through which God can allow resources to flow into your life, but see Him as the Giver of the resources. With this understanding, you will not put your preacher-parents under undue pressure, knowing fully well that they are just the channel, not the source, and the source can determine to use other channels.

Make Do With The Available

Make the best of the situation that life presents to you. Grumbling and complaining about the situation of things at home will not make your parents better than they presently are. You only make them worse.

Whatever they can provide at the moment, accept it in good faith as the best of their effort for now. Otherwise, you will put them under unreasonable pressure to perform. This will be very risky for your preacher-parents. Nobody likes to see their children suffer. Giving them the impression that you are suffering because of their call into the ministry may make them begin to think that they are not manly enough.

At their weak moments, the devil can capitalize on this and push them to delve their hands into things they should not do in order to provide for their family. If caught, this may bring serious shame to your family and embarrassment to you. So, accept their best today as their best for now.

Be Willing To Share

Life is all about giving. Be happy to share whatever you have with others. Not everyone who is willing to do so has the opportunity. If you have the opportunity to, it is a great privilege.

There are times when giving your things out or sharing what belongs to you with others may not be convenient, but if you are truly born again, the fruit of the Spirit called longsuffering will help you at times like this. Man may not understand what you go through at such times, but God is always there to see you through.

So, whether you choose to give of your own volition or you are compelled by your parents or situation, do it heartily. For even the Bible confirms that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The good news is that God always blesses the giver, and He will surely bless you in return, for every seed you sow in the lives of others.

A WORD OF ADVICE TO THE PREACHER PARENT

Respect Their Secrecy

Always learn to respect the privacy of your children. They are pastor's kids truly, but they are not church kids. Whatever information you get about your kid's life that does not have any relevance to the members of the church should be managed within the walls of the pastor's house.

Even when the story is applicable, do not preach any sermon in the church from your personal discussions with your kids at home without asking for their permission first. There are more than enough cases in the Bible of whatever image you want to paint. No matter how relevant the illustration is, if it is about their private life or issues they are not happy about or are still struggling with, it makes them very uncomfortable. You will only succeed in putting them under serious pressure from members of the church.

When this happens over time, they will no longer be comfortable during church services. They keep wondering if what they just did at home in the morning will make it to the service sermon for the day. This may make them begin to abscond from services until it eventually drives them away from the church.

Raise Their Hopes In God

Whenever there are needs at home and there are not enough resources to meet such needs, do your best to make them understand you are doing your best. Do not be too hard on them, or shout them down, expecting them to be "far more mature than this in the faith".

Unless they tell you, you may not know what pressure such unmet needs may be putting on them among their friends and colleagues. They did not choose your calling, and so must not suffer for it. If at all they must partake of the unpalatable side of the ministry, it must not be with callousness, compulsion, and insensitivity to their personal needs, but by mutual understanding.

Let them understand that the miracle-working God whom you serve can turn the situations around in minutes. Shift the focus from you to God. Raise their hopes in God and His power to meet the immediate prevalent needs. You can be sure that if this is rightly done, He will not let them down.

Present The Needs To God

Beyond just raising their hopes, our God is a wonder-working God who can bring out the best of situations out of the worst of events. If you indeed trust Him, you will take the needs to Him in prayers both at the family altar and during your personal devotion hour.