We’ve all read the statistics and heard the stereotypical stories about ministry kids. They often experience stress and unreal expectations as a result of the ministry position of their parents. Some of those children even develop deep feelings of isolation, emotional or spiritual conflict and resentment. Segen’s Medical Dictionary actually names this effect “Preacher’s Kid Syndrome.”
Well-known author and pastor, Eugene Peterson recently tweeted, “If succeeding as a pastor means failing as a parent, you’ve already failed as a pastor.” Jesus commanded us to love God first, then our neighbor as ourselves. Since our family is our closest neighbor, how are we doing with the second part of that commandment?
Are we as worship leading parents doing or not doing things that could be contributing to those ministry kid statistics? Maybe we should reflect on some of our negative practices like the 10 below to help us answer that question.
- We often ask how things might impact our worship ministry before asking how they might impact our family.
- We move to a new church or ministry every couple of years.
- We consider phone calls or visits from choir members as divine appointments but phone calls or visits from our children as disrespectful interruptions.
- We never remove our worship leader hat to wear our parent hat.
- We attend worship conferences in exotic locations but never have enough time for family vacations.
- We easily justify missing ballgames and concerts to attend rehearsals or meetings.
- We don’t defend our children from unfair and unrealistic church member expectations.
- We rarely show affection to our children while at church.
- We are constantly reminding them how their actions reflect negatively on our platform appearance.
- We expect them to have the same passion and willingness to sacrifice for our calling as we do.
If worship ministry requires us to sacrifice family, we have to ask if what we are doing is really ministry. There are other churches but we only have one family. So even though our worship leading responsibilities seem never ending, those missed opportunities with our children can never be recovered.
Dr. David Manner is the Associate Executive Director for the Kansas Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists. His convention responsibilities include worship consultation and leadership development. Before joining the convention staff in 2000, David served for 20 years in music/worship ministry with congregations in Kansas, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. David writes for various online and print publications and can be followed on Twitter @DWManner or on his Worship Evaluation Blog: http://kncsb.org/blogs/dmanner.