Here Are 9 Reasons Pastor’s Kids Stray

Over my 20 years of teaching, I’ve talked with a lot of “PK’s” who struggled at some point in their Christian walk. When I’ve asked them why they think they struggled, here’s are some of the reasons they’ve told me:

  1. They’re weren’t (and aren’t) perfect. Everybody knows that truth, but some church folks expect PK’s to live differently. All of us struggle because we’re still in the process of growing. We’re all fallen.
  2. Their church told them the way they should live, but nobody personally helped them do so. The PK’s knew what others expected of them, but nobody – including their parents, too often – actually invested in them as mentors.
  3. They weren’t sure how to handle their feelings when their pastor/parent seemed too busy for them. To not speak up left them lonely, but to speak up made them feel selfish. After all, pastors do stuff for others that really matters.
  4. They didn’t tell anybody when their struggles started. They sometimes felt like they had no one to tell. In other cases, they were too embarrassed to tell – or they thought they’d embarrass their family by their honesty.
  5. They weren’t sure how to handle temptation when it overwhelmed them. For many of these PK’s, those temptations became most powerful during their teenage or college years. The teachings of their childhood had not adequately prepared them to deal with the onslaught of sinful opportunities that the world offers.
  6. They weren’t saved yet. They may have thought they were, but some didn’t learn until years later what salvation really means.
  7. They just wanted to experiment. Sin’s like that sometimes. It’s alluring. It pulls at the heart, even for people raised in a Christian home. Experimentation, though, can lead to trouble – as some of these PK’s learned.
  8. They were rebelling against the church. It’s easy to do that, especially if the church “family” creates anguish for your family. Anger and defensiveness can lead to rebellion and sin.
  9. They followed the lead of their church friends. To be frank, I’ve met few PK’s who rebelled because of the influence of their non-believing friends. Much of the time, that influence was church friends who hid their sin.

Here’s the good news. Most of the PK’s I’ve talked with came through their struggles and are now walking with God. I pray that’s the case with yours. If not, let us know how we can pray for you and your family.

POSTED ON February 23, 2017
  • GMB

    I’m a PK. I was undeniably ‘saved.’ But I left the faith at 27 and I’m a GAZILLION times happier than when I was a believer. My recommendation: if you’re a minister (or former minister) and your child abandons Christianity, ask ’em why. And listen. You might just join them.

Dr. Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Dean of Graduate Studies, and Vice-President for Graduate Studies and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary, in addition to serving as Team Leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board. Dr. Lawless served as pastor of two Ohio churches prior to joining the Southern Seminary faculty in 1996.  He received a B.S. degree from Cumberland College and M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary. He is the author of eight works, including “Membership Matters,” and “Spiritual Warfare,” and has contributed numerous articles to denominational periodicals.  He and his wife Pam have been married for 23 years and reside here in Wake Forest, NC.