Image 01

A Bundle of Myrrh

"My beloved is unto me as a bundle of myrrh." Song of Solomon 1:13

Life for A Pastor’s Child

October 25th, 2014 by Aubri


Since my friend Kristi was so kind to share her thoughts on being a pastor’s wife, I groveled at her feet again for thoughts on being a pastor’s child. She kindly obliged me.

She writes:

I’ve always known the life of a church worker’s family. My parents were both Lutheran school teachers. Once I was born, my mom stayed home to take care of me, and eventually my brothers as well. My dad taught for a number of years in Lutheran schools and then attended the seminary to be a Lutheran pastor. I don’t regret that my parents were teachers or that my dad is a pastor. I have been blessed tremendously by their vocations.

Some people will tell you that the life of a pastor’s family (as well as a Lutheran teacher’s family) is like living in a fishbowl. I suppose, to some degree, that is correct. Because the pastor is the “public face” of the family, people really do keep their eyes on him. That’s how it should be: eyes on him. Even better would be if their ears would be on him, for he brings God’s good news to them in Word and Sacrament.

I can recall having family prayer-time every evening before going to bed. Dad would read the Bible story and then catechize me and my brothers further on the story. We would say prayers and then go off to bed. Dad was a busy pastor. He served two churches and attended countless meetings. He would be gone in the evenings, but he would always make sure he ate dinner with us before heading out the door for a long evening. Dad was Dad; he wasn’t “the pastor” all the time in our family. I never saw him that way. He was my dad, and he was also my pastor. He confirmed me. I had to know all of the answers to all of the questions because I was the only one in my class. Talk about pressure. It was parental pressure, not pastoral pressure.

We kids ate lots of cake. Our family was always invited to the baptism dinners. We attended confirmation dinners. We cleaned up on graduation cakes as well. After funerals, the ladies would send home extra sandwiches and pans of bars for our family. I liked that; I think my mom did, too.


As a pastor’s kid, I was blessed to know the high school kids. When they went on social outings, my family got to go bowling with them. When they played softball, we got to take a turn at bat, too. My brothers and I thought it was pretty cool to hang out with the high school kids.

As I entered high school, I participated in extracurricular activities. Dad always made sure to clear his calendar for volleyball and basketball games, as well as choir and band concerts and school plays. Yes, he had to miss a game here and there for a meeting, but I knew he was serving God’s people.

Dad was my pastor, so that made him the spiritual leader for our youth group. Try talking about drugs and morals and sexual morality with your father (the pastor) and your high school peers. It was interesting and enlightening. My dad was an excellent teacher, and he never singled me out with the group. I was just another one of the kids who came to youth group, and our relationship wasn’t compromised in any way.

Yes, there were times when people would call during the dinner hour, and he’d have to leave for an emergency. Yes, he’d spend long days at the hospital with a church member. However, he took the phone off the hook on Christmas Eve so that our family could enjoy gift-opening together without his being called away. (These were the days before cell phones dominated our world.) My dad was a pastor and also a father. I knew that and was proud of him.

Mom made sure we were always ready for church and Sunday School. She took on that responsibility since Dad had Sunday morning duties. She never once voiced anything negative about Dad’s vocation. She fully supported him, even though it meant single-parenting at times. That helped me build compassion for the church members. I knew that my parents truly cared for God’s people, and they also cared for us as their own children.


Mom was a Sunday School teacher. Sometimes she’d let me help her get the materials punched out and cut and prepared for her class. From her, I learned that I could share God’s story of salvation with little children. It made me proud to know that my parents were sharing God’s Word; that’s something that I wanted to do as well.

And then there are holidays. Our family could never take long trips when there were holiday weekends. My brothers and I knew that, and that’s just how it was. We never traveled to my grandparents’ until Christmas Day, and that was only when Christmas fell on a Sunday. Otherwise we waited until after church on Sunday and then headed to their home. Did I feel like we were cheated somehow? No, I was glad our family could take a trip together. Mom and Dad always made sure we took a long family vacation sometime during the summer, and those trips are great memories for me.


Was my life as a pastor’s kid that much different from the other kids? Maybe it was; maybe it wasn’t. I know that sometimes other kids wouldn’t talk about certain things with me because I was the pastor’s kid. That’s okay. It’s probably not something I really needed to know anyway. I grew up in a two-parent, loving household. We had chores; we played games. We had fun together. I feel blessed to have grown up as a pastor’s kid.

I think my childhood days have helped me as a pastor’s wife. I have more empathy and compassion for my neighbors, who need their pastor. I can “let” my husband go to those long meetings again and again and know that he is serving God by serving the people of his parish. We are recipients of many acts of kindness from church members, just as my parents received similar gifts when I was growing up. People say “thank you” in a variety of ways, and we were able to receive some of that love back to us. As a pastor’s kid, and now a pastor’s wife, I understand how challenging life in the “public eye” can be. However, I don’t use that as an excuse to be angry or bitter over my husband’s vocation. Rather, I am privileged to see him be God’s hands to those he serves. I’ve got a pretty good seat for that.

Comments are closed.