Our daughter, Brianna, has this idea of requesting letters from other pastor's children, addressed to pastor's children. I always knew there were traps and dangers facing pastor's children. Bri's letter below shows some of them. May God help pastors lead the church with humility, courage, and grace. But please, pastors. Let's not miss our children in the process. This is my prayer, and this is a great challenge. Rich
I paste the below letter from Brianna with her permission.
Dear Perfect PK,
I see you there, ESV Bible on your lap. You scribble sermon notes in your pad. You digest every word of this sermon and close your eyes in reverence during the song, "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord." After church is dismissed, you usher thirteen six year olds upstairs and teach them about David and Goliath, how to respect their parents, and sing "Jonah Was A Preacher."
I see you.
And I know.
I know what drives you to invite your neighbors to your family's cell group meeting every Friday. It is obvious to me why you encourage your friends to go to church each Sunday and never talk bad about the church leaders. I know why you pray for the church to grow and for people to be delivered from bondage, sin, and oppression.
Yes, I know.
Because I was that Perfect PK.
I remember constantly praying that our church would be united and thrive.
I prayed. Fasted. Witnessed. Worshipped. Memorized the Word. Studied the Word. Read the Word. Practically ate the Word.
I was totally, one hundred percent devoted to my church and to my God.
Or so I thought.
But my motivation was not that the kingdom of God be advanced and God be glorified in return. I saw the church as my family's identity.
If the church flourished, we did as well. If it fell, so did the Schwartz family.
The church exists to glorify the Lord. Not the pastor, not the choir member, not the third grader in Sunday School, and most definitely not me or you. As a Pastor Kid, I was deceived into believing that my role was to be perfect in order to give my family a good image and break the stereotypes of dangerous, disrespectful, drunk preacher’s children. Without even realizing exactly what I was doing, I put up the facade that I was perfect. But the reality was that I was far from perfection.
I don’t want to be the one who pours bleach in your cheerios, but here’s the truth: you aren’t perfect either.
But God called us to be perfect, you say.
Yes, yes He did. But we are not there yet. We are sinful, wretched, broken, floundering humans. I am. You are. We all are.
Are you struggling with hidden sin? Confess it. Don’t worry that that is going to defame your earthly father’s name, because the reality is that that sin already defames your Heavenly Father and He is the One who wants to cleanse you of it.
Are you angry? Don’t stuff that inside and paste a smile on your skin. What is in the heart will come out, even if it may take years instead of minutes to unravel. And trust me, it will eventually unravel.
Are you discouraged? Admit it and turn to others for advice. Don’t believe the lie that you have to be the rock that carries your parents emotionally. You were not created for that. Only God can be the one who sustains your parents through the emotional turmoil that comes when working with people.
So, my dear fellow PK, take comfort in knowing that your family’s identity is not on the line. Your identity is first and foremost in who your Father says you are. It is not found in the number of individuals sitting on folding chairs in the sanctuary. Your identity is not in the amount of praise or verbal abuse your family receives. Your identity is not placed on how well your dad preaches and how big you smile at every guest who steps inside the church. Your identity is in Father God.
Axe the act. Cut the charade. Forfeit your facade.
Step into the freedom of being a human who will fail, but is offered forgiveness and love from God.
All my love,
A Recovering Perfect PK
Son of the Father, husband to Sandy, father of six amazing gifts, Bronx brother, active participant in Believers in Jesus Church, insurance adjuster, occasional runner