“Well, you know what they say about the preacher’s daughter.” [Insert boyish snickers and winks here.] This is a phrase that has followed me throughout my life, especially when I was in high school. I would often wonder, what do they say about me? I never took offense or felt like I was being bullied when someone said this to me, but it has always been there in the back of my mind.
My father was called into the ministry when I was five years old [17 years ago]. I became aware of the stereotypes that surround a preacher’s daughter or even just a preacher’s kid at a young age. You are automatically set apart from others when your dad is a pastor.
People try to place you into one of two categories when they find out you’re a “pk.” One, you must be an angel sent from above who never does anything wrong. The second and the most popular is that you must be very wild and rebellious. I constantly felt that people were watching me and trying to see what category I was going to fall under. The situation is that I don’t fall into either of these categories perfectly.
But there is a third category that not many consider: We are imperfect Christians just like any other kids; our dads just happen to be pastors.
Although the pressure is there, there is also a tremendous blessing that goes along with being a preacher’s kid. Throughout the years I have been able to see the behind-the-scenes of how a pastor cares for his members. When I think of my father, Romans 12 often comes to my mind. In Romans 12, the apostle Paul is instructing the church of Corinth on how they should act as Christians. Part of that is making sure that you serve others before yourself.
My dad is the epitome of that for his church members. He consistently places the church’s needs before his own. Romans 12:14 – 15 says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” I have seen his heart broken again and again for people. He truly does weep with and rejoice with everyone.
The love he has for the Lord and people is a huge inspiration to me.
Being a pastor is truly a calling. Depending on how you look at it, I think being a preacher’s kid is a calling as well. This might be a confusing statement for me to make because PKs does not choose for their fathers to be pastors. What I mean is this: God has had a plan for you before you were even born. He knew that I was going to be a preacher’s kid. It has been my conviction to utilize this platform I have been given to try and set an example.
When people look at me, I want them to see Jesus. I want to set an example for people the way my dad has. He knows that he cannot lean on his own understanding. He encourages those around him to trust in the Lord in all that they do. You can have just one conversation with my dad and know that he loves the Lord with all that he has.
It would be misleading for me to say that our family life was always without problems. My dad and I are not perfect and we have both made mistakes. The beautiful thing about that is that no one is perfect. God can and will use your imperfections and struggles for his glory.
The pressure that comes with this is very real. Being in the ministry is not easy for a pastor or his family. There are days when you think that it would be easier to just call it quits. But the rewards from this calling far outweigh the bad. I can only speak from personal experiences, and I know that everyone is different. Everyone has their own beliefs and convictions.
The phrase that followed me throughout my youth and until this day may very well stick around for the rest of my life. That is OK with me though because I have learned that it doesn’t really matter what category “they” place me in. It does not matter what “they” say. What matters is what my actions say of myself and how they can bring glory to God.
So, what do they say about the preacher’s daughter? In regard to me, I hope that they say, “Wow, she really loves Jesus.”
Copyright © 2020 by Haley Lingenfelter. Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.