Lately, I’ve been asked by several people if I know of resources to help those of us who grew up as PKs (pastor’s kids) or MKs (missionary’s kids). Those who ask are usually PKs or MKs themselves, spouses of PKs and MKs, or close friends of PKs and MKs. We’re a special bunch, that’s for sure. Since much has been written on the subject I don’t want to be redundant. Plus, my own story is still in process, so I won’t be sharing it today. I carry both tremendous blessings and deep wounds from growing up in a pastor’s household, and have done lots of reading to help me understand it all. Here are some books and links I recommend:
Top of the list is: I Have to be Perfect (and other Parsonage Heresies) by Tim Sanford. Tim discusses nine lies that can play in the heads of PKs and MKs. I identified all but one in myself! It helped me understand that I wasn’t alone in my feelings which has allowed me to be more open and honest with myself and others about the real, albeit “imperfect,” April.
Another favorite, though not specifically about being a PK or MK is Mad Church Disease by Anne Jackson. Anne’s story growing up in a pastor’s family and eventually serving on staff of a church was oddly parallel to my own. The chapter on forgiveness was especially good, and I think helpful to PKs and MKs. It can be downloaded for free here or via Anne’s blog.
Another book I appreciated, not because it was a self-help for PKs, but because I identified somewhat with the author’s experience is Crazy for God by Frank Schaeffer. Of course, my life wasn’t nearly as in the spotlight as Frank Schaeffer’s was, but I related to his feelings of living in two worlds and the confusion that caused in him, especially as a boy. In one world was who outsiders perceived his family to be, and in the other world was what they were really like.
As for websites, The Parsonage has many articles available for pastors and their families. Preacher’s Kids International is a place for people who grew up in the ministry to chat online, heal, and share their experiences together. Leadership Journal also has lots of articles offering help, advice, and stories of those who grew up in ministry families.