Childhood in parsonage gives her appreciation for clergy

Published 1:35 am Saturday, October 6, 2018

Some people call it a parsonage, pastorium, or a manse; but I would call it home. As the daughter of a minister, I grew up in the houses provided by the churches my dad pastored.

Although these houses were constructed of brick and wood, I sometimes felt like I was living in a glass house. Due to my father’s occupation, there were high expectations placed on my behavior.

Preachers’ kids, known by our abbreviated nickname “P.K.’s,” are labeled as some of the most mischievous children in the church. But I tend to follow the theory that the deacon’s kids influence the preacher’s kids’ behavior.

Seriously, often more is expected of “P.K.’s” and “D.K.’s” as a result of their parents’ commitment to God. Preachers’ and deacons’ children just happened to be born into a family more devoted or involved in the Lord’s work.

Several years ago, the month of October was designated as a time for “Clergy Appreciation.” Being a “P.K.,” I am grateful for a time set aside to remember ministers for their Christian service.

As an adult, I now view ministers from both sides of the pew. My childhood memories have given me a compassion for the pastors and their families whose ministry has touched my life.

Sometimes I would go with my dad or mom to visit church members in their homes or in the hospital. There were sad times when my father had to conduct a funeral service or bring sad news to a family. Like a doctor, he would go help people in the middle of the night during a crisis.

Our lives centered around church activities every time the doors were opened. I had the opportunity to meet missionaries and evangelists who stayed in our home. There were plenty of joyous and humorous experiences, like the wedding ceremony where a bridesmaid’s veil got too close to a candle and flamed up while the bride was coming down the aisle.

The hardest thing about being a “P.K.” was changing schools when my dad accepted the call of a church in another city. I made many friends in many places, so goodbyes were not easy. My happiest memories growing up happened at church and my saddest memories growing up happened at church.

The Bible instructs Christians to acknowledge and appreciate God’s servants; “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you” 1 Thessalonians 5:12 NKJ.

One of the most important things a church member can do for a minister is pray for them. This person accepts God’s call to care for the spiritual well-being of a congregation, a weighty responsibility that requires hours of prayer and Bible study. Send a note of encouragement to your pastor or invite the family to dinner.

Go to Focus on the Family Clergy Appreciation webpage and you will find many ways to express your appreciation to the clergy and their families. Remember to tell your minister how much you appreciate them now and throughout the year.



Jan White is an national award-winning religion columnist. She can be reached at