Growing up P.K.

“Now, don’t go telling this at school!”  I used to get annoyed when I heard this reminder growing up as a preacher’s kid. Occasionally I would hear something told to my parents in our home by a church member and after they would leave, my mom would inevitably give me this reminder. Of course I wouldn’t tell it! Or…might I forget and let something slip without thinking? My mother was wise to give me that reminder and even though I sometimes resented it, I learned a valuable lesson which has carried through my life. I learned as a child that what is shared in confidence is not to be repeated. 

I felt like I had special privileges being the preacher’s kid! To me, it was a treat to host missionaries, evangelists, and other pastors in our home when they came for special services at church. Those were rich opportunities for me to hear first-hand their experiences of serving the Lord in various places, and to get to know them as “real” people. I can still picture many of them in my mind and remember the impression their faithfulness in ministry made on me as a child and teenager.  

Putting the Lord first and making church attendance a priority was instilled in me from an early age. In the pastor’s home, there was never a question of whether or not we would go to church on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening! That was a valuable habit which was instilled in me and has followed me through life, for which I am very grateful.   

By observing my parents as they followed the Lord’s leading throughout the years, I learned the importance of seeking the Lord’s guidance. Prayer was a priority – seeking the Lord’s will first and foremost, before any move was made. Once, when my parents felt God’s peace and had made the decision to accept the pastorate of a small church some 80 miles away, I asked my Dad a question. “But Dad, what if you get a call from a big Baptist church tomorrow? Will that change your answer?” It didn’t…and we did. Move, that is. And that new place is where I met my future husband. Following God’s will is always best!

Being a pastor’s kid was not without its fears, though. Leaving a familiar house, friends, and school to begin in a new location can be an unsettling and scary thing to do. And although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, I believe those experiences helped me learn to grow in self-confidence and also dependence on the Lord. Being the “new kid in the class” several times growing up, reminded me that Jesus was with me wherever I went, and I never had to move away from Him!   

Although I am not a pastor’s wife, I learned by observing my own mother how important it is for a wife to be supportive of her husband. She modeled sacrificial living as she devoted her life to her pastor-husband’s calling and ministry and was always there to be his encourager, helper, and listener. And she cooked MANY meals for those above-mentioned missionaries, evangelists, and church people who visited our home.   

Growing up as a preacher’s kid also benefits me now as an adult, on the other side of the pastor/congregation relationship. It has given me some insight into the challenges of shepherding a “flock”. I trust it has made me more supportive and encouraging to my own pastors and their wives over the years, seeing them as “real” people who need and desire unconditional love and a trustworthy friend, just as I do! 

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About Gloria Emmons

Gloria Emmons has been a pastor's kid since her dad went to Moody Bible Institute to study for the ministry when she was just starting elementary school. She met and married her husband Norm in a small country church in Michigan where her dad pastored while she was a student at Moody herself. A few decades and thousands of loads of laundry later her daughter Wendy McCready began studying at Moody, as well. Gloria still lives in Michigan and is a homemaker, women's Bible study teacher, pianist and mom and grandma extraordinaire.