I love the ministry! After all, what’s NOT to love about the ministry? Right? Ministry life is not perfect, it’s not always easy, nor are we frequently served with words of appreciation. This calling comes with high expectations, as we are often examined with a magnifying glass. We sometimes feel unprepared for all the different situations we are thrust in. So, why do I love it so?
I was raised in a pastor’s home and loved being a preacher's kid (PK). However, many of my peers disliked being a PK. They resented the fact that their parents were preachers or called to the ministry. I didn’t understand that as my memories of being a PK were nothing but positive. I am sure my parents faced various challenges as pastors. I am sure they had to deal with their share of difficult people, church finances or lack of, not to mention the pressure that the ministry can bring on marriage and family life. They chose to bring the positive home, not the negative. Problems in the church were not discussed in our home or at the family dinner table.
So, when I married a minister and we started our family, I was determined to raise my children up to love and not resent the ministry. As was mentioned in a previous blog by someone earlier this month, “More things are caught by children than taught.” In other words, children will do what we do more than what we say. They mimic us, our behavior and our attitude. So, I knew that, if I wanted children that loved the ministry, I had to exemplify a positive attitude about the ministry. If I didn’t want them to complain about the ministry, guess what....I couldn’t go around complaining.
The majority of our ministry has been that of a traveling ministry - missionary/evangelist. The years that our children were in school, I stayed home with them, only traveling occasionally on the weekends with my husband. So, I was without my husband much of the time. When they became teenagers, I was really alone as they spent the bulk of their “free time” with friends. (What? They no longer wanted to hang out with me?) I could have complained and sometimes I wanted to complain. “Woe is me!” It was rough at times, having to put gas in the car myself. Happy were the days when our son Drew was old enough to gas up the car for me. In those moments when I wanted to shout, “I wish your dad was home,” I would bite my tongue and remind myself of my goal - to raise children that love God and love the ministry. The attitude - good or bad- started with me.
The attitude - good or bad- started with me.
My husband Jim and I always endeavored to put our children first, their activities and the things that were important to them. At the first of every school year, Jim would call the school office for the calendar of school events. Then he would plan his schedule. It was impossible for him to be at every basketball or baseball game, track meet or soccer match. Our daughter, Natalie, played five sports in high school but, thank God, drove herself to those 7:00 am practices. But, Jim was there for the tournaments and state playoffs.
One of the toughest, yet easiest decisions of our ministry was moving our family to Kiev, Ukraine. Tough, in that we were concerned about moving Drew and Natalie at ages 12 and 9 to a primitive, un-westernized country. Easy, in that we knew it was God’s will and, if it was God’s will for us, then it was God’s will for our children. So, with my goal in mind to raise children who love God and love the ministry, I began preparing them for the move with my excitement and telling them what a great adventure it would be. I shared with them that this was an enormous step of faith for our family and that God had called us and He would supply our needs. I challenged them to believe God for some little extra things that they desired. They exercised their faith and saw God provide them with such special things. Both of our children, independently of one another, have stated that some of their fondest memories and best times were spent in Ukraine.
It’s all about our focus, our perspective and the attitude we choose to have.
We have to be intentional with our positive attitudes. Our children will mimic us! So choose the attitude you want your children to have.
The rest of the story...
I was far from being a perfect parent but I did accomplish my goal. Both Drew and Natalie love God and love the ministry. Drew is the administrator of our stateside office and missionary organization. He and his wife are faithful to their church, are loyal friends to and love their pastors. Natalie and her husband are in full-time ministry as family pastors.
Pam King is a lover of God, her husband, her children, her grandchildren, and her life's work in ministry. Alongside her husband, Jim, Pam has been in full-time ministry for more than 36 years, with 26 years spent in missionary evangelism to Ukraine and Israel. Pam's "no-nonsense" approach to life and ministry has made her a viable resource in teaching and speaking on a myriad of subjects, including a personal favorite of "Marriage and Family". The Kings are the founders of Awaking Hope and most recently added the task of lead pastors to their ministry plate as they currently pastor Victory in Austin, TX.
This entry is WEEK FIVE in our October blog series, The PK Perspective: Tales from the Front Pew. You'll enjoy this entire series of posts from preacher's kids who were raised in the ministry and survived to tell about it! Catch up today, beginning with WEEK ONE. To continue to our final entry in this series, click HERE.