What do you do with pastors kids gone wild? Why do children of ministry staff fall away from their faith?
Do you know what the Kings of Leon, Marvin Gaye, the Jonas Brothers, Condoleeza Rice, Phil Jackson, Denzel Washington, Daniel Tosh, Jessica Simpson, Aretha Franklin, Arsenio Hall, Anne Heche, and Katy Perry all have in common?
They’re all ministers’ kids, commonly known as “PKs” (short for “preacher’s kid”).
Pop singer Katy Perry is currently one of the highest-profile ministers’ kids in the country. Katy was born to Keith and Mary Hudson, ministers who travel the world sharing the gospel. Katy traveled with her parents and began singing in church at age 9. Their home had strict guidelines, and Katy had limited exposure to secular music. Katy continued to sing gospel music through her teen years but then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in secular music. She rose to fame in 2008 with her hit single “I Kissed a Girl.” She has experienced great success, having sold over 11 million albums and 81 singles worldwide (as of 2013), making her one of the best-selling artists of all time.
But while her career has gone uphill, her faith in Jesus has gone downhill. In an interview with Marie Claire magazine, she said, “I don’t believe in a heaven or a hell or an old man sitting on a throne. I believe in a higher power bigger than me because that keeps me accountable.” To GQ magazine she said, “I believe in a lot of astrology. I believe in aliens. I look up into the stars and I imagine: How self-important are we to think that we are the only life-form?”
When it comes to ministers’ kids straying from the faith, Katy isn’t alone. A whopping 40 percent of ministers’ kids have gone through a period in which they significantly questioned heir faith, according to a recent report from Barna. The study also shows that 33 percent of ministers’ kids are no longer in church and 7 percent no longer consider themselves Christians.
Behind these stats are real stories. There are stories of ministers’ kids who’ve grown up to love Jesus—and stories of ministers’ kids who’ve left the faith completely.
One of those stories is mine. I have a special place in my heart for ministers’ kids because I am one. I went to church every week of my childhood, multiple times most weeks. And when I wasn’t there on Sunday, I was there on weekdays attending the Christian school that was part of the church. And yet with all the good, bad, and ugly that came with being a minister’s kid, I grew up to love and serve Jesus.
As you consider my story and the stories of other ministers’ kids, you may change how you think about and minister to us.