On being a pastor’s kid AND a pastor with kids.

2.24.2011 — 11 Comments

My dad has been a pastor for my entire life. That fact instantly places me into the “pastor’s kid” category with the likes of Katy Perry, the Jonas Brothers, NBA coach Phil Jackson, and even famed actor Denzel Washington.

Growing up in the church there were obvious expectations about me and my sisters as a result in us being PK’s. I think we knew about most of the expectations from those within and those outside of the church, but my parents did a great job of sheltering us from some of those expectations and allowed us to grow up “normal”.

As a pastor’s kid, I honestly tried to convince myself to never become a pastor. I was willing to break the family tradition of going into the ministry even with a grandfathers and great-great-grandfathers who pastored local congregations. I’m thankful that the Lord had other plans and I can honestly say that I don’t believe my own father ever “pressured” me to become a pastor.

Sure there was the “listen to this Injoy Life Club tape by Dr. James Maxwell and write me a page-full of notes and I’ll give you $5″ ploy to challenge me in ministry-related leadership. That ‘job’ of listening to those tapes and writing out those notes netted me numerous opportunities to visit the fireworks stands and feed my pyromania. Thanks, Dad!

Even without “pressure” to become a pastor or go into some sort of full-time ministry opportunity, there is something natural now that I am, in fact, IN full-time ministry in a local church setting. I attribute some of it to growing up ‘in’ the church. Sometimes quite literally – when the church and our home were connected by a simple doorway, some of the rooms in the church were our playrooms!

I’m thankful for those years growing up and singing as a family, visits with my dad to the nursing home, hospitals, and people’s homes. I’m thankful for seeing ministry played out not just from the pulpit but also in real-time in our living room and around the kitchen table.

And I’m proud to carry on the ministry-life heritage that the Lord has blessed numerous generations of the Sheets-family with. I’m humbled (and often petrified) that God would choose to have me pastor a congregation in a community like ours.

And I’m willing. I’m willing to continue to commit my whole-life to His service – to do His will – to follow His leading. And to lead my family as a God-fearing, Christ-following dad who also happens to be a pastor.

And of course I’ll speculate about what my kids’ experience with the church will mean for their futures. My prayer is that they too will experience Jesus first and fall in love with Him so that they can learn to love His broken church as much as He does.

Last night before worship team practice, Ella & Ezra were dancing around on the stage (as all good pastor’s kids learn to do) and they both picked up microphones to mimic Mommy & Daddy…

Ella also blessed us with a verse of “Jesus Loves Me”.

  • Jeff Gelbaugh

    God could not have chosen a better man to be the messenger of His word. I am sure with your and Jess’ direction and lead by example attitudes Ella and Ezra will not only know the Lord they will follow in the family footsteps. God bless all of you. Love you all.

    • http://www.stevansheets.com Stevan

      wow, Jeff. thanks for that comment. we appreciate you and your friendship!

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  • Travis Deans

    Hey Stevan, I saw a link to this post on the Youth Specialties e-mail newsletter today. Pretty cool!

    • http://www.stevansheets.com Stevan

      Thanks for letting me know about it being in the e-newsletter, Travis (wanna forward it to me?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/howiesnyder howie snyder

    Awesome Steven! My parents were missionaries my first 5 years of life and then dad was a pastor in my jr high/high school years. But my parents did an amazing job of giving me grace to be who I wanted to be and all and not imposed overly-high behavioral expectations on me. But I do recall my dad trying to teach me Greek when I was in high schol! :) My 4 kids are growing up as YPKs, since I’m a youth pastor. My wife is also an ordained minister and works in the church, so they get it double! my two eldest are now in my youth group too! That took some adjusting to at first – trying to fulfill both rolls to my kids as Dad & Youth Pastor and to be fair and loving to them in the midst of it all. But we’ve got great relationships with our kids and it’s been awesome to see our kids grow with hearts of ministry inside and outside the church.

    • http://www.stevansheets.com Stevan

      Howie –
      Thanks for the comment and you’re right – ‘adjustment’ is key – the problem begins when we reverse the priorities!

    • Drew Achong

      Howie (and Stevan),

      Thank you both for sharing your stories. I am a YM and am also the father of two 17 month old girls. I’m always looking for encouraging words and helpful tips on how to be a good father to my kids, husband to my wife, and minister to the youth in my congregation all at the same time.

      May the Lord continue to bless you both as you serve Him in all you do!

      Blessings in Christ,


      • http://www.stevansheets.com Stevan

        Blessings to you, too, Drew. Thanks for commenting.

  • http://www.youthstory.org Jon

    Youthstory.org would like to feature your blog post”On being a pastor’s kid AND a pastor with kids.” is this something you would be interested in?

  • http://encouragement-is-contagious.blogspot.com Lee Ann Garrett

    Ahhh! Thank you Stevan for this wonderful post and the wonderful video of Ella singing and Ezzie crawling around.

    I’m so proud of the Pastor and family man that you are. I know God is looking down and smiling on you too. You indeed, have had a wonderful example in your father who is a pastor and the healthy way that he balanced his church ministry and his family, along with a wonderful mother.

    So proud to be you mom-in-law.

    Mom G.