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The Pastor's Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  656 ratings  ·  130 reviews
The Only One Facing As Much Pressure As the Pastor is ... The Pastor’s Kid Dad may be following God’s call, but the Pastor’s kids (PKs) are just following mom and dad. Often to devastating results. Barnabas Piper – son of Pastor and bestselling author John Piper – has experienced the challenges of being a PK first-hand. With empathy, humor, and personal stories, he address ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 1st 2014 by David C. Cook
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Jon Hansel
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
A helpful insight into the life of a pastor's kid but should not be seen as a representation of the experience of all pastor's kids. The overall tone of the book has an undercurrent of cynicism. My main disappointment is that while Piper tells us many times that is is not meant to be an expose of life in the John Piper household, enough care was not taken with some of the examples and stories to protect the reader from seeds of suspicion about exactly what he experienced in his relationship with ...more
Mark Jr.
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, audio
I admit I was curious to hear what the son of one of my favorite authors would say about his upbringing... But I believe I can honestly say that my most powerful motivation in picking up this (audio) book was to gain wisdom about how to spare my own children from as many of the negative consequences of being a "PK" as possible. (I’m a P of a sort, and I have two K’s—and one on the way.) Neither motivation was quite satisfied, and I think that's okay. It was still a worthwhile book.

Barnabas' fath
Amanda Beguerie
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm very glad I read this book.

So much of it is so true and I agreed with so much of it. I am a pastors kid and have found that not all this describes me, but it applies to me in more ways than I thought.

I understand being watched. I understand the expectations placed on me. I understand being known of but not really known.

I know what it's like to know so much about the church and the people, and I know what it's like to feel like I'm carrying a lot of burdens.

I don't remember a time when I wa
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a PK myself, and now a father of six PKs, I picked up this book to see if I could learn some things for my own parenting. I believe I did learn from this book, but not what the author intended. Perhaps it was because I look back on my own experience so differently than he did. I didn't feel like I lived in a fishbowl. I didn't worry about other people's expectations. I didn't have any identity crisis. There was not much in me that resonated with the "PK" presented in this book.

The author's a
Bob Hayton
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As a former pastor’s kid (and assistant pastor’s kid, and later a missionary’s kid), this book intrigued me. As a former member of John Piper’s church, this book had special relevance for me. The author is Barnabus Piper, one of Pastor John’s sons. As a Christian who is recovering from legalism, this book was especially helpful for me.

In "The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity" (David C. Cook, 2014), Barnabus opens up about the struggles of growing up in a fish bowl. The author do
May 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book has been really good for me. For most of my life I have been a PK, and now I am in the ministry myself. I can identify with quite a bit of what Barnabas has written about the difficulties and blessings of growing up in that kind of environment: I was often under the microscope, expected to be the leader, and preached at in the home.

I am also reminded of how blessed I have been to view my experience in a (mostly) positive light. There were some negatives to be sure, but my parents worke
Gavin Breeden
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
This is probably a helpful book for any Christian to read in that it'll help you think about how you parent your own children and how to interact with your pastor's kids. But for pastors and pastor's kids this may be essential reading. Most of the stuff in here is sort of common sense-- don't put tons of expectations and pressure on PKs, give them grace, focus on being their parent rather than their pastor, don't be a workaholic, etc.-- but there are also a few things I'd never considered before ...more
Nathan Seale
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
An insightful work that allows a glimpse into the world of the PK. This is not just a book for pastors as it highlights the importance of the pastor putting his family before his ministry but also gives practical advice for people in a church on interacting with the children of their pastor. Strangely enough, most children don’t like people randomly bringing up sermon illustration in which they are prominently featured. Overall a helpful and thoughtful treatise.
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was really helpful in exploring some of the things that PKs go through. It was very accurate/realistic when talking about identity issues and the expectations that we face. I think it is worth reading even if not everything is applicable or relevant (not everything will be) to a specific PK’s situation because it really helps to process and identify the problems that we could be unaware of.
The thing that I didn’t like so much was the negativity. At times Piper seems really critical an
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I am not a Pastor's kid (PK) and I am not the parent of one, however, I am sinner just like them. This little book resonated with me because I have had a crisis of faith due to loosing sight of my identity in Christ. With expectations that has killed any grace to give or to receive. PK' s are just like you and me, however, anyone who is in leadership and is related to anyone in ministry leadership have a life of a fish bowl. Many times we loose sight of who we are because of expectations. We hav ...more
Dec 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: pastoral
A few random thoughts:
Like many evangelical books, this could have been a long magazine article.
It felt like an adolescent, "feel my pain" sort of confessional. I'm sure being the child of a pastor is hard, but it's not like being raised by meth-heads. I mean, I have a friend whose dad used to make him drink the blood of chickens sacrificed in voodoo rituals. Childhood's challenging for a lot of people.
I think he's mistaking some of the difficulty of being a human being as being the difficulty
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book that refocused my walk with Christ. Barnabas offers insight and direction into those who found the challenges of being a PK difficult (as I did), and are having a hard time seeing Christ as anything but "dad's boss," or messages and hymns that the PK has memorized as "mundane." Thanks, Barnabas, for this book.
Amy Meyers
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Disappointed, but not surprised, to find typical evangjellyfish mush in this book, but a little surprised to find so much crybaby in it. The thought came to me about 75% of the way through that the only thing that does more to convince me of J. Piper's failings as a father is not Barnabas' proofs for it, but the actual writing of the book itself. B. Piper should fall on his knees and weep with gratitude that he didn't grow up in a fatherless home in Africa, as do most of the people that we minis ...more
John Brackbill
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm guessing this would be a 3 star review if I had started with chapter 8. But alas I did not. The tone of this book grated on me. I listen to it and I thought surely it is simply because of the way the person is reading it. Then I realized that the author is the narrator!

To be honest it was a depressing book. Maybe it was because it raised so many concerns of my own heart about how my children are or will deal with these challenges and how I am either helping them or not helping them. Neverthe
Michele Morin
Aug 08, 2014 rated it liked it
We love our Pastor’s kids. After reading Piper’s book, I will be more diligent in my prayers for them. Even more important, I will be more fervent in my prayers for their parents. As an involved church member, I have witnessed the “PK phenomenon” first hand. I have heard pastors lament that their children do not share enthusiasm for their pastor-father’s calling. Now I have read 151 pages of in-depth analysis of how one person felt growing up in that role.

My interest in this book has been very h
Aaron Carpenter
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little snarky and somewhat repetitive. But very, very helpful.
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
This is a book that really hits on important issues. There are times, however, where it misses as well. As a whole, it is a must-read.

Piper is clear with his intention in writing:

My aim in writing this book is threefold. First, I want to speak for PKs, not as an expert observer or master researcher, but as one of them....I want to give voice to the PK who doesn’t know what to do with his challenges.
Second, I want to speak to pastors. Ministers of the gospel, your children are in an enormously
Joel Troutman
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a PK myself, I found this book useful as it clarified many issues/concerns that I had difficult articulating, yet knew existed. This book is a must read for all PKs, current AND future Pastors/Elders/Deacons.
Alan Pittman
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must Read For Every Pastor

As a pastor this book was very challenging. I know that I have many areas that I need to work on based on this book. Since it was written by a pastor's kid it brings great insight into how a pastor must always first be a father and husband. As he gets that right, everyone (including the church) will be blessed. And above all else, God is honored. If you're a pastor, do yourself, your family, and your church a favor and read this book!
Jason Homan
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well, I am taking a break from my vacation to write this review because this book and topic is that important! I am one of those PK's, and now a pastor myself. That's why I read this book. I am among (I guess) the few people in North American Christianity on whose radar Barnabas' father had not yet appeared. So the "son of" factor didn't color my choice of book or my reading of it. I had stumbled across Barnabas' twitter feed a few months ago, appreciated the content, and because of my PK home u ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ah, the ominous term familiar to all church people- the PK. Sometimes its used with eyes rolling. Sometimes its used in jest. But one thing is for sure, a pastor's family (kids, in this case) are looked at differently, and this is rarely a good thing for anyone.

I highly encourage any pastor/minister with children (or pastor's wife) to read this book carefully. It just may help provide insight that you really need to see (but maybe don't want to admit). This was the case with me. As a father of t
Earnest Thompson
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the popular Dusty Springfield song, being the "son of a preacher man" isn't a particularly epic adolescent exercise. When one is given an initialed title (PK) at birth and a job description before he or she can talk, the expectations usually get of of whack. Add what Piper calls "being known of" by everyone (as opposed to really "being known" by anyone) to the fishbowl experience and it shouldn't be surprising that the resulting kids are often robots or rebels. It doesn't make it easier ...more
Mundy Carroll
I feel hesitant to review a book which is so obviously extremely personal to the author. This has been his life - and he has shared some of it with us. So despite any critique - I am thankful for the book.

My kids are PK's - still very young. I wanted to read this to see what I should avoid or embrace...for much of the book I felt I was supposed to avoid the pastorate; or else have my kids avoid the church. There was definitely a lot of emotion in the writing. That being said - there were a few
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a very helpful book in many respects. It has some penetrating insights, it's frank, and well written over all. I've purchased copies for my older kids in the hopes that it will spawn some helpful conversations and help us correct or avoid some pitfalls. It's necessary for a book like this to have a bite to it (Piper is clear that he's hard on pastors and churches, and he's a bit hard on his parents). But I do think the book lacks sufficient balm. It has some balmy moments. But the bite t ...more
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this straight through over the course of a day and a half. A book I had been greatly looking forward to, I was not disappointed. Piper nails it. I read it with deep understanding - laughing, tearing up, and appreciating the feeling of "oh yeah, he gets it."

Being a PK is an incredible blessing and the source of wonderful joy in my life. It's also been a pressure cooker in a fishbowl, filled with struggles that have been difficult to put into words. Piper nails that reality and points to th
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pastor's Kid

I love my pastor and I love his kids, three of whom are students in our student ministry. I believe the unique perspective and information that this author shares in this book will better help me to relate and serve them. I expect I will return to these pages often in seeking to provide my own children with a loving, grace-filled home. It would be my hope that all church members would read this and take into consideration the special challenges a pastor's kid may face, and as the bod
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Hannah by: Doug Brock
This book articulated some of the frustrations I've had as a PK (or just as a church kid), but even more it showed me how Awesomely God has blessed my church and family. So many of the problems Piper describes have not been, or have barely been, an issue for for me. And so much of what Piper calls the pastor and the church to do is exactly what my father and church /has/ been doing, increasingly well, for the entirety of my life. How gracious has the Lord been to us!
Daniel Silliman
Dec 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
A weak book and a thin book. It reads like a sermon stripped of the interesting parts. Piper talks about being a preacher's kid only in the most abstract terms, sharing little (personal or otherwise) to support his bigger claims. Whole chapters are dedicated to spelling out thin analogies and he gives a lot of space to the vaguest theological musings.

This really didn't need to be a book.
Fran Parsons
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book had some flaws but as a PK and now a Pastor's wife and mother to 4 PK's I greatly appreciated Piper's honesty! I personally felt a lot of the struggles growing up as a PK. I actually learned some things about why I am the way I am now even at 44 years years old. I hope that my children will read this soon!
As a father of 4 who will soon be entering ministry full-time, I found this helpful in terms of laying out expectations and giving insights into things I'll want to be very proactive about with my kids. Like listening to my kids in 15-20 years and still having time to change their stories some. Very practically helpful.
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Barnabas Piper is a writer and podcaster who lives in the Nashville area He blogs at, writes for He Reads Truth, and contributes to a number of other sites. Piper co-hosts the popular Happy Rant podcast and works in publishing.
“They want the PK to dress like a grandparent and behave like Jesus. But they also seem to wait for the time when the pastor’s daughter makes out and the son drinks beer.” 8 likes
“some people assume all is well, that the PK has it all together. They’re usually wrong; remember, PKs are as human as everyone else.” 5 likes
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