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

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  945 ratings  ·  178 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: audio, 2014
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
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
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
Kevin Halloran
Jan 16, 2021 added it
Shelves: 2021
This is a great book for PKs and ministry parents alike. Heck, even church members would glean insight into the life of a PK and the challenges of living in a ministry family.
Ted Tyler
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 stars

Barnabas Piper's first book (2014) is quite helpful and insightful re: both the extraordinary pressure and the rare opportunities that are presented to pastors' kids (PKs).

First, Piper establishes right off the bat, that his objective is not to bash or belittle pastors (including his dad, John Piper). While Barnabas does bring lots of criticism, he takes a very middle-of-the-road approach in discussing his life as a PK.

Second, He shares about the challenges: living under intense scr
Hudson Christmas
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Pastor's Kid by Barnabas Piper (son of the famous John Piper) depicts the struggles and hardship of being a pastor's kid (PK) and the misrepresentations and pressures put on you by the church and by your own family. Piper shows the ways that PKs are often viewed and how that affects the way they see themselves. The pressures of the congregation, the expectation that the PK has to be a perfect angel and a depraved rebel all at once are the views that are shared among churches. Piper shows the ...more
Gavin Breeden
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
John Uit de Flesch
The book gives a good sense of what it is like to be a pastors kid and the common struggles associated with the unenviable position. I did feel that more emphasis was given to the parents of the pastors kid. So...give the book to the pastor and not the kid. Barnabas gives a lot of emphasis to grace which is needed and helpful, but seemed overdone as the main means of helping a pastors kid. I liked his 7 rules when meeting a pastors kid. Ultimately this book will help. I found it brief, and it ho ...more
Molly Wright
Apr 23, 2021 rated it liked it
This book was good. The first four chapters I can relate with being a Pk myself. But the rest was almost pointing fingers at the Church and the pastor. I don’t totally agree with this book, but some of the struggles listed I have seen my dad go through. Chapters five six and seven were very whiny. But I think this is still an important read
Flynn Evans
Sep 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being a PK myself, at times I felt as if Piper was burrowing into my own head with the observations he had about what it's like living as a child in a minister's family with just how uncannily accurate they are. He was able to designate behaviors and experiences that at the time of participating in them I could not yet categorize effectively. Him having done so gives PKs the tools they need to reckon with their past in a far more levelheaded manner, myself included. Overall, this work helped me ...more
Craig Marshall
Dec 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was not a pastor's kid, but I'm married to an amazing one and we're raising three. Barnabas did a fantastic job describing the challenges they may, and already do, experience. I never considered how significant it is that I signed up for the challenges of pastoral ministry, but my kids did not make that choice. I was convicted about how our parenting can either reinforce or help ease those implicit pressures. His section on how to talk to ministry kids was invaluable, and helpful to me as I th ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
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
Danielle Williamson
I haven't read the original of this book, but had heard about it and read some reviews here. People can be critical in the face of honesty! Especially in the sort of taboo subject of the unique experience of a pastor's family. But I as a fellow pastor's kid now grown, I could totally appreciate Barnabas Piper's sharing parts of his experience because it allowed me to not feel so alone in mine. But with as much transparency and critique he offered, he gave equal parts grace (no, literally- grace ...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. ...more
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
Hunter Cox
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a P or a PK. I just read out of vague interest. What I appreciated about the book, even though this is a very indirect observation, is the basic idea that Christianity need not take one rigid cultural form and that we shouldn't confuse Christian culture with Christianity itself. What I hear Barnabas Piper saying is essentially something like, "I grew up in an environment where to be Christian is to know C.S. Lewis by heart, pray in a very particularly spiritual way, have a very developed ...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
Laura (Book Scrounger)
This was a fairly succinct book covering some generalities about what it's like to be a pastor's kid, or "PK." While the subtitle sounds written *for* PKs, the text generally sounds more like it's *about* PKs. It's good to hear a perspective on how much pressure PKs are under. I did relate to parts of this more than I thought I would, considering I'm not a PK. I remember Bible Baseball... I think it was a computer game by the time I came across it.

Anyway, it has some good reminders to not expect
Jun 20, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s important to remember that while PKs face unique challenges (like being known, but not being know at the same time) they’re really just like every other kid. They/we need grace, personal relationships and parents who are parents before pastors.
While this book was helpful in understanding what PKs go through, I think it lacked a certain level of grace towards pastors and their congregations. For sure, pastors/congregations can grow in their love and care for PKs, but they’re not the only on
Luke Schmeltzer
The book was interesting to me for two main reasons: first because I am studying to be a pastor and second because I plan to start a family soon. I am also the son of a PK who had to deal with the downsides of ministry for years, and I never want my children to go through what my mom or Barnabas went through. The books was thought-provoking, and it was good to consider these things for the sake of my family and ministry. Barnabas speaks a lot about teaching your children to find their own way in ...more
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
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.
Jenna Prince
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting food for thought as the mom of pastor’s kids, but I think it could have been said with more tact and more gospel at times.
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Barnabas Piper is a pastor, author, podcaster, and speaker who lives near Nashville, Tennessee with his family. He writes regularly for He Reads Truth and blogs at He has authored several books and Bible studies and also co-hosts The Happy Rant podcast, a popular show discussing issues of faith and culture in a light-hearted, humorous manner.

Barnabas's work can be found in many

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“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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