Thursday, September 29, 2022

Written by Alan Vink

Categories: Pastors Blog

Comments: 0

Dear Pastors


Two weeks ago I wrote a piece on the pastors marriage. Today I would like to share a few thoughts about the pastors family.

PKs are not a chewing gum brand. They are Pastors Kids. Jeanette and I have four of them. I say ‘have’ because once a PK always a PK. Our four sons (all born in our first 4.5 years of our marriage) are now in their late 30’s and early 40’s. They are all happily married (but with the usual challenges) and together with their wives are Christ followers. Our eldest is a Pastor. Needless to say we are very grateful parents. As we all know, simply raising kids in a Christian home is no guarantee that our children will adopt the faith of their parents. Further, parenting is a team sport. As I have reflected over the years I’m not sure that things would have turned out the way they have if it hadn’t been for Jeanette’s commitment, attentiveness, patience and love. She won the parent of the year award every year.

Here are a few things we learned along the way. I especially hope this piece may be useful to younger pastors (and Christian leaders) who are deep in the child rearing years. Please accept this as a mentoring moment. I was Senior Pastor from when our first child was 3 years old until they all left home. Being a PK is all they have ever known growing up.

  1. We tried ever so hard not to have our identity wrapped up in my work and our calling. The studies show that this is perhaps the biggest challenge. We said, we are parents first and pastors second. We tried to have a healthy separation between my role as a pastor and my role as a parent. Same for Jeanette when she joined my team some years later.
  2. I prioritized being home for dinner every night. On occasion this wasn’t possible (in the earlier years I travelled quite a bit) but by and large I managed to pull that off.
  3. We were committed to a short family devotion most nights and as much as possible I helped oversee homework during the high school years.
  4. We said our kids could play sport on Sunday mornings if the team required that. If at all possible we asked that if they missed church in the morning they go at night. Two of our boys went to a church across town as we didn’t have a night service and besides these two boys didn’t particularly like the church I pastored. But that’s a whole other story.
  5. In many and varied ways we were diligent to communicate that, ‘God is always good, but some of His adult children can and do behave pretty badly at times’.
  6. Jeanette and I amplified the good stories about our church and my job and hardly talked about the ‘bad’ ones. We modified that as the kids got older.
  7. We encouraged our boys to go to Christian events where the Gospel was presented and where they would meet (hopefully) new Christian friends including girlfriends.
  8. We resisted (perhaps rejected is a better word) any attempt by anybody to pressurize our boys to conform. Studies show that when Christian kids live day in and day out in pressure cooker environments it can and often does lead to rejection of the faith if not rebellion. This is a particularly sensitive issues for PKs.
  9. We held a strong view about the importance of ‘significant others’ to come along side our kids. Thankfully they all met such a person(s) by the time they were in their mid-teens who they enjoyed hanging out with. We can’t stress enough the value of this. We would say that today a significant other is even more important than in the 80’s and 90’s. When someone outside your immediate family affirms your values and beliefs and believes in your kids, it is an incredibly powerful addition to your parenting tool kit. We are forever grateful to Nettie, Peter, Mike and Christian Surfers.
  10. ‘Pay back’ is a simple commitment to your kids that when you have to work some nights and on Saturdays then you will pay back the time to your family. Paying back is especially important after extra busy seasons.
  11. The telephone never dictated my plans while I was at home with the family except in extreme emergencies which was quite rear. Please Note: I was very committed to respond to pastoral situations but normally they could wait a few hours or even a day or so.
  12. Have fun. Church work is a serious business. You need to bust out some good times.
  13. Be authentic. Oh my goodness your kids sniff out inauthenticity that fast it is scary. In other words what you are in public you are at home and vice versa.
  14. Pray. We prayed a lot for the well being of our boys……physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

If this blog has raised any questions for you or you would simply like to have a chat please do not hesitate to reach out. My email is and Jeanette’s is


Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.

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