Welcome to Ryley Writes, a collection of thoughts, stories, and work from deep in the heart of Texas.

Pastor's Kids: The Bad

Last week, I started a three-part series titled Being a Pastor's Kid: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

We kicked things off with the good, and I have to say, reading everyone's comments and talking to people about it afterwards was about as much fun as I've had since I started blogging. Some of y'all were hilarious, some of you were super sweet, some fellow PK's offered internet fist-bumps of recognition,

and some of y'all admitted to being in that group that was really looking forward to hearing about the bad stuff.

So, here you go, you eager soap opera types. Pause Days of Our Lives (is that still a thing??? I'm not a soap opera person, so uh), get out your popcorn, and without further ado, enjoy... Being a Pastor's Kid: The Bad.


  • Always being the last to eat lunch on Sunday. There's 168 hours in a week, people. Pick one not right after the last service to catch up with the pastor. I don't know what kind of snacks you had while he was preaching, but I didn't get any, and I'm hungry. So is he. Just let us leave.
  • Keeping secrets. Do I automatically know everyone's dirty laundry just because they've aired it to my dad? No. (Promise.) Do I usually have a heads-up or inside scoop on church stuff though? Yeah, of course. And for the most part, it's fine, but — as a teenager especially — playing dumb for long stretches of time gets old, and it's always super fun having to find the least-awkward way to deny information to people who know I have it and are trying to get me to give it. (And yes, that happened more often than you'd think.)
  • The ownership illusion. The line between personal and professional is perhaps fuzzier within the church than any other organization. It might be the trickiest part of ministry, period. My dad is more than a purely administrative leader — it's not called a church family for no reason, and the pastor is kind of a key part of that shindig. However, when people lose sight of any delineation between church family and, you know, his actual real life family, things get weird quick. While I'm super sure they always mean well, it never gets less bizarre to have people weigh in on all manner of our personal lives. Examples include, but are not limited to: holidays we should/should not celebrate, how we should celebrate said holidays, what we should wear, what we should not wear, our school situation (the war between public/private/home school parents shall rage forevermore, hallelujah, amen), our house, our cars, our finances in general, our involvement (or lack thereof) in church activities, etc.
    Basically any topic you can think of, no matter how personal, pastors' families have had at least one unsolicited but strongly held opinion offered. We get that you love us. We love you back. But we are not your real life family. And we can go to whatever school we want, and we can dress up on Halloween without worshiping Satan, and you do not need to be in on the family budget, and you gotta stop. Okay? Okay.
  • Front row. I am all about that back row life, but pastor's families never get to sit on the back row, because the stage/pulpit is always at the front, as it were, so that's where he is. And we have to sit at least relatively near him or it looks suspicious. Plus we like him and stuff. So we have to stand at the front with a million eyeballs behind us.
  • Jerks. My dad is a leader in the public eye. Some people don't like him. Some people don't like his decisions. Sometimes the occasional person (or group of people) feels the need to make that loudly, openly known. That's inevitable. But guess what? Me and Justin Bieber's mom don't like you, and we like everyone. HAVE A NICE LIFE.

Alright so, now you know the bad of being a pastor's kid, and I'm pretty sure I avoided deeply offending anyone in the process. (I almost went after Awana people, for example, and then opted against it. Close call. Feeling pretty good about my mature decision.)

The good, the bad — you're two-thirds of the way to basically being a PK yourself at this point. All that's left is the ugly, so be on the lookout for that in the next couple days.

Pastor's Kids: The Ugly

Pastor's Kids: The Good