The Pastor's Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity  -     By: Barnabas Piper
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The Pastor's Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity

David C. Cook / Paperback

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Product Description

Pastor's children face unique challenges and identity struggles. The son of pastor and bestselling author John Piper addresses these issues candidly, offering hope for PKs, their pastors/fathers, and their churches.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: David C. Cook
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0781410355
ISBN-13: 9780781410359

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Publisher's Description

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 addresses the pervasive assumptions, identity issues and accelerated scrutiny PKs face.
But more than just stating the problems – he shares the one thing a PK needs above all else (as do their pastor/father and church) is to live in true freedom and wholeness.

Author Bio

Barnabas Piper is a PK, the son of well-known pastor John Piper. He writes for World Magazine at and blogs at He writes regularly for the popular blog, The Blazing Center. He and his wife live in the Nashville area with their two daughters.

Product Reviews

4.8 Stars Out Of 5
4.8 out of 5
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
4.3 out Of 5
(4.3 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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  1. St. Paul, MN
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    must reading for churches, pastors and of course, pastors kids
    January 28, 2015
    Bob Hayton
    St. Paul, MN
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    As a former pastors kid (and assistant pastors kid, and later a missionarys kid), this book intrigued me. As a former member of John Pipers church, this book had special relevance for me. The author is Barnabus Piper, one of Pastor Johns sons. As a Christian who is recovering from legalism, this book was especially helpful for me.

    In "The Pastors 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 doesnt claim to be a guru, but he is a pastors kid who struggled and erred, but also grew and matured and looks back on his time as a pastors kid and feels the need to share his experience both for the benefit of pastors but especially for the help of fellow pastors kids who may not have turned out as well as he. There are a lot of pastors kids, and some of them have jettisoned their parents faith and are jarred by the experience. Others may not yet have come to grips with why they struggle so much in particular ways.

    This book explores the unique challenges of pastors kids and yet doesnt burn the parents and blame them for all the problems. Pastor John actually writes the foreword and while Barnabus spares no punches, one gets the sense that their relationship is in-tact and both respect the other.

    This is part memoir, and part self-help. And it isnt all Pipers memoir, as he shares stories from countless pastors kids he interviewed in preparation for the book. Some of them are not in the faith anymore, and it does us good to wonder why. Barnabus prescription calls for grace and care for children, and a proper set of expectations. He also gives hope to those who have been burned, or are wondering what they can possibly due at this stage in the game.

    I particularly appreciated his emphasis on legalism. This excerpt resonates well with me:

    "Not everything is right or wrong, true or false, yes or no. The PK needs some maybes and sort ofs. If every question is answered in black and white and every decision judged as right or wrong, the PK never learns to make value decisions. In fact, he never learns values at all. He just learns to dance the morality two-step and avoid getting out of step with whats good or true. If every question is given a concrete answer and no room is left for exploration or doubt, the PK is forced to either acquiesce or bury his doubts where they can fester and rot his faith." (p. 83)

    I listened to the Christianaudio version of the book. This was extra special in that Barnabus Piper himself was the one reading his book. This made listening to the book more poignant as his passion for his books message was evident.

    This book is well-written and preaches an important message. I dont know of any other similar book that is designed to both help those who have been hurt, and equip those in the ministry now who are raising another generation of children. Cautions are raised and challenges issued, but grace and hope pervade the book. This is must reading for churches, pastors and of course, pastors kids.

    Disclaimer: This book was provided by Christianaudio. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.
  2. Minnesota
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great guide for understanding the PK
    September 4, 2014
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I agree with Jenny who mentioned that church conflict was not addressed. That is often where the PK feels the most stress. Parents usually try to protect them but other kids hear their parents and so it goes. As a youth volunteer who has a child who was a PK I realized that I unintentionally put the PK's in my sphere on a little pedestal hoping that when conversation in small group has a lull that they will help me out. Very eye opening to me as a church parishioner and as a parent of a PK. Thank you for writing this.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    This book needed to be written.
    August 22, 2014
    Jenny K.
    I was excited to read the book since every member of my immediate family was a pastor's kid and I knew that had shaped our family and us as individuals. The book far surpassed my expectations. The book put words to my feelings and thoughts and brought to light new aspects of what it means to be a PK. It was my experience and my struggles on many of the pages, but it didn't stop there, but pointed to our great God and how He works in our lives and redeems us and redeems difficulties for His glory and our good. It helped me love Him and His church and want to serve them both more. The one area I would have liked to have seen dealt with in the book that was not is conflict within the church as that is an experience that many PK's are privy to. The last chapter which focuses on the strengths of being a PK was a great way to end and very encouraging. Anyone who is a PK, a pastor, a counselor, a church member or knows a PK could benefit from this book.
  4. Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    God Bless Emma, Eban, and Ella
    July 16, 2014
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 4
    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 high from the moment I first heard that it was on its way because, although we are not involved in vocational ministry, my husband and I have been volunteers in our church since all four of our boys were very young. This has been fairly public involvement that has involved Sunday morning visibility, more dinner-time phone calls than average, and lots of schedule adjustments around church activities and business. It is also relevant, I think, that we made a conscious decision at one point to relinquish some responsibilities because we saw that the demands of our family were escalating as our boys matured. Go figure. It takes more energy to greet the teenager at curfew than it does to comfort the toddler with an ear infection or feed the baby twice in the night. Having said that, I spent some time as I read the book trying to assess whether a pastor's family really does have more of a "burden" to bear from the church than the highly-involved church member. After all, those who are doing "vocational ministry" are able to give themselves to the job seamlessly. Obviously, it is going to involve more than forty hours -- there's hardly a professional position out there that can be accomplished in forty hours. Volunteers are balancing their 40+ and then doing church business on top of it. Therefore, their children are also "sharing" their parents with Jesus (who, by the way, is also their dad's and mum's "Boss"). Because I have this question about Piper's thesis, I questioned two of my kids (ages 15 and 12) and one of their friends (age 12 and a deacon's kid) as they were digesting their morning waffles. Do you feel as if the people at church know more about you than you are comfortable with? Do you feel as if their expectations are higher for you than for other kids? Do you think they expect you to be an angel? (Snorts over this one, as they regularly give evidence to the contrary.) Do you feel as if you have to fake it/perform because your parents are involved at church?

    No. They do not seem to be suffering from the fish bowl effect. Clearly, my sample is smaller than Pipers, and it is likely that my survey group was basking in the attitude-enhancing warmth of a belly full of chocolate waffles with peanut butter sauce. Nonetheless, my heart aches for Barnabas Piper and his comrades in the fish bowl. Some of the questions he raises seem to be borne out of so much sadness that he is unable to see the grace of God he eventually gets around to trumpeting in later chapters. For instance, on page 25: Of course children are not "consulted" in their parents' call to ministry. Is God not sovereign in His placement of children in families? Does He not, by virtue of assigning the PK to a pastor's family (and an MK to a missionary family and a DK to a deacon's family), promise grace to that child to BE and to DO and to endure the assignment?

    Did the author really bristle under all the attention he received at church? Does his mastery of "The Tricks of the Trade" (page 54) really arise from his identity as a PK, or would he have become an "onion" even if his father had not achieved rock-star status? Has Barnabas asked himself whether his book would have ever seen day light without his father's reputation and notoriety?

    I hesitate to mention one factor because I am aware of it only because of John Piper's books (and possibly a sermon or two); and I applaud his transparency, even though I know that this has been a sore spot for his son. Piper the elder has made no secret of the fact that he and Noel have weathered some tough times in their marriage. So, even though it may not be any of my business to even WONDER about, I do question whether some of Barnabas's thin-skinned and prickly response to life in a pastor's home might be a result of the particular pastor's home where he gathered his data for 18 years. When Mum and Dad are barely cordial to each other for extended periods of time, even though they are on their faces before God about it and working to make things better, it has to affect the children.

    Fortunately, the cloud in The Pastor's Kid lifts, and Piper does give some very encouraging news about adult PK's who experience benefit from their years of "apprenticeship" in a pastor's home. This book, the fruit of Barnabas Piper's apprenticeship, should be read by every parent who is called to ministry, whether full-time or as a volunteer. Our attitudes toward ministry are contagious. Our Pharisaism is deadly. Perhaps this book will prevent further heartache, and hopefully it will spark more conversations like we had this morning in our home -- and hopefully more waffles, too.
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