I'm writing this because I want you to have a written testimony of what your father and I have said to you from the day you were born about being pastor's kids. It's often said that PK's are holy terrors, and certainly you've all had your moments. It's also often assumed that you are held to a higher standard than other kids because people know what Dad does so they expect more of you. My least favorite assumption is that you are forced to spend an inordinate amount of time at church. Dad and I have tried diligently to dispell these common assumptions, and we will continue to do so until you are adults.
Not one of you has ever been more trouble than the average child or teenager. Granted, we've been at our wits' end with each of you at times, however we are very aware that you have been far more obedient and less trouble than most kids. Just today, when we were sad about a certain disappointment, we had to remind ourselves that it could be so much worse. Having said that, I want all three of you to know that we have higher expectations for you than just "average".
If that makes you think we hold you to an unfair standard, you are wrong. I promise you that our standards are indeed based on Whose you are, but you don't ultimately belong to us. You belong to God. Justin and Caleb, you have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Our standards for you are based on God's standards for His children. When we expect you to give your best, respect and obey authority, be not just polite but truly helpful, use language that is Christlike, and be full of truth, it's because that's exactly what God expects and the Holy Spirit empowers you to be. I not only expect that of you, but also of your Christian friends. Dad and I are held to that same standard.
We do, in fact, spend a lot of time at church. We do expect you to be there too because that's one place you can learn from other Jesus followers. It's also where you get practice ministering with the gifts and talents God continues to develop in you. You know well that you've been allowed to do other activities besides church, and we've attempted to let you lead "normal" lives. We will continue to expect you to be an active part of this ministry team we call family. Although Dad and I chose this life, God chose all three of you for this life! My constant prayer is that genuine service in Jesus' name will be second nature to you and that you will continue this lifestyle even if you aren't getting paid for it as an adult.
The bottom line is that I love you, and I believe God's plan for you is to radiate His character and love in whatever you are doing. I won't back down or back away. I won't lower my standards to less than God's standards. But neither will I ever let anyone hold you accountable for more than God's will for your lives. I won't give you everything but I'll try to make sure you have everything you need. I'll continue to mess up on a daily basis and I'll probably embarrass you like crazy!
You are not pastor's kids, you are our kids. That's enough to make you different so don't blame the church or God. My prayer is that you will love Jesus more than you love me, that you will know that He cannot let you down, and that you grow to find joy in serving Him!