PASTOR’S KID – Barbabas Piper (2014)

pkSome write to entertain; some to educate.  Others write to amuse or inspire.  Barnabas Piper writes to encourage.  He writes to encourage both pastors and their children.

Piper writes from experience.  His dad is Dr. John Piper, former Senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Barnabas Piper is a Pastor’s Kid.  He, like every other PK understands the pressure and pain of living under the roof of a pastor.  Any doubters need only read a riveting sentence at the beginning the book: “The call of the father is not the call of the child, but the ministry of the father creates an anvil-like weight on the child … And it is this pressure, in part, that drives so many PK’s to break.”

Barnabas Piper performs a vital service for the Body of Christ in his book Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity.  This is a candid inside look at the deep struggle which occurs in many PK’s.  Some PK’s rebel; others hide their emotions.  Some actually thrive.  But all will admit to living a life of sacrifice; a life that is something akin to living in a pressure cooker or a fishbowl.

Piper alerts readers to the kind of scrutiny that every PK faces: “It creates a tension in which it can be difficult to genuinely make ourselves known, and so PKs become both the best-known and the least-known people in the church.  In most cases there isn’t a single person or particular group of people doing the watching.  It’s a collective, disorganized, largely unintentional effort on the part of the church as a whole.  At best it is bothersome; at worst it is suffocating and warping.”

Piper writes from two angles in this excellent book.  First, he has plenty to say to PKs.  A lot of the advice comes through the backdoor as the author reminds every PK of this important reality: They are not alone.  It’s as if he says, “If John Piper’s son struggled in many ways, it should not come as a surprise if you struggle too.”  So Barnabas Piper not only writes from experience; he writes with great empathy and compassion.  There is a wealth of wisdom here that every PK should benefit from.

But the younger Piper has much to say to pastors as well.  He pulls no punches and shares his wisdom with candor and humility.  Most readers will no doubt wonder, “I wonder what his dad thinks about that sentence?”  Piper’s advice to pastors will cut deep but will in the final analysis prove helpful.

Like Piper, I write from experience.  I write as one who has served as a pastor for nearly twenty-five years.   But I’m also a PK.  So I’ve seen both sides of the fence.   Both sides have challenges but both sides are filled with opportunities for growth and sanctification.  Pastor’s Kid loaded with practical advice for pastors and their children!

One of my life goals is to teach in Bible College or Seminary; to train and equip the next generation of pastors and theologians.  If God opens that door in the future, Pastor’s Kid by Barnabas Piper will be required reading for every student.  It’s that good.  I am confident that Piper’s work will travel far and encourage many people.  May we heed his words, hear his heart, and respond with God-centered resolve.

4.5 stars



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