BOOK REVIEWS · Leadership · Parenting

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



BOOK REVIEWS · Parenting

PASTOR DAD: Scriptural Insights on Fatherhood – Mark Driscoll (2009)

Pastor Dad by Mark Driscoll is a short and straightforward book for dads.

Driscoll brings his typical no-nonsense approach to the Christian life and applies his witty and biblical approach to parenting.

This short but powerful book begins where every book on parenting ought to begin, with God.  Driscoll rightly says, “The first thing we must note is that before a man can be a good father, he has to be a good Christian … Our ultimate goal must be that our children would grow to love and worship our God … I must worship the one true God as my Father, by repenting of my sin and coming to him by faith for grace to love him, as an example and pattern for my sons and, God willing, grandsons.”

Driscoll stresses a biblical approach to discipline.  The father must “discipline his children as needed to keep them on a path of wisdom and righteousness.”  He encourages dads to live exemplary lives before their children.  “Fathers are to lovingly lead their children toward heartfelt repentance of sin.”

Pastor Dad focuses in on the father’s duty to disciple his children.  It is the duty of every father to cultivate Christ-centered qualities and maturity in his children.  The father bears the primary responsibility for the spiritual growth of his family.

Driscoll rightly discusses the biblical roles of mom and dad: “There is no way anyone could read the Bible and wind up with the silly notion that both the husband and the wife are to be providers and that daycares or relatives are supposed to raise the children of a Christian couple.”  He willingly enters a contentious arena in a culture that is diametrically opposed to the biblical blueprint for family life.

I heartily recommend Pastor Dad.  Driscoll’s work is practical, thought-provoking, and challenging.  However, the most important feature of Driscoll’s book is its commitment to biblical principles.  Don’t expect an exhaustive approach to parenting.  Driscoll doesn’t pretend to provide all the answers.  But this is a good start.

Read this ebook which available for free at and pass it along to another dad.