Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review: The Pastor's Kid by Barnabas Piper

Barnabas Piper is the son of John Piper, the well known pastor, author and scholar. In this book, Barnabas shares some of the issues that are common to pastor's kids (PK's). Although this book is primarily geared toward the children of those in vocational ministry, I found the book quite insightful, and I could see it being helpful for many people, and even many parents (Chapters 5-7 especially).

First off, here is a good reason not to buy this book -- you aren't gonna get any dirt on John Piper -- this isn't an exposé. Although he does share some personal stories, this book isn't about digging into his parents and airing his families dirty laundry. He also isn't just telling his story. Barnabas is speaking for a greater community of PK's everywhere, and he includes insights from other PK's throughout the book.

Although I think I know a lot about Barnabas' dad (his books and teaching have really helped shape who I am as a believer), I also have followed Barnabas on social media enough to know that Barnabas is not his dad! In my opinion, that is the entire point of this book!

Barnabas reminds us in this book that pastor's kids are sinful, fallen humans just like everyone else. They didn't inherit some special DNA that grants them automatic sanctification right out of the womb. He also reminds us that pastors themselves are sinful, and that the families of those in ministries share many of the same struggles, conflicts and dynamics that all of our families have. The difference? They live in a giant fishbowl. Everyone in church knows them. In the case of Barnabas in particular, the fame of his father reaches far outside of Bethlehem Baptist Church, outside of the Twin Cities, outside of the United States even. His dad is very well known, and Barnabas is not only in a fishbowl, his family is on display in the aquarium.

Although I am not a pastor's kid, I do hope this book helps me should I wind up a father in a pastoral ministry role someday. Many parts of the book resonated with me, and many parts made me laugh (out loud). I especially loved the part about pastor's kids knowing all about how to pray, use the right words, the right voice (a half-octave higher), and how to throw a little King James around when need be.

Barnabas' writing style was perfect. I could see this book easily being read by teens who are perhaps struggling with some of the many things that Barnabas describes from his own life, to adult PK's to pastors themselves.

I plan to pass my copy along to my pastor's son, and hopefully I can get him to write up some of his thoughts once he has finished it.

Here is the trailer for the book:

 

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