In case you haven’t done the math, my kids are preacher’s kids, sometimes referred to in the churchiverse as “PKs.” They get top billing anytime I preach (whether the illustrations are true or not), they spend a lot of time hanging out at God’s house (“No running in God’s hallways!”), and sometimes I dream that we’ll be one of those powerhouse multi-generational pastor families where I’ll eventually pass my legacy down to them (current legacy includes a couple of Mark Driscoll books and a clergy parking pass to Duke Hospital).

But I realize that my kids aren’t like the PKs of my youth. Nope, my version of PKs – my friends Bobby and Tommy – had it way rougher than my kids do now. They had to walk a whole 75 feet from the parsonage to get to church. Their preacher daddy didn’t embrace his baldness like I am, and they were subject to the scourge of his toupee. They didn’t have a coffee bar, a plethora of campus choices, or worship leaders who wore skinny jeans. ‘Twas a rough life, yo.

Over the years, Merriem and I have discovered that we’re raising a different breed of PK. These are kids that have never really known traditional church. They’ve grown up in a multi-site, band-driven, set up and tear down, high school and warehouse church environment that doesn’t really lend itself to the flannel graphs and three piece suits of our day. As a matter of fact, they don’t always recognize (or understand) traditional church when they actually see it. For example…

Several years ago we took Jacob and Austin (then 9 & 8) on a road trip to visit the first church we served way back in the early 90’s. We were there for a Wednesday night prayer meeting, and Jacob grabbed a hymnal out of the back of the pew and examined it the way a monkey examines a nuclear warhead. “Mom,” he whispered “what is this?” Merriem looked at me as though we’d completely failed to bring our child up to love Jesus. “He’s a Southern Baptist’s pastor’s kid!” she said. “He should know what a hymnal is!”

A few months back Jase (then 8) told us that we ought to go and plant a church in a nearby small town. His reasoning: “All the churches in that town don’t look right. They all have those pointy things sticking up from the roof.” (God bless him, he doesn’t understand steeples and thinks warehouses are God’s chosen church design spelled out in Leviticus.)

And just last week, Austin (now 14) attended a friend’s birthday party in her church’s fellowship hall. When I picked him up, he said “Dad, it was one of those old churches, with tinted windows and pictures on them.” (Yep, stained glass.)

So how about you? What are your stories of being a traditional church parent raising emerging church kids? Comment below.