Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Being a “Preacher’s Kid”

I was in the unenviable position of having a father who was a traveling minister (he still is). This meant that he was away for long stretches of time, on the road, traveling, going to church after church, in conference after conference, spending so much time away from his family. Don’t think I didn’t notice, dad. But that’s just the way it was, and he is quite an inspirational speaker, don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen his process, how he goes about preparing sermons, and it’s a wonder to behold. I’ve also seen those same sermons delivered, in churches, in tents, in prisons, and in fields and pavilions throughout this country, and it’s also something special. But being him, and being his son are two completely different things, something too many people failed to remember.

When I would travel with my dad, which happened more and more as I got a bit older, I would always be introduced to everyone and their mothers as the next big preacher. I would shake their hands, they would pat me on the head (which I detested), and they would proclaim me the second coming of Jehosophat. I would nod along, laugh when instructed, and proceed to sit in my place of honor at the front of the church so I could listen to another one of my dad’s sermons while everyone around me looked at me to see my reactions. It was so strange, such a surreal time anytime I went with him. And I wore my special suit for the occasion. It was bright white, the better to call attention to myself, but also easier for people to recognize me. When we would go “on tour” I think they honestly passed on this knowledge from church to church. It was almost like we were celebrities, and while I liked it, I did not like the expectations that came with it.

“It wasn’t enough to just be me.”

That’s where the disconnect really began. At first I found it interesting and was even honored by the attention, but once they all started saying I was going to be a great preacher too I started to honestly think about it. And I realized I didn’t want to be a preacher. I didn’t want to stand in that pulpit and speak the words of God from on high. I wasn’t that guy, but how can one person stand against legions who are certain of that fact? I couldn’t, or at least I felt like I couldn’t. So I let myself get swept along with the tide, I let them believe I was the second coming, and I got tangled up in youth church, in theology courses, until I finally said “enough!” It took me long enough, and while I realized that being a preacher was a noble profession, it was also a calling, and I wasn’t called that way, even though so many people believed it to be the case. When I finally shut it down, I know I disappointed so many people, but I realized by then I am not my father, nor do I want to be, so it was okay.

And amazingly enough, the church still has some solid young preachers who really know how to sermonize. I don’t think I’m missed.


Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Taking the SATs on Sunday

Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Off to School

Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Suiting Up

Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: A Different Kind of Brother

Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Divisions

Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Academy Life

Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Getting Healthy

Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Keeping the Sabbath

144 thoughts on “Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Being a “Preacher’s Kid”

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  1. The most honest thing that I have read on the internet so far in 2013.
    Keep true to yourself, Sam. Be who you are. Hug your children every day as well as your wife.
    Shabbat shalom!

    1. I really appreciate your comments. I always strive to stay true to myself, and my wife and children are getting extra hugs tonight. Thanks again!

  2. Red-headed Preacher’s child from the Church of Christ. I got, “you should know better you’re the preacher’s child!” from every dried up old lady that ever attended church with me. I finally learned to snap back, “You’re a child of God and that isn’t doing YOU much good!” And one old traveling preacher that kept trying to give me gum if I would say I wanted to grow up and be a preacher’s wife someday. No way! I had seen that job in action and I wouldn’t get near it. I deeply admire my parents, but I’m a much better therapist for troubled teens and “those” people. Glad you found your own way too.

    1. You have a wonderful voice, and I’m glad I got to hear it. We all do need to find our own paths, and I am so glad you found yours as a therapist for troubled teens. Thanks for the reply!

  3. Are you still Adventist? What do you do now? I looked at your “about me” section and didn’t find some of the answers I was looking for. I ask because I was raised Adventist. Still believe many of the things I was taught, but, after many life experience and a lot of introspection, I have found that I can no longer honestly claim the Adventist faith for my own. Just curious about your walk… And I really enjoyed your post. Good for you to sticking to what *you* felt called to.

    1. You know, Jessica, you’re the first person to ask that question, about me still being Adventist. I really enjoyed your comment. You inspire me to change my “About Me” section to include a lot of that information. Thanks again!

  4. Well done for being brave choosing your own path and doing what you want to do rather than what people expect of you. It isn’t easy and I am sure it was a struggle when you felt like you disappointed people. I hope one day soon it all falls into place for you and I am sure some of it already is 🙂

    1. Thank you very much. A lot of the pieces have indeed fallen into place for me, and all because I chose my own path. Thanks again.

  5. This is exactly the third blog, of your site I personally went through.
    However , I really like this particular one, “Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Being a Preachers Kid | Sam’s Online Journal” the most. Cya ,Tammara

  6. Ha! I FEEL you.

    As a preacher’s daughter, everyone expected I would marry a pastor. After all, I already knew how to be a good “hostess” and I “understood” the demands of the job.

    I like your blog. It appears we have a lot in common re: childhood. But I’m on the far side of a whole other fence now. Still, I enjoyed reading.

    1. Wanda, welcome to my blog, and thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad you understand where I’m coming from. I would definitely be interested to hear your story, and what this fence is that you’re on the far side of now. Please come again.

      1. well my father left the SDA denomination when i was 11 or 12. and my spiritual path has to taken me to quite a few denominations. and my blog explains the rest. 😉 be well brother.

  7. Can I simply say what a relief to find an individual who really understands what they’re talking about on the net.
    You certainly realize how to bring an issue to light
    and make it important. More and more people really need to
    read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that
    you’re not more popular because you certainly possess the gift.

  8. Found this blog by chance. I am married to a pastor and we have a 1 yr old daughter. Sometimes I have fears as to how my daughter will take this whole thing about being a pastor’s kid. I am prepared to defend her and encourage her to be herself. We’ll see what this journey will bring her but I hope both my husband and I are able to handle things well and that she doesn’t grow up being angry.

    1. I think that kids get angry when you’re not upfront with them. Let her know early on how important it is that she come to you with any questions or issues. Believe me, I know how hard it is not to have answers and instead to just have people judging you because of who your parent is.

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