Missionaries, Pastors Families, Third-Culture Kids and Pastors’ Kids
Living in the “fishbowl” of full-time ministry can be a slippery slope. The challenges of maintaining one’s spiritual integrity, while also protecting oneself from the possible scrutiny of those you minister to, can be wearing. Too many spiritual leaders have sacrificed their integrity and congruency out of fear of what others think, especially if it involves knowing they were vulnerable or fallible. At the same time, when someone in ministry has normal struggles (depression, marital difficulties, a wayward child, for example), there needs to be a place where the minister can come and receive sound advice and treatment in a context that feels safe.
Living between worlds in a cross-cultural or international context adds to the complexity of these needs. Missionaries invariably find it most helpful to have a therapist who has experienced and understands what it is like to live and minister in a cross-cultural context.
Adult children who grew up between these different worlds – whose “home country” is different from that of their parents, and who often are not sure where to call “home” – can benefit from having an opportunity to process their experiences separate from that of their parents’ ministry or cultural paradigms. TCK’s and PK’s tend to grow up with some distorted beliefs (that they don’t recognize as distorted) about themselves which impact how they live their lives, their relationships, and their own spirituality. If this is you, it can be helpful to have help working through these experiences and the “holy heresies” you inherited, to help integrate them into who you are apart from parents’ ministry.