Omar Lopez, 26, grew up in Whittier, Calif. and Norwalk, Calif. as the son of a preacher in a non-denominational church closely tied to the Pentecostal tradition. Today he is a barista at Starbucks and serves in ministries at his dad’s church. Read about his experiences in the Q&A below.
What was it like for you to grow up as a PK?
When you grow up in any household or any lifestyle, that’s all you know, but for me it was fun. Being part of a church, there’s always something going on, there’s always some function, and you find your life-long friends. There wasn’t anything I felt like I missed out on, or anything. It was fun.
Are you still a part of your dad’s church?
I still go to my dad’s church now. I’ve never considered leaving unless I’m going into the ministry elsewhere. Someone asked me that recently and I was like, ‘I never thought of that.’ It’s always been a given.
You mentioned some ministries. What are you involved in?
I lead worship. I have a few other ministries: the video announcements, the creative team, but mostly the worship team. My mom is the head of the worship team, but I’m kind of leading it right now.
What were the best parts about growing up as a PK?
I think for anyone growing up who’s involved, not just a PK, there’s this positive environment because you have these good influences as leaders that have laid out an example of how to live a good life, not just a Christian life.
A cool thing about my church and my fellowship is we are a church-planting movement, so the church we came out of planted 30 to 50 churches, and we’re still connected with them, so we create these friendships. You don’t see them every week, but you do see them at conferences and events. It’s not my close circle, but I know a lot of people and have good friendships. People I’ve known my whole life.
Especially as a pastor’s kid you get to see from a different point of view because you’re always in church so you see people come and go. You get to see different lifestyles and choices people make.
What was hard?
I don’t know if it’s a negative or a bad thing, but I found it annoying when people would compare me to dad, and call me “Little Pastor Omar” because my dad’s Omar, too. It kind of grew old after a while, but I got over it. But what is negative about it? For me as a person, I always considered it a joy.
Were you expected to follow in your dad’s footsteps?
I think for a while people were like, ‘You’re going to grow up to be a pastor just like your dad,’ and I was like, ‘No, I’m not.’ I think I just said that without even considering if God called me to that kind of ministry. I think I said that in defense of my own individuality subconsciously.
Did you ever feel like you were stereotyped?
Oh yeah. For sure. As Christians, people go around and they won’t cuss around a Christian. Even people in the church say things like, ‘Oh, you can’t say that around the pastor’s kid because he’ll tell his parents’ but I was like, ‘No, this is me. I’m not this radio secret service agent who’s going to report to my dad.’
How has your upbringing influenced your life?
I have this worldview that everyone’s on the same page. We all have our own individuality. We all have our need for Jesus. We all have our sin: it needs to be forgiven. So I think growing up, I’ve kind of broadened my worldview. Every single person has value, and I can’t say that that has come from any other influence. It’s always because I’ve been in church and I have this love and value for every person I run into.