Finding Footing on a Firm Foundation: Silas Vermilya Made His Faith His Own as a Pastor’s Kid

Silas Vermilya is 18 years old, starting his first year at Indiana Wesleyan University. For the past 10 years, he’s been a pastor’s kid, as his mom served as a worship pastor and his dad, a theology professor. But his own spiritual development was not a given—Silas had to make a purposeful choice to follow Christ.

Silas’s story begins in Colorado, where his mom worked at the church the family attended. When he was 7, his family moved to Marion, IN for his parents’ jobs.

In Marion, Silas began to integrate into church life, finding friends and getting involved in church activities. He enjoyed being part of a family that was wholly Christ-centered.

“My parents have always been good at balancing family time and ministry,” shares Silas. “We try to set aside time every month to do something as a family. We always said, ‘You have what you make time for.’”

Silas grew up hearing conversations of theology and church ministry from both of his parents. He saw spiritual habits modeled in his parents’ everyday life. He observed faithful participation in the church body and knew its life-changing power.

But it wasn’t until he started taking action on his own that Silas learned what it means to be part of the Church.

“Until I was about 12 or 13, I lived off my parents’ faith,” Silas admits. “Then one day I realized I needed to make it personal. I started practicing spiritual habits on my own, like reading the Word, setting aside time during the week.”

Practicing what he’d seen modelled by his parents, Silas also got involved in worship arts. “As I started to build a community around myself, I fell in love with the Church too.”

As Silas begins college, he’s pursuing a double major in psychology and theology. He’s not sure where God will lead him, but he has questions of his own he’d like to think through. “I’d like to study and understand different denominations, to help work toward unity,” Silas explains.

While his parents provided a knowledge base for Silas, he came to this question of interest on his own.

“Being a pastor’s kid comes with blessing and with danger,” reflects Silas. “The blessing is you have a firm foundation that your parents give you, seeing Christian life modelled every day in your home. But, if you haven’t owned your faith, you can be extra vulnerable entering the ‘real world.’”

For Silas, the journey of being a pastor’s kid has equipped him well, providing that firm foundation while also giving him a chance to find his footing on his own. He shares: “The Church has become my responsibility, not just my parents.”


Gaby Garver is a Wesleyan pastor’s kid who has her own journey of owning her faith. As she became an adult, Gaby realized pastor’s kids have unique insights to share with other lay people, particularly how to effectively partner with pastors and to regain focus on what “Church” is really all about. She’s excited to start sharing the insights of other PK’s with the Wesleyan community. Gaby currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey, where she volunteers with refugees and teaches English lessons.