Encouragement for parents of prodigal children

November 8, 2018

Being in ministry for over 25 years, I have experienced many amazing “God moments” and personally witnessed countless spiritual victories in the lives of folks in the churches I’ve served and pastored.

I have also survived my share of ministry heartbreaks, major roadblocks and frustrating moments. However, one issue has burdened me more than any other — acknowledging that I am the parent of a prodigal child.

Admitting that I have a child who has grown into adulthood and chosen to walk away from church and live contrary to the faith in which they were raised is not easy to accept.

As one can imagine, the question of “why” has coursed through my mind time and time again. Was it the expectations I placed on them? Was it something I did? Was it the worldly influence of school friends? (I jokingly say that it was probably the deacons’ kids that caused my child to depart.)

Unfortunately, having a prodigal child has hampered my attitude and support of one of the most important and strategic ministries of the local church — family ministry. To be honest, I felt shame, embarrassment, regret and personally disqualified to wholeheartedly support family ministry when I knew that my family was not perfect.

Consequently, true family ministry didn’t exist in the church. If it did, it was left up to other staff members to lead and carry it out. And this only added to feeling like a hypocrite.

While I was working through a personal Bible study one morning, God began strongly reminding me of a spiritual truth that I have taught for many years — it is only God who can take something broken and make it a blessing.

It is only God who can take something broken and make it a blessing.

God used that simple truth to help me get over my fear of what some folks may think or say. More importantly, that truth reminded me that ultimately my child is in God’s hands.

Since that breakthrough, God has used my family’s story to help others who are going through similar struggles. It has also enabled me to be a champion for family ministry.

There are several significant lessons that I have learned through my experience. These lessons have helped me, and I hope they will help you, as well.

Never give up loving, praying for and encouraging your prodigal.
Even though they have walked away from God and the church, the Bible makes it clear that God has never walked away from them. I know God can bring them back into a right relationship with Him.

Remember that almost every family has its share of issues with children.

As a pastor for many years, I have witnessed the fact that almost every family has its share of dysfunction, and many families also have prodigals. Even though some families are great at hiding it or denying it, the reality does exist. Therefore, I know that I am not alone in this issue.

Sharing provides encouragement and opportunity for ministry.
Sharing my personal experiences has enabled me to connect and relate to others on a whole new level. Even though my family is not perfect, God is using our family’s story to minister to other imperfect families.


by Troy Grant  
/  Senior Pastor  /  Lakeview Baptist Church

9 ways to prepare families (and churches) to worship with children

As we slowly ease out of quarantine, many of us are excited to head back to our church campuses. While we have been grateful for online worship services, nothing can compare to worshipping together with our brothers and sisters. However, there will still be some restrictions and...

How to make discipleship part of your family’s rhythms

Honestly, most days are a blur. Mornings are a flurry of getting ready for school and work. Days are a blur between work deadlines, after-school activities and traffic. At the end of most of my days, all I want to do is sit in my recliner, kick my feet up and relax — but there’s...

How does technology affect my family?

Maybe technology has not always been a part of your life, but right now you’re probably reading this article on a cell phone and, if not, surely you have one close by. Technology has made a profound mark on society, and it’s not going away. Members of Generation Z — generally...

Do you know what’s influencing your children?

For better and for worse, Joash was a man who was easily influenced. After being made king of Judah at just 7 years old, Joash led his people to turn away from idol worship and to re-establish correct worship of the Lord, all thanks to the influence of a priest named Jehoiada....

15 encouraging keys (and 10 benefits) to family worship

Churches across North Carolina have incorporated new approaches to keep their congregations connected to God’s Word and to each other in the midst of stay-at-home orders. These approaches have included emphasizing and encouraging family worship at home. Certainly many families...

13 ways to care for senior adults in a COVID-19 world

In recent weeks, North Carolina church leaders have risen to the challenge of “doing church” differently. Pastors have traded their pulpits for studios. Sunday School classes and small groups have gone virtual. Our homes have become houses of worship. Every week, church leaders...

Family discipleship with help from the web: An A-to-Z guide

Many parents have suddenly expanded their parenting resumé to include the role of homeschool teacher. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 tells parents they are to teach their children about God throughout the rhythms of the day. What if you could combine teaching and discipleship to make...

Timeless tips for families in troubling times

“School’s out!” is a phrase that usually creates excitement in the hearts of children and (some) parents. But that’s when it’s June and family vacations and camps are on the agenda. “Spring break” has taken on a new meaning this year amid the coronavirus. COVID-19 has disrupted...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for our monthly newsletter and events email.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!