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Let’s Talk About It …..On Being A Parent Of A Prodigal Presenter | Paula Isakson Founder Faith Family Reunion

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Presentation on theme: "Let’s Talk About It …..On Being A Parent Of A Prodigal Presenter | Paula Isakson Founder Faith Family Reunion"— Presentation transcript:

1 Let’s Talk About It …..On Being A Parent Of A Prodigal Presenter | Paula Isakson Founder Faith Family Reunion

2 My family Mom, dad and daughter

3 Growing Up In a Pastor’s family Mom, daughter and father the pastor

4 My Parents Brought me up faithfully in the word But I left the faith for over 25 years

5 Todays Topic What causes parents to keep quiet when it comes to their prodigals? Is it a feeling of failure, anger or sadness? Learn how to begin to “open up” with others and discover that you are not alone. Learn how the process of “talking about it” can lead to an internal healing process enabling you to reach out to your prodigal. Let’s Talk About It | On Being A Parent Of A Prodigal

6 Questions How many of you are in church leadership? How many of you know of parents with prodigals? How many of you have prodigals in your lives?

7 Deeper Questions Why Is The Subject Of Our Kids Leaving Faith and the Church So Hard To Speak About? If You Have A Prodigal In Your Life, What Do You Do When Your Feelings Overwhelm You?

8 My Story Testimony of coming back to faith

9 Where My experiences as a prodigal have taken me Felt a call to reach out to parents of prodigals and developed Faith Family Reunion Now work on this ministry outreach with my father Dr. Jakob K. Heckert Faith Family Reunion A ministry outreach to parents of prodigal Goal is to addresses parents emotional needs and to get parents to start opening up and talking about the situation instead of keeping the hurt buried inside Belief that meeting with others and sharing experiences helps one realize that they are not alone and can help with the internal healing process Scripture Matthew 18:20 | For where two or three are gathered in my name there I am with them. Proverbs 12:25 | Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

10 Ways to begin to open up Initiate A Group Meeting In Your Congregation How| Reach Out To Parents of Prodigals Offer A Weekly Bible Study Set Up Weekly Meeting Time & Location Put A Notice In Church Bulletin and Church Newsletter Why | Address The Emotional Needs of Parents (Grandparents and Other Family Members) With Prodigals Build A Community For Parents To Interact Establish Group Correspondence To Provide Encouragement Among Members What It Can Provide | An Outlet For Parents (Grandparents and Other Family Members) A Place and Time To Receive Encouragement A Bible Study That Addresses The Subject And Provides Further Encouragement Creates A Community That Can Be A Resource To Hurting Parents And Families In the Congregation (Giving Them A Place To Go) More Ideas | Visit

11 Idea for Class Curriculum Background | Encouraged to write curriculum by mentors Concordia Center for the Family Ann Arbor MI Pilot Program | September 2015 at Concordia Ann Arbor. Panel included: Dr. Jakob K Heckert (Father and Theological Editor Faith Family Reunion) Ben & Jennifer Fruedenberg (Concordia Center For The Family, Ann Arbor MI) Bob McKinney (DCE Concordia University Ann Arbor MI) Eunice McKinney (DCE & Counselor) Mom With Prodigal (From Ann Arbor MI) Grandmother With Prodigal (Counselor, From Ann Arbor MI) June McCarty (Counselor, From Britton MI) Vicar David McCarty (Transitional Vicar, Immanuel Lutheran Church from Britton MI) Additional assistance: Ruth Koch (Overseer Board Concordia University Ann Arbor, Counselor), Sandy Wendehelin DCE Bethlehem Lutheran Denver CO, Pastor Hellmer’s St. Lukes in Golden CO, Mom with prodigal from Denver CO

12 Intro faith family reunion Sample Class Curriculum


14 Getting Started Introduction to Group Leader’s Packet | Pages 1 - 2

15 Intended Group Audience (Page 3) Parents of Prodigals Grandparents Individuals that are believers and have prodigal family members Pastors and professional church workers if they have a prodigal in their family

16 Things To Consider As Group Leader (Pages 3 - 4) Sensitivity of Subject Matter Parents come to class blaming selves - important to stress forgiveness Dealing with a multitude of emotions and reasons why children have left the faith If you are going to lead the group, are you also dealing with a prodigal in your life? (don’t let that discourage you from leading)

17 Different Family Scenarios (Pages 4 - 9) Reasons children leave the faith Family dynamics - Highlights 1.Leaving the faith or organized traditional church 2.Toll on family, parents 3.Response by each parent 4.Vulnerability of meeting in a group 5.Fear of judgement 6.Family life, different styles of family Forgiveness is KEY

18 Getting Started | Don’t Be Discouraged (Page 9) After a thorough review of pages 4 -9 you may want to quit and not even start a group Questions to Ask Yourself: 1.What happens if parents just keep this sorrow to themselves? What will happen to them? 2. Could they benefit by sharing? 3. What would happen if we all started talking about it?

19 Start Out Slow (Page 10) Broach subject and gently preach about ‘the prodigal’ Start a bible study with parents of prodigals but don’t delve into a study dealing with prodigals The key is to get parents together who have “in common” their kids leaving the faith

20 Suggested Introductory And Additional Studies (Page 10) Great Authors and books on prodigals from: Kenneth Bailey Henri Nouwen Dr. Robert Hemfelt, Dr. Frank Minrth and Paul Meier M.D. James Banks Donald Miller Sarah Young Thom S. Ranier

21 Creating A Safe Environment (Page 11) Ensure confidentiality Don’t put parents on the spot Keep group small |4 -6 people may be ideal If you are a group leader that has a prodigal make sure you are at a place of peace before leading the group

22 Purpose Of Curriculum And Format (Pages 12 - 14) Design of Curriculum | Study gently addresses the issue to encourage parents to open up Stages of Curriculum | 1.Address situation 2.Understanding the prodigal 3.Class format that includes devotion, prayer, bible verses and questions 4. Deeper questions for parents to reflect on 5. A section on forgiveness ends each session

23 Purpose Of Curriculum And Format (Pages 12 - 14) 6. Theological background | devotions written by a prodigal that returned to the faith and edited by retired by active LCMS pastor 7. Getting the word out about class | suggested guidelines and sample note for church bulletin 8. Social media | FB and TW 9. Interactive website | Faith Family Reunion: a place for parents to interact online anonymously (become a member)

24 Group Confidentiality Contract (Page 15) Write up ‘Rules of Engagement’ for group Example: I will keep the testimonies and stories I hear in this group confidential. What is discussed in this group stays in this group and is not to be shared outside the group. More ideas on page 15

25 Series One | Addressing The Subject (Pages 16 - 22) Starting out with a perspective on forgiveness Story of a prodigal Bible verses Prayer Opening questions Examples of what my parents did and did not do Suggested exercise Get a list of each person’s needs to pray for that week until the next meeting

26 Week One | A Beacon Of Light (Pages 23 - 29) Opening devotion Prayer Bible Verses Group discussion | Father’s & mother’s perspective Ice Breakers Deeper Questions Ending with a perspective on forgiveness Get a list of each person’s needs to pray for that week until the next meeting

27 Faith Family Reunion Visit Our Website: *In the fall of 2014 we received a grant from the LCMS Synod and were able to use a portion of the funds to build this website What Do We Offer Parents? Weekly newsletters (sign up) that are devotionals and studies to provide encouragement to parents Resources section that includes information on good books or articles that address the subject Opportunity to become member on website in order contribute answers to questions or submit encouragement to other parents Event information on where we will be sharing our class curriculum and resources.

28 Prayer of Psalm 121 NIV | A Song Of Ascents I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber: indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

29 Thank You Faith Family Reunion If You Would Like More Information Please Contact Paula Isakson: Or Visit

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