orange conference session 1: reggie joiner
Reggie Joiner shared on the subject of “The Prodigal Generation.” He made the point that there are two approaches to ministry based on this parable. The way of the older brother and the way of the loving father. The way of the Pharisees (Luke 15:2 “…he eats with sinners…”) and the way of Jesus.
A Loving Father Approach
- They are preoccupied with whoever is missing.
- The church needs to be about the people that need to be reached and not about keeping the people in the church.
- They operate from a context of forgiveness.
- We live in a generation that wants to feel better about doing about bad stuff.
- So we respond by wanting to make them feel bad about doing bad stuff.
- The solution is to help them feel forgiven.
- They throw parties.
- Loving fathers understand that need to create a context of relationships (out of the “loving father” approach).
- Our children need to have relationships with others outside of the relationships they have with me.
- We have to build our ministries around the idea of celebration and relationships.
- You want to put characteristics that change everything in your church, then put forgiveness and joy there.
- They confront older brother thinking.
- The father understood that the cure for the older brother’s attitude was the party.
- They keep the lights on for as long as it takes.
- They keep hoping and believing for specific prodigals.
An Older Brother Approach
- They are preoccupied with themselves
- You are going to be preoccupied with something.
- They operate from a context of shame.
- “There should be consequences…”
- What makes us think that shame is the way to communicate to a hurting generation?
- They throw fits.
- They criticize loving father thinking.
- “If the Pharisees were alive today, then they would probably be bloggers.”
- They close the doors and shut off the lights.
The greatest gift you can gift you can give any teen or child is to create a group that are “loving fathers.”
Why do the loving father approach?
- Jesus made it a priority.
- Because you are a model and if you lead in this now, then the future church may actually work this way.
- Because you know someone who is a prodigal that needs the love of a father right now.