When a child walks away from Christ, lecturing them or responding in fear are two ways to push them further. Listen as author Carol Barnier shares her own prodigal journey and gives us some practical guidance for engaging those who have left the church.

For Carol, the journey to faith was a bumpy one.

“I was raised in a Christian home… I had this amazing upbringing. I began visiting every kind of faith you could possibly imagine – but my method of evaluating them had changed. One by one I ruled them out and walked in the door of my philosophy department. It was like gymnastics for the mind. When I’d visited the different faiths and grown weary of philosophers, I became an atheist. I was an atheist for thirteen long years.”

Carol’s father calmly addressed her questions and concerns, but her mother became alarmed and upset. After years of stress and arguments with her mother, Carol’s life took a turn back to God once she herself had children.

“For me, [my firstborn son] had his first surgery. That very first moment when I walked into the NICU, I got a very precious private message from God. I have never felt so helpless. I believe God gave me that opportunity [to see my need for Him].”

Carol offers principles from her book, :

• Be slow to speak. Let the person you’re engaging tell their story and ask questions without cutting them off.

• Ask questions to let them think and process their own worldview.

• Stay engaged with them. Laugh, watch movies – in Carol’s words, “Don’t make everything about their faith decision.”

• Stay in prayer for them – God can use our prayers in unexpected ways to bring them home.

Key Scriptures: John 14:18; Ephesians 6:4; James 1:19-20

Featured Songs: Jesus Loves Me by Chris Tomlin; Take Another Step by Steven Curtis Chapman; Finish What He Started by Steven Curtis Chapman

Highlight : How Carol found answers

Engaging today’s prodigals