I have about decided that the most dangerous thing people can do in the church is be healthy. The leadership will either overuse them on committees and ministry teams, until they're no longer healthy, or we will just ignore them. Clergy have a particularly hard time knowing how to care for those who do not appear to be in trouble.
It isn't really that difficult to preach to prodigals. Pastors are well trained for this task, believe it is core to the gospel, and love nothing more than proclaiming the forgiving grace of God to the sinner. But what does the pastor have to say to all of those elder brothers who have faithfully stayed in the pews of the church their whole lives?
Face it—caring for the elder brother is a drag. He doesn't want any of our sexy recovery programs because he isn't divorced, bereaved, or addicted to anything other than playing it safe. He doesn't have a dramatic story to share because he never got around to making a mess of life before returning ...1