Loving the Prodigal Home
Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
- 2014 Feb 26
The job title alone can be a little intimidating. It might conjure images of a serious, somewhat gruff individual who’s more interested in numbers than people.
I’m happy to say that Focus’ CFO, Dan Mellema, is nothing like the caricature would suggest.
Dan is a warm and friendly man with a real heart for our ministry and the people we help. He’s been with Focus since 1994 and has headed up our finances since 2011. His three sons grew up on Adventures in Odyssey.
Dan’s not just a numbers guy. He’ll tell you himself, “Working with youth is one of my passions.” Dan’s been involved in his church’s junior high and high school ministries for about 25 years, something he learned from seeing his own parents serve as youth leaders.
God’s also allowed him to combine his love for basketball and youth. He’s served as both a boys and girls basketball coach for 20-plus years at a local Christian school.
In that time, Dan has seen a lot of things. “I’ve had kids from great families, and I’ve watched them go away to college and fall away from faith,” he shares.
Indeed, sometimes the best, most godly parents in the world have kids who, for some reason, choose to rebel.
Such was the case with Andrew Palau. The son of famed evangelist Luis Palau fled from his parents’ faith for the first 27 years of his life. His parents lived out their faith well, and they loved Andrew well. Andrew didn’t see a lot of hypocrisy in his church. And yet, like he recounts in today’s broadcast, “Loving the Prodigal Home,” Andrew chose a life of drinking, drugs and partying.
But, thanks to God’s mercy, Andrew eventually came home to his faith.
And that’s what Dan has seen in his many years of youth ministry, too. So many of those young men and women he once watched fall away eventually come back to Jesus.
“You thought they were lost,” Dan reflects, “and then God got a hold of them. And one of the great things, great joys, was when they came back six or seven years later and reconnect with their faith. Now they’re growing, they’re strong, they have kids.”
God has taught Dan some powerful lessons as a result of seeing these prodigals come back home. “Don’t give up on these kids when it seems like they’re moving away from their faith, because I’ve seen too many of them come back. God does love the prodigal.”
If there’s a prodigal in your life, don’t give up. I encourage you to listen to our broadcast today, and hear from Andrew, a former rebel, share what his parents did right to help lead him to Jesus. In addition to listening online, you can also enjoy our broadcast on the radio, or via our free mobile phone app.
You might also want to read my blog post “12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child.”