How to encourage the faith of your grandchildren
Jesus gave his church the commission, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’ Matthew 28”19-20
Studies continue to confirm that parents are the key people who influence whether or not our children will have faith. This means that one of the best places for young people to ‘catch’ faith is in the home.
Grandparents can also play a vital role in a child’s faith formation!
Recent research highlights the enormous impact of grandparents on this particular generation of young people.
Grandparents have a great opportunity to share their faith with their grandchildren. Sometimes, grandchildren can choose to follow in the ‘faith footsteps’ of their grandparents despite their parents’ choice to walk away from the faith.
Here are five roles that grandparents can play in enhancing their grandchildren’s faith formation.
1. Be present
Grandparents have the awesome gift of being available, unhurried, and giving timeless care that has no agenda other than love. Grandparents have time to listen with open ears and hearts to the wonderings of a young child who has many questions.
2. Love unconditionally
Unconditional love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. Grandparents are so good at showing the love of Jesus to their grandchildren.
3. Connect the generations
Tell stories, give your grandchildren ‘roots and wings’; that is a sense of identity (who and who’s they are). Consciously pass on significant family rituals and traditions.
4. Support the big kids
Your son or daughter and their partner need support too! Fill in the spots that parents don’t have time or resources for. Give advice when it is asked for and the gift of silence when it’s not! Affirm and support the authority of parents (and be careful not to undermine it.)
5. Strong spiritual guidance
‘And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.’ Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
Grandparents can be amazing prayer warriors, continue to bring everything to God in prayer. Model faithfulness in worship and church participation; share your personal faith experiences. Help grandchildren to experience and understand the traditions of the church, e.g. the spiritual reasons for Christmas and Easter. Help them to understand the importance of ‘acts of service’.
Grandparents have such an important role to play in our church. They bring such rich wisdom and knowledge to our generations.
For practical ideas on how you can reach out to your grandchildren download our How To fact sheet – click here.
‘Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders and they will explain to you.’ Deuteronomy 32:17