Saturday, July 2, 2016

Some Facts About Grandparents and How They Impact Your Children's Ministry

I sincerely believe all churches should focus on engaging, equipping and encouraging grandparents to pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren. There are reasons I believe this - some of them are . . . 
  • Deuteronomy 6 shows us God's plan for evangelizing children . . . verse 2 tells us why God gave His word; " So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God." God wants parents and grandparents to teach the children they love who God is and how they can love, know and walk with Him. This is God's first and best plan.
  • Parents have the primary responsibility of directing children, so they grow up to make wise choices and live godly lives. Grandparents certainly support parents in this important role, but also have the role of helping children understand what it means to receive - and give - unconditional love. Grandparents have a very special role and position as the second most influential people in the life of children. How a grandparent sees a child is often the way the child will see themselves. Deuteronomy 6 tells parents and grandparents to; "Be careful that you do not forget the Lord." In far too many cases, parents and grandparents have not passed on this heritage of faith and their children have forgotten God. When grandparents are engaged, equipped and encouraged to pass on a heritage of faith, so their grandchildren do not forget God, they are able to significantly impact the lives of their grandchildren.
  • The average child in a children's ministry is really only at church to participate in the children's ministry an average of 104 hours a year. (Assuming they participate in Sunday and Wednesday opportunities - four hours a week and do so twice a month.) While Children's Ministry can and do have the ability to impact the lives of children in powerful ways, the reach of a Children's Ministry is limited. It can not be the; "Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy talks about. The day-in-day-out living our our lives is the impact a parent has and in many cases a grandparent can have if they are engaged, equipped and encouraged to pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren.
Some interesting facts about grandparents here in the USA show the impact they have; and could have. Consider the following (from Grandparents.com and the US Census) . . . 
  • There are 80 million grandparents in the USA - yes, 80 million!
  • Grandparents represent one-third of the population with 1.7 million new grandparents added to the ranks every year.
  • Grandparents lead 37% of all U.S. households in this country — that's 50 million households nationwide. 
  • Grandparents love being grandparents - 72% think being a grandparent is the single most important and satisfying thing in their life.
  • 63% say they can do a better job caring for grandchildren than they did with their own.
  • 43% became grandparents in their fifties, 37% in their forties, with the average age of grandparents in this country at 48.
  • Grandparents like to spend time with their grandchildren - 60% live close to their grandchildren.
  • 70% see the kids at least once a week.
  • 81% have their grandchildren for part or all of their summer vacation.
  • 72% take care of their grandchildren on a regular basis.
  • 86% bake cookies for their family.
Grandparents, for the most part, are highly invested in their grandchildren and want to pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren; many just do not know how to do this. They need the support and encouragement of their church. They need to be equipped. When they are, the children in your ministry will benefit as they are encouraged to know, love and walk with Jesus.

If you do not have a Grandparenting ministry which engages, equips and encourages grandparents to pass on a heritage of faith; why not? Doing so will benefit the children in your ministry and your church as a whole in significant ways. Check out the Legacy Coalition - and their Legacy Grandparenting Summit at this link for help launching and building a Grandparenting Ministry in your church!

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