Do the parents and grandparents in your ministry know what it looks like to be intentional about passing on their faith to the children they love? This is an important question for us to think about, and for us to find the answers, so we are able to help them be focused and intentional when it comes to passing on their faith. One way we they this, and the most important thing they do to do so, is when they have the great privilege and joy of pointing their children/grandchildren to Jesus. But what does this look like and what do they do after the children they love believe in Jesus?
I believe it begins with equipping them to know how to equip their children and grandchildren so they are people who are able to grow in their own walk with Jesus – for themselves. Yes, there is much parents and grandparents can – and should – do to help them, but there comes a point when their children/grandchildren need to learn to grow in their own walk with Jesus; they can not just depend upon the adults in their lives who love them to give them what they need to grow. Which means, a great place for you to being helping parents and grandparents, is with helping them know how to help the children they love develop a love for God’s Word! How do parents and grandparents do this? Consider the following . . .
1. Encourage them to pray. Yes, I know I say this a lot, but seriously, there is only so much they can do for their children and grandchildren; they have limits. But, God does not! He can do so much more than they can, and as much as they love these children, God loves them even more! So, challenge them to pray. Pray they will grow in their walk with God! Pray they will grow in their love for God! Pray. Pray. Pray.
2. Encourage them to give their children/grandchildren a Bible of their own. There are Bibles which explain the start of each book in the Bible, who some of the Bible people were, where things happened, what words mean, answers questions they may wonder as they read, Bibles with space to journal or draw what they are thinking as they read God’s Word (especially nice for older grandchildren and/or artistic grandchildren) and even one new Bible for children which recaps each Bible book with some thoughts on how to live it in their lives! Help them find a Bible which "fits" their child/grandchild.
3. Recommend they give their children/grandchildren a package of those narrow strip sticky notes. Tell them to encourage the children they love to use them as they are reading to mark any passage where they do not understand what they are reading or have questions about what they are reading. Then they will be able to find those places to have them explain and help them understand what God’s Word is saying.
4. Suggest for their older children/grandchildren they might consider reading through passages of the Bible together – a specific book in Psalms or a passage such as 1 Corinthians 13 or John 17, etc. Then after they both read it, get together for cookies and cocoa, or coffee and talk about what they both read.
5. Let them know for younger children/grandchildren they could consider taking a Bible person and read together about who the Bible person was, what they did, if they chose to love and follow God, or not and what they are able to learn from their life.
These are just a few ideas for how you could help the parents/grandparents in your ministry make the choice to be intentional about passing on their faith to their children and grandchildren by helping them develop a love for reading God’s Word. This does matter! Please allow me to share with you a short account of how this is happening with my grandson, Caleb. He is five years old and a few months ago he made the choice to believe in Jesus (and yes, this grandma absolutely celebrated!)
This past weekend when he was at my house, he asked if I had a Bible he could read (he is just now learning to read). I happened to have a Bible I was planning to give to him – he was so happy when I gave it to him! Then he asked me where he could read about Caleb in the Bible. I turned to two passages and together we read about Caleb – he read all the words with five or fewer letters and I read the rest. When we got to the part where it said Caleb was a person who chose to follow God “wholeheartedly”, I said; “Caleb, this is what your Poppa and I want for you! We want you to be a boy, then a teen and then a grown man who chooses to follow God with all your heart!” He smiled at me and said; “I want to follow God with all my heart! I will follow God with all my heart!”
Yes, I celebrated again! This is one very, very happy grandma!
This is what it looks like for grandparents (and parents) to pass on their faith in an intentional way. Sometimes it is planning things – like giving a grandchild a Bible, sticky notes and making a plan to read God’s Word together. Sometimes it is giving the children you love a vision for what their lives may look like if they choose to follow God, by sharing important messages and challenges from God’s Word. And, when parents and grandparents do, they are likely to have many opportunities to celebrate as their children and grandchildren become people who love and follow God!