Sunday, May 17, 2015

Encourage and Equip Grandparents to Pass on a Heritage of Faith - How Do We Do This?

Image result for clip art for puzzle piecesAlong with grandparents being a potential group of people who could become involved in a children's ministry, they also are very important parts of "families" and as such, have an essential role to fill in passing on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren. Their "job" is not "finished" just because their children are grown. If they have grandchildren they still have a very important "job" to do. They are part of what Deuteronomy 6 is talking about. They are part of God's plan to pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren, so if we are serious about having an effective family ministry, we can not neglect grandparents; we need to find ways to challenge, encourage and equip them to pass on a heritage of faith.

So, how do we do this? 

Excellent question. Of course if they have the opportunity to take their grandchildren to church, this is part of what they can do, but it is only a small piece of the puzzle. I wrote about Larry Fowler's book, "The Question Nobody Asks About Our Children" and how he said if children go to church every week, they are there for just one hour out of 168 hours in a week. If your church has longer services, a children's church and/or mid-week, then they are there for more time, but not likely much more than three or four hours out of those 168 hours in a week. If like many children, they are really only at church every other week, then those one to four hours are out of 336 hours. Not a lot of time. 

Clearly, families can not rely on the church to do the job of passing on a heritage of faith. Yes, we can have a part, but as the hours show, it is actually a very small part.

Deuteronomy 6 says it is the job of parents and grandparents to hold to this faith and then pass it on to their children and their children's children. This means there absolutely is a role, an important role, for grandparents to fill when it comes to passing on a heritage of faith. Deuteronomy 6 outlines what they can do to pass on a heritage of faith - it answers the question of, "How do they do this?". 
Let these words,"be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. 10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget  the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 13 Fear the Lord  your God, serve him only."
Don't you just love it when God's Word shows us the answers to our questions?!!! I do! So, what is the answer? How do they pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren? Consider the following . . .
  1. Keep God's words, "on our hearts"! They have to know God's Words to pass them on! This means they have to spend time in God's Word - they have to be people of the Word!
  2. Impress them on their grandchildren - this means there is action involved. They can not just sit back and say they have already, "done their job". They have to be engaged!
  3. Talk about God and His Word in their day-in-day-out lives. This means they are intentional about talking with their grandchildren - at specific times and as God provides the opportunities. They, "connect" God and His Word with their lives and their grandchildren's lives!
  4. They keep reminders of God and His Word around their home - symbols to help them stop and think and remember what God has done for them.
  5. They pay attention. They keep their focus so they remember their blessings are from God!
  6. They are careful to remember who they serve and do not get distracted by the things in this world.
Let's take a closer look at these steps over the coming days and consider how we can encourage and equip the grandparents in our churches to do these things, because, for one reason, if and when we do, we will find our families - and our children's ministry - will become much stronger!

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