Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. – Psalm 71:18
One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. – Psalm 145:4
Sue and I can’t explain the joy we have found in being grandparents for the past 11 years. Grandparents have the image of being kid spoilers with full immunity from the consequences. So when Sue and I attended Legacy Coalition’s first grandparenting summit in November, some of our friends and family were amused.
But we walked away from the summit with a clearer understanding of the grand position God has placed grandparents in to influence the family and the church. Their influence is something we should embrace by encouraging and equipping grandparents to assume their God-given roles.
Here are 10 reasons why grandparents can be grand in their families and church:
1. They are second only to parents in their potential to influence children’s lives.
2. They are grand in number and spirit. There are over 70 million grandparents in the U.S. Over 30 million are Christians. 25% of kids are brought to church by grandparents.
3. They have lots of years to invest in the following generations. Today’s grandparents are the youngest, most fit, most capable grandparent generation ever.
- The average age of first-time grandparents is 47. Half are under age 60.
- They control 75% of the nation’s wealth and head 40% of all households.
4. They have lived long enough to turn knowledge into wisdom. Grandparents can and should share personal stories of God’s provision, grace and forgiveness in their lives.
5. They can have a meaningful impact in even small periods of time. Consider the opportunity of just one weekend with grandparents, when an average child’s yearly church attendance is 20 hours–that’s equivalent to three days of an average child’s media exposure.
6. Most grandparents have the luxury to focus on relational and personhood areas that parents do not. It’s a formidable force when grandparents are partnered with parents in a child’s life.
7. Grandparents are generally eager to influence and invest in grandchildren. Some see it as a second chance to make up for failures in parenting.
8. The grandparent generation generally thinks more about the end of life and has more perspective on the eternal. They can and should leverage this stage of life to help disciple younger generations.
9. Younger generations-adults and youth-WANT and NEED their encouragement and influence. We don’t have to be a blood grandparent to provide spiritual grandparenting in the church and community.
10. We risk repeating the cycle of previous generation’s mistakes if we sideline these spiritual influencers. (Judges 2:10)
To the Grandparent Generation: We need you. Don’t “retire” from the work God has given us to help mentor and disciple the next two or three generations. Look for opportunities in the church to be a spiritual grandparent to young families. We realize that not all grandparents are afforded the privilege of interacting with their grandchildren. If you are not permitted to be part of their lives, continue to pray for your children and grandchildren every day.
To Parents and Young Families in the Church: Invite grandparents and the grandparent generation to be part of your family in influencing you and your children.