Leading grandchildren to JesusWritten by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson and Chrys Howard
What's inside this article
Throughout all the unexpected difficulties life may present, our role as grandparents will always be strengthened by our relationship with Jesus. As grandparents, we have the unique opportunity to lead our grandchildren to Jesus.
A few years ago, we launched a lifestyle website called Rocking It Grand: Resources That Rock for Parents and Grandparents. At the time, it came from our mutual desire to help grandparents nourish the faith of their grandchildren. We simply knew we wanted to help other grandparents realize how tremendously important their roles were in God’s plan.
Through the website and our platform, we harbour more crazy dreams, including replicating grandmother gatherings all over the country. Wouldn’t that be great?! In the meantime, I feel a bond with you simply because you’re reading. I imagine one of your deepest desires is to be that grandparent who models a strong faith for their grandchildren to emulate. Am I right?
How grandparents can lead their grandchildren to Jesus
It’s a worthy goal, and one with the potential to intimidate us. We wonder how we can help lead our grandchildren to Jesus without pushing them away. We’re concerned about coming across as too demanding, which can cause us to err on the other extreme.
Out of a sincere desire not to alienate our grandchildren by pushing too hard, we can find ourselves holding back and hoping they’ll follow Christ. Hoping they’ll discover a love for God’s Word, hoping they’ll develop a prayer life.
However, we wouldn’t do this in any other area of their lives that matter, such as their education or their heath. Instead, we would be directly advocating for them. Yet nothing matters more than whether they’ll follow Christ. Let’s not leave the most crucial, eternity-determining decisions our grandchildren will ever make to chance and hope for the best.
In our role as grandparents, we don’t have to be intimidated by the responsibilities. There’s another way, a better way, and the Lord is ready to partner with us in it.
Strategies for leading your grandchildren to Jesus
As you help raise your grandchildren, you can implement these strategies to develop your grandchildren’s faith. You can be that person who lives like Jesus before your grandchildren in a way they aren’t seeing at home. While reading, consider the effects of what I call the “ABCs of leading your grandchildren to Jesus.”
Always be growing in Christ
If we’re always drawing closer to Christ in our own lives, we can trust that his life through us will be drawing those around us. Everything about our lives can point inquisitive little minds to God!
This was the case as Grant and his little brother sat at my breakfast table one morning. Even though this memory is several years old, I remember Grant’s eyes resting on a piece of kitchen décor with one of my favourite Scriptures: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
I saw the wheels turning.
“Keggie,” Grant finally said. “You have a lot of Jesus stuff on your walls.”
I nodded my head in agreement. “You want to know why, don’t you?”
Grant’s nod led to a great discussion that morning. I explained to Grant that because I love Jesus, I like to think about his words as much as possible. And I liked to talk to him all day long. I told Grant that a lot of times, I talked to Jesus even when I was speaking with other people.
“But Keggie,” my grandson protested, “Can you hear what I’m saying if you’re talking to Jesus?”
“Absolutely,” I said. “Listening to Jesus helps me hear you even better.”
Finally, that answer satisfied Grant and, frankly, I was relieved. I’m always searching for better words to describe the joy I’ve found in doing daily life with Jesus instead of just saying my prayers. If we want our grandkids to draw near to Christ, the most powerful thing we can do is draw ever near to him.
Building an atmosphere of prayer
When we’re with our grandchildren, we can make prayer a natural part of the day. Of course, we pray with them at meals and at bedtime. But what about all the moments in between? They offer us opportunities to teach our grandchildren about living with Jesus.
If something good happens we can teach them that every good gift comes from God and we can say, “Let’s thank God for this!” If something is hard or sad, we can remind our grandchildren that God will draw near to us if we draw near to him.
However, I’m not suggesting we go into a long, drawn-out prayer over every little thing. I’m suggesting we demonstrate to them the joy, peace, hope, guidance and ever-present help we find in God. It’s not hard to model a life of prayer. We just must be intentional about inviting him into the day. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Communicate your own accountability
Let’s make sure our grandchildren understand that we’re accountable to God in our role as grandparents.
That temper tantrum you threw in front of them, the one where you went beyond discipline and right on into a rant? It may not have had anything to do with your grandkids, but they saw it. After you make it right with God in private, own it before your grandchildren.
I remember years ago following my young daughter through the house, making the same point, repeatedly. Basically, I was harassing her. God called me on it. I repented, and then I apologized to Jessica.
God had reminded me that he forgives me and lets me move on after correction, and I was meant to do the same with her. I explained this to Jessica in language a grade-school child could understand.
People see when we miss the mark, and those people include our grandchildren. Don’t waste the opportunity. Use it to teach them about repentance and forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
There you go! The ABCs of leading kids to Jesus! Always be growing in Christ, build a prayer atmosphere, and communicate your own accountability. Then watch as he draws your grandchildren to himself.
Shellie Rushing Tomlinson and Chrys Howard are the co-authors of Rocking It Grand: 18 Ways to Be a Game-Changing Grandma. Shellie is the fun-loving host of the All Things Southern podcast who lives to help hungry hearts feast on Jesus through humour and storytelling. She is a popular author, humourist, speaker and country cook.
Chrys Howard has authored nine books, which include Rockstar Grandparent, and hosts a radio show called It's a Mom Thing. Chrys and her husband, John, have three grown children including Korie Robertson, a star of the popular TV show Duck Dynasty. Learn more about Chrys at ChrysHoward.com.
© 2021 Shellie Rushing Tomlinson and Chrys Howard. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Adapted from Rocking It Grand, a Focus on the Family resource published by Tyndale House Publishers.
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