I am a Mama Bear, but my three girls are grown. They’ve made me Nana to ten (so far), eight biologically and two by adoption. I pray my grandchildren will trust Jesus as Savior and face life’s challenges with bold and unshakeable faith. But changes in the spiritual climate, cultural language, and technological amenities of my grandkids’ era have produced a world alien to me as a grandparent. It’s a challenge to communicate truths about what Jesus has done in my life, what Scripture means and how it applies to current life, and how Christianity’s answers are relevant to the issues my grandkids face.
But we Nana Bears don’t give up when it comes to our cubs. We will fight for them in prayer and in our words. To know how to pray and what to say will require sacrifice on our part. We might even need to learn a thing or two. But that’s part of embracing God’s call to us to disciple our grandchildren. Are you up for it? Here are three steps you can take to start building the bedrock of your grandchildren’s faith.
1. BECOME A CONFIDENT CONTENDER FOR THE FAITH.
If you want to talk with your grandkids about faith issues, you need to know what the issues are, how they present themselves in the lives of your grandchildren, and how to respond with truth. What’s that I hear? You can’t learn things anymore? Your memory isn’t what it used to be? Look. I get it. At least once a day I walk into my pantry to get something, then stand there blankly surveying my shelves because I can’t remember what it was. Short-term memory fails us more as we age, but if you are reading this post, it’s a good sign that you can still learn. While you can’t learn everything, you can learn something.
Action: Invite your grandchild to read a kids’ apologetics book with you. Some great authors who write to kids about evidence for the truth of Christianity include Elizabeth Urbanowicz, Frank Turek and Hanna Sims, J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace, JD Camorlinga, and Lee Strobel. They all have great books or interactive workbooks you can read and work through with your grandkids. Read together in person, on the phone, or by long-distance video call (you may need to buy two copies!).
If you want to prepare before talking with your grandchild, read an apologetics book from our resource list such as Mama Bear Apologetics or one of Natasha Crain’s books like Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side. However you do it, take one action to prepare yourself to be a confident contender who passes on the truths of the Christian faith to your grandchildren.
2. BECOME A MEMORIAL STONE STACKER.
In Joshua 4, Israel’s new leader led God’s people on dry ground across the Jordan River into the Promised Land as God miraculously pushed back flooding waters with an east wind. Once across, Joshua stacked up memorial stones in the dry riverbed. Once the waters returned, the stacked stones jutting out of the water bore witness that God loved and provided for His people. As aging brings aches and ailments, we can avoid complaining by recounting to our grandchildren examples of God’s goodness and power displayed in our lives.
Action: Tell your grandkids about a time when God intervened in your or your family’s life unmistakably. Explain what the event teaches about the nature of God. In a later conversation, ask them to retell the story so it gets embedded in their long-term memory. As you think of more memories, write them down, and share them with your grandkids. When they experience suffering, they will recall how God has shown faithfulness and love to their family in the past and be assured He will bring them through whatever crises they face.
3. BECOME A BIBLICAL TRUTH TRACKER.
I recently looked through old letters my mom had saved, each recording a piece of our family’s messy love story. The stories are monuments to human weaknesses and God’s greatness. The Bible records God’s work throughout history, often through messy stories like our own. Despite human failure, nothing could stop His loving plan of redemption. How about writing down truths you’ve learned from Scripture for your grandkids to read and learn from long after you’ve gone?
Action: Purchase a journaling Bible with wide margins for note-taking. Write notes for a year or more, then give it to a grandchild on a special occasion, such as an 18th birthday. What kinds of notes should you take? Write devotional, Bible study, and sermon insights. Write personal prayers and encouragements, addressing your grandchild by name. Write personal experiences in which scriptural truths became real to you. Write evidence supporting Scripture’s truth claims. Explain the meanings of words, phrases, sentences, and passages.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Does the action list look intimidating? No worries. Pray about one thing you can do to invest in the spiritual lives of your grandchildren. Here are a few things to consider. Becoming a confident contender for the faith requires time, study, and purchasing a book or two. Becoming a memorial stone stacker takes time to think through what you will say and when, and getting a notebook for writing down new memories as they come to mind. Becoming a biblical truth tracker takes time, purchasing a journaling Bible your grandchild would like, and taking notes during your devotionals and Bible studies, as well as during sermons.
Is the sacrifice worth it?
The time, money, and effort invested in the spiritual lives of our grandchildren yield benefits that far outweigh any entertainment gadget we could buy them. We’re impacting their eternity.
Author’s note: (Originally posted at Mama Bear Apologetics.)