Are you wondering how to be an intentional Christian grandparent? These seven things will make it easy to be a Christian grandparent who has purpose and meaning.
You may have heard that phrase “intentional Christian grandparent” and you’re wondering what that means. Is it a good thing? Something you should aspire to? Or are you already doing it and you don’t even know it?
I felt the same way the first time I heard the phrase. I want to be the best possible grandparent, but wait, there’s more? What’s intentional? I’m missing something that might be important?
I learned from godly people who are farther along in the grandparenting journey, read some books, and did research online to understand what it means to be an intentional Christian grandparent. See how this helps you figure out your way to grandparenting intentionally.
How to be an Intentional Christian Grandparent
What does the Bible say about intentional grandparenting?
Deuteronomy 4:9 commands us to teach our children and grandchildren.
Only be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you don’t forget the things your eyes have seen and so that they don’t slip from your mind as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your grandchildren.
How’d we miss this? We thought that our responsibility was to teach our children about God, and it was up to them to teach their children. Perhaps it was that most translations use children’s children or descendants or progeny when referring to younger generations. It’s hard to get excited about influencing our unknown descendants.
Once that we realize that the Bible is talking about our own grandchildren… now you’ve got our attention.
When we look for grandparenting in the Bible, it’s everywhere — like with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The more than fifty references to these three generations of relationships teach us to value any legacy of faith that we are fortunate to walk in, and to be intentional to pay that faith forward in the generations that follow us.
Passing God’s word and stories through the generations has always been his will. We can be grandparents who are intentional to walk in his ways.
These 7 practices will help you be an intentional Christian grandparent.
1. Pray about building faith in your grandchildren.
Ask God to help you see how you can encourage faith, regardless of the situation in your family. Ask him to give you the ability to tell stories of faith. Pray for opportunities when you can talk about the Bible.
Pray something like this:
Lord Jesus, you see how much I love my grandchildren. Thank you for giving them to me. I give them back to you. I want them to love and follow you their whole lives. Will you use me to help them know you. Will you show me what to say and how to pray for them. Will you help me to stay focused on helping them grow in faith.
There! You’re on your way to be being an intentional grandparent. This is exciting!
The one who understands a matter finds success, and the one who trusts in the Lord will be happy. ~Proverbs 16:20
2. Decide once and choose often to be intentional.
Deciding and choosing seems redundant, but it’s not. Now that you’ve prayed about it, it’s time to decide in your mind, and then choose with your actions. In other words, let’s make a commitment and then remember to do it.
Like with that prayer, your initial decision doesn’t have to be complicated. Just say something like this to yourself: “I want to be an intentional grandparent who helps my grandchildren learn to love and follow Jesus.”
You might want to cement your prayer and decision by talking about it with your spouse, your kids, and your friends.
3. Learn all you can about discipling your grandchildren.
- Decide to study the passages in the Bible that talk about grandparents and grandchildren.
- Follow a grandparenting blogger to get inspiration and ideas in your inbox every week.
- Read one of the two-dozen books about how to foster faith in your grandchild. See my Grandparent Know How booklist on Amazon.
- Join the grandparenting ministry at your church. If there isn’t one, start one. It could change the eternity of your church-friends’ grandkids, and it will help you learn and grow and focus on discipling your own grandchildren.
4. Plan, and be spontaneous.
You can plan ahead by having some tools that help you have spiritual conversations. Books are the best conversation starter for us.
We like Rick Warren’s new storybook Bible for kids, God’s Big Plans for Me; and Joanna Gaines new children’s book, Who You Were Made to Be, for preschool and early elementary; and The Chronicles of Narnia for older elementary kids.
Being spontaneous is finding the teachable moments. Because there’s a lesson in what just happened; like arguing with a cousin, being reluctant to try a new game, or saying something mean.
Their parents do this all day long and it’s their role as they raise their children. It’s beautiful, though, when grandparents are in the moment and have the opportunity to gently speak life and truth into the child.
I find teachable moments when my grandson, Luke, and I pray for his football team, the Kansas City Chiefs; as I point out players who love Jesus; and in explaining how I work through my disappointment when my team loses.
5. Talk about Jesus every time you are with your grandkids.
When I’m going to be with my grandkids, I think for a minute about how I can bring Jesus into the conversation.
- Did I learn something in the Bible?
- Is there something going on in the world that I want to bring in God’s perspective?
- Is there something in our lives that needs reassurance of God’s goodness?
We recently lost a friend to COVID. The first thing my four-year-old granddaughter said was, “Well at least he can see Jesus.” We had talked about seeing Jesus when their great-grandparents passed away, and the truth had sunk in. She drew it out of her heart when a similar situation came up. That’s exactly what we’re hoping for.
6. Give them experiences that point to God.
When something cool is happening in the night time sky, we pull out a Bible and read Psalm 19 about how the heavens declare the glory of God.
7. Show them what faith looks like by living out your relationship with Jesus.
It’s not faith professed, but faith lived.
- Nobody wants a pious grandparent, but they want a grandparent who turns to Jesus for help.
- Nobody wants a righteous grandparent, but they want a compassionate grandparent who understands forgiveness and grace.
- Nobody wants a proud grandparent, but they want a humble grandparent who reads the Bible, and listens to others.
To recap, here are seven things that intentional Christian grandparents do:
- Pray about building faith in your grandchildren.
- Decide once and choose often to be an intentional grandparent.
- Learn more about being a purposeful Christian grandparent.
- Plan, and be spontaneous.
- Talk about Jesus every time you are with your grandkids.
- Give them experiences that point to God.
- Show them what a relationship with Jesus looks like through your life.