Written by Gloria Robles, Contributing Writer for Intercessors for America
Lord, You are the God of all generations. You are calling grandparents to stand up for such a time as this. Let it be so.
In the Bible, God is often addressed as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These men represent three generations, and our God is and has always been generational.
Several renditions of 2 Timothy 3:16 describe all Scripture as God-breathed. The Word of God is profitable, we are told, and useful, and beneficial for teaching. The point here is that even all those genealogies we typically gloss over can offer us rich rewards if we just dig deeper.
Most of us have, at one time or another, skimmed past these genealogies, or even skipped them entirely. Consider how important the meaning of legacy is to our Father God, that He leaves this in His Word for our study.
What we teach our children and grandchildren about God now will impact their eternity — and also what they, in turn, then leave behind or pass on to their children. We are called to leave a spiritual impact on our families to be handed down.
Legacy Coalition is a ministry that has set out to do just that by offering resources and events to help grandparents establish a lasting legacy for their grandchildren.
Larry Fowler, founder of Legacy Coalition, was involved for years with Awana — a ministry for reaching children and youth through Gospel teaching, Bible memorization, and similar things. While serving there, Fowler noticed there were no programs to help instruct grandparents in their biblical role. Larry and his wife, Diane, are grandparents, and in 2015 the message of Deuteronomy 4:9 about teaching one’s children and grandchildren seemed to jump off the page for them. The following year Legacy Coalition was born.
I recently spoke with Brenda Peitzman, Legacy Coalition’s Director of Resource Development. She shared with me the facts, the strategies, and the various ways a grandparent can prayerfully be part of what God is doing.
Did you know there are approximately 30 million [Christian] grandparents in the U.S. alone? And yet we see that something is missing in many families. There is a generational gap between grandparents and their grandchildren. The culture is changing, and biblical views of family are being redefined: The culture is becoming more and more anti-biblical, and the younger generations are being swept into secular worldviews.
“We are to teach our children and grandchildren,” Brenda said. “In the Bible, we see this rich history of biblical truths being handed down. When a patriarch was passing away, he would hand down a staff that had the family lineage carved into it, passed down through generations. Scripture tells us they were always talking about God with their families. This is our role as parents and grandparents.” (Psalm 145:4 NLT)
Brenda issues an urgent call to grandparents: “Now is the time we must pour into our grandchildren spiritually and take every opportunity to point them to Christ. I’m noticing a lot of people in their 50s and 60s have a cultural mentality of their role as a grandparent. It’s a mindset that says: “I’ve put in my time, my kids are grown, now it’s my turn to play.”
To be sure, there’s nothing wrong with taking time for oneself, but it’s harmful when that is done at the expense of a spiritual awareness of one’s role with grandkids.
Legacy Coalition describes four types of Christian grandparents: cultural, unequipped, blocked, and biblical.
The ministry’s teachings through seminars, podcasts, blogs, and newsletters help grandparents navigate these challenges and give them an awareness of what God expects of them as intentional Christian grandparents.
Every year, Legacy Coalition hosts a Legacy Grandparenting Summit. This year, it will be held at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship (Pastor Tony Evan’s church), in Dallas, on October 19-20. It will also be simulcast across the country at over 140 churches.
Many grandparents face barriers in trying to become “intentional” in passing down their faith. Here are three:
This is very common because many grandparents do not live near their grandkids. There are ways to overcome this barrier by keeping communication open. Technology makes this easier. Send letters, talk as often as you can, and discuss spiritual things. Make and keep your plans to visit, Brenda says.
This happens when the parents of your grandchildren, or perhaps the grandchildren themselves, have abandoned faith in God. “If your adult children have walked away from their faith, we have to keep our relationship with them, or they may not hear about Jesus any other way,” Brenda said. “Before someone will hear the truth, we have to lead with grace. When Jesus spoke with sinners, He led with grace, but when He spoke with the Pharisees He led with truth. He never compromised either one. We must be full of both grace and truth. Take the time to listen to what they’re saying. When you do this, they will be more open to hear the truth.”
These typically exist when there is a break in the relationship between the grandparent and the adult children. Often this is caused by unforgiveness for a wrong done, which creates bitterness and distance. This relationship break creates a barrier against the grandparents’ becoming a vital part of their grandchildren’s lives. We have to realize the importance of leading with grace, asking for forgiveness, and letting go of the past. It is important to realize that the best way to influence our children is to let go of control when they become adults.
This is the hardest one for many. It is when grandparents are not allowed to see grandchildren or are forbidden to talk about Jesus with them. Here Brenda offers this: “Realize what you can and cannot change. There are some situations you cannot change, but you can change how you react to them. Sometimes [being] on your knees in prayer is the only thing you can do, but it’s also the best thing you can do. Focus on the needs and pray for your adult kids and grandkids.”
Intercessors, Legacy Coalition covets your prayers. The ministry wants to partner with local churches to reach and equip Christian grandparents. The goal this year is to reach 10,000 [Legacy Grandparenting Summit] attendees or more, in person or online. Pray that churches will consider becoming a host site and gathering attendees.
Legacy Coalition also requests your prayers for protection and security. There will be several guest speakers, including one who will be speaking against a forced cultural norm. “Satan wants to destroy our children,” Brenda said. “We believe he will try to block our message and even bring resistance to keep grandparents from attending, so we appreciate your prayer covering for the upcoming Summit.”
How can you become part of this move of intentional Christian grandparenting? For one thing, your intercession is needed. If you are interested in learning to be more involved with your grandchildren, you can get more information about the conference here. You can also join the mailing list and receive e-newsletters and access blogs. On the events page, you can register for Grand Monday Nights, held each week at 7pm (Central time). You will have access to each week’s replay for that entire week. These episodes feature varying guests and are rich in teaching and equipping. There is also a podcast called Legacy Grandparenting.
God is moving among Generation Z, but there is still much work to be done. Grandparents, the younger generations need your guidance and wisdom, even if they are not aware of this just yet. You have so much to offer, and you are needed. Will you take your place right now and commit to intentionally “taking back” for your family?
Father, thank you for this ministry that is aimed at strengthening family relationships. Thank you that we are never too old to make an impact and to leave behind a strong legacy built on Christ. We pray for restoration in families where the relationships have been broken. We do see You moving in the younger generations, but You are the God of all generations. We pray to see a move of God over grandparents who will fight to instill rich biblical values. We pray for the Legacy Grandparenting Summit- provide for every need to ensure its success. We seek protection for the event and its speakers. As the message spreads, may churches link arms and join the event. We sense that we are on the brink of something bigger. Let your will be done, In Jesus’ name Amen.
How are you praying for your grandchildren?
Used with permission of Intercessors for America. Article by Gloria Robles, IFA Contributor, originally published at IFApray.org on August 12, 2023.