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An Untapped Resource: How Local Churches can Equip Grandparents for Impacting the Next Generation

By God’s grace, our families and our local churches will be strengthened for generations to come as we intentionally equip and mobilize grandparents for the glory of God.

When I ask pastors about their family life ministries, most of them are excited to tell me about the various equipping opportunities their churches offer. They offer premarital counseling to engaged couples, wanting those couples to be prepared for life as husband and wife. Most churches offer classes and seminars on marriage, truly desiring to equip couples to have marriages that honor the Lord. Churches offer at least occasional training on parenting, aiming to assist parents on their mission of raising their children according to God’s Word. But, when I ask pastors how they equip and mobilize grandparents for the ministry of grandparenting, do you know what kind of response I usually get? I get the same response I would have given less than 10 years ago. “What? A plan for equipping grandparents? I never even thought of it!”

Did you know that there are about 30 million professing Christian grandparents in North America? 30 million professing Christian grandparents! That’s a huge demographic, isn’t it? No doubt you have some of these folks in your church. Would you like to guess what percentage of Christian grandparents say that they have had biblical training in the ministry of grandparenting? Less than one percent! Let that soak in for a minute. That means that 99% of professing Christian grandparents say they have never received biblical training on the mission God has given them to impact their grandchildren with the gospel of Jesus Christ. No doubt your church has grandparents among that 99%.

“Grandparents have amazing opportunities to come alongside parents in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

We thank God for faithful Sunday school teachers, children ministry workers and dedicated youth workers in our local churches. Many of them have had an amazing impact on the children and youth of our churches, and they deserve our respect and appreciation. But, as important as they and their ministries are, do you know who has the most influence on the lives of the younger generation after the parents? It’s the grandparents! Grandparents have amazing opportunities to come alongside parents in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

So, let’s put those two realities together. First, 99% of professing Christian grandparents say they have received no training from the Bible for their ministry of grandparenting. Second—next to the parents—grandparents often have the greatest influence on the lives of children and teens. That’s more influence than Sunday school teachers and youth workers have in the hour or two they work with your children each week.

“Second—next to the parents—grandparents often have the greatest influence on the lives of children and teens.”

The Bible is not silent on the subject of grandparenting. Oh, it’s true that if you do a search on your Bible app for the word “grandparent,” you won’t get many hits. But, if you peruse what God’s Word says about the older generation impacting the younger generation, you will find yourself stirred to know more. How about these passages, for example?

            “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children” (Deut. 4:9).
            “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come” (Psalm 71:18).
            “We will . . . tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done . . . so that they should set their hope in God” (Psalm 78:4, 7).
            “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).

We pastors have been given by Christ to the church not only to do ministry, but to equip believers for their ministries (Ephesians 4:11-12). But, what ministries? Let’s not limit our scope to church programs. Why not think about equipping the members of our churches for their most crucial relationships in everyday life? Similar to providing training in marriage and in parenting, why not add grandparenting to your vision of equipping the saints for the work of their ministry?

So, what might be involved in equipping and mobilizing the grandparents of your church?

  • Pray! Ask the Lord to stir up a holy hunger in the hearts of the grandparents in your local church. Pray that your church catches the vision of reaching not only the nations with the gospel, but the generations, as well
  • Study! What does God’s Word say about grandparenting? Explore Deuteronomy 4, Deuteronomy 6, Psalms 71, 78 and 145. 2 Timothy 1 and 3, Titus 2. Become familiar with God’s calling on grandparents to impact the coming generations with the story of his greatness and grace. Read one of the small (but growing) number of books on biblical grandparenting. (See the list of suggested resources at the end of this post).
  • Pursue! Might you be able to gather some potential grandparenting “champions” to pray, to cast vision and to read selected books on grandparenting? Hand these “grandparenting champions” good resources to help them grow in their understanding and to develop a passion for this ministry. Maybe start with either Grandparenting with Grace (McCall) and/or Grandparenting (Mulvihill).
  • Teach! Include applications to grandparents in your sermons when appropriate. Preach on some passages that have clear intergenerational themes. Plan a small group or class that focuses on equipping grandparents for God’s calling on their lives. Invite someone to come teach a weekend seminar at your church on the subject of biblical grandparenting.
  • Encourage! Celebrate what God is doing in the ministries of grandparents in your church. Through testimonies, videos or church publications, tell stories of grandparents who are making a difference in the lives of the next generation. Remember to include the ministry of grandparenting in your sermon illustrations and in your pastoral prayers.

Thankfully, the pool of Bible-based resources available to equip grandparents has been growing significantly over the last 5 to 10 years. Here are some suggested resources on biblical grandparenting:


Harper, Cavin T. Courageous Grandparenting: Unshakable Faith in a Broken World

Mulvihill, Josh. Grandparenting

McCall, Larry E. Grandparenting with Grace Note: Also available on YouTube are video lessons on each chapter of this book:

Fowler, Larry. Overcoming Grandparenting Barriers


Think of it, my fellow church leader. Our churches have a huge, largely untapped resource for impacting the next generation with the gospel. We have the opportunity to equip and mobilize these dear saints—Christian grandparents—for the mission God has given them. By God’s grace, our families and our local churches will be strengthened for generations to come as we intentionally equip and mobilize grandparents for the glory of God.

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