Many churches across America are struggling to reach out to young adults. While some churches have discovered innovative ways that are quite effective, others have yet to find the "secret" to impacting young people. I was contemplating this struggle the other day while I was reading Psalm 103:17-18, "But from eternity to eternity the LORD's faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His instructions (HCSV)." These verses say that when people keep God's covenant, not only are they blessed, but their grandchildren are blessed. It occurred to me that perhaps the "secret" everyone is looking to reach young people are grandparents.
When grandparents live out their faith in a deeply spiritual ways, their grandchildren are often moved by it. How many people share testimonies of a grandparent's faith that was steady as a rock during times of difficulty? How many people remember going to church as a child with their grandparents? These verses reveal that God will bless grandchildren on behalf of the godliness of the grandparents. One of the best gifts a grandparent can give their grandchildren is to live a godly life in front of them.
As I consider how this works out in real life, it occurs to me that in my own ministry to young people, we have reached a number of grandparents. Our church has been struggling to reach parents but the grandparents seem to come much easier. This is particularly interesting because our church uses a contemporary worship and preaching format that is designed to communicate primarily to young people. From a human standpoint, grandparents should not be interested in our church at all. But grandparents see the struggles their grandchildren are having and want to do something to help. Sometimes they seem more willing to make sacrifices for their grandchildren than what even parents are willing to make. That is not to say that grandparents love their grandchildren more than parents do. It is simply a realization that parents are often distracted by their own issues and struggles and may not have as much emotional energy to give to their children as grandparents do. Some grandparents have overcome their own struggles already and are in a position to help grandchildren more than the parents can. Other grandparents still have issues, but realize time is growing short in their own lives. They seem willing to give up their own desires to invest more in their grandchildren. Either way, grandchildren can be blessed by the godly living of grandparents.
If you are a Christian grandparent, pour yourself into the spiritual development of your grandchildren. Do it even if it means you have to listen to music or preaching at church that is not your favorite style. Do it even if it means volunteering for youth events when you would rather be relaxing at home. Do it even if you feel like you do not know how to relate to young people anymore. If you are a non-Christian grandparent, consider making a decision for Christ and then help your grandchildren understand why you made this decision. It will change their lives forever!