Since I came to Lifeway in 1997, my wife and I have been blessed with 12 wonderful grandchildren. What a joy it has been to watch them grow and learn about spiritual truths! However, every time one or more of my grandkids comes to mind, I am reminded what a different culture and climate exists today for grandparents. Furthermore, these differences probably deserve a little attention as we strategize for kids ministry that involves much more participation of grandparents than ever before. Think about these three things:
1. Many grandparents are actually raising or helping to raise their grandkids.
This should remind us that grandparents need to be included when planning for kids events and church participation. In the last few years my wife and I have experienced being very involved grandparents when it came to four of our grandchildren and their involvement in church.
One of our daughters came to live with us with her two preschoolers during a time of deployment of her military husband. Another daughter has been living with us along with her two daughters (one in high school and one in middle school) after going through a divorce. In both of these situations we found ourselves taking on new roles in their lives: grandparent taxi cab service; encouragers when it came to church attendance; disciplinarians at times when “momma” was not available and we stepped in as the primary caregivers.
Don’t forget that grandparents like us will also value education and training when it comes to children and conversion, guiding behavior, and the spiritual growth and development of kids. Make sure to gather information about local grandparents and include them when inviting folks for training.
2. Because of our mobile society, many children do not get to see their grandparents often.
This fact hopefully will help shape our vision for including willing grandparents in our ministry. Children need a balance of generational influences in their lives. Some folks in this category will be willing to teach for you. A wise kids minister keeps in mind some physical limitations on the part of grandparents but remains flexible in order to maintain the involvement of this more mature generation. Some grandparents might be willing to serve on prayer teams that become very active in praying for the kids and leaders in your ministry. Don’t sell grandparents short!
3. Grandparents have a lot of wisdom to share when it comes to their involvement in the lives of kids.
A wise kids minister will include some grandparents to be involved in advisory groups and ministry teams which can help with awareness of senior adults in your church and about the ways they and their peers can be involved in kids ministry. These grandparents can be good sources of communication in helping others in their generation find a way to connect with kids ministry: helping write cards of encouragement to teachers, and making/sewing items needed in preschool classes.
Bottom line: Don’t forget grandparents! Enable them to have the best possible influence on their own grandkids as well as other kids in your church. Pray for wisdom in making this happen!