Grandparents are disciples.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20
According to Matthew 28, grandparents are to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and these disciples are to love God, love others, and teach future generations to do the same. Making disciples is our mission!
A disciple is a learner whose goal is to become like Jesus. – Josh Mulvihill
Briefly defined discipleship is the term used for the process of coming to faith in Jesus Christ and growing in spiritual maturity as His follower. It’s the process by which a person who has received new life in Christ takes on the character of Jesus and commits to living in obedience to the commands of God.
Over and over in the Gospels, we see Jesus using two words to define discipleship: “Follow me.”
Our primary goal in discipleship is to replicate Jesus’ way of life, and we do that by imitating Him.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.1 Corinthians 11:1
Grandparents are disciple makers.
The question before us then is, “How do we help our grandchildren become learners whose goal is to become like Jesus?”
There are actually several strategies, or tools, we can employ in the process of discipling our grandchildren.
Become skilled at the art of asking good questions that lead to conversation. Through your use of good questions build relationship, discover what your grandchild believes, and create spiritual dialogue.
Be intentional about connecting with your grandchild – face-to-face when possible, but by whatever means available if not – with the goal of building a strong, healthy relationship.
Gather & Influence
Initiate family gathers and make the most of your time together. Family vacations, holidays, grandparent or cousin camps, and weekly dinners are all wonderful ways for gathering and influencing.
Give a Blessing
Be purposeful about imparting biblically defined blessings to your grandchildren, both written and oral. The giving of a blessing provides opportunity for grandparents to share their deep affection and desired future for a grandchild.
Leave a Legacy
- Modeling – Your life is a powerful example and an invitation to your grandchildren to imitate you as you imitate Christ. Watch yourself very carefully (Deuteronomy 4:15), every choice you make sends a message to your grandchildren about what you believe. Be worth imitating. Model Christlike characteristics.
- Storytelling -In Psalm 78, God instructs older generations to tell younger generations (grandchildren) the work of God and the nature of God. Learn to tell God-stories – stories of God’s mighty deeds recorded in the Bible, stories of God’s personal work in your life and the life of your family.
- Observing Traditions – A tradition is a planned significant habit that is handed down from one generation to another by word of mouth and by regular repetition of example, ceremony, or celebration. Traditions help us look backward to be reminded of God’s work in our family. The creator of traditions (Colossians 1:16), God gifted them to us (James 1:17).
Light the Way
Teaching and mentoring are key strategies for discipleship. Read the Bible together, talk about what you are learning, make space for the hard questions. Be diligent about teaching the big picture of the Bible, its core truths, and its doctrine.
Prayer is a wonderful gift given to us by our loving Heavenly Father. It’s a gift that blesses us (the grandparents) and our grandchildren. Prayer is also a weapon, our first line of defense in spiritual warfare. Both a gift and a weapon, prayer is an essential when it comes to reaching and discipling our grandchildren.
Grandparent, we have received a spiritual heritage that God commissions us to pass to our grandchildren. He has also provided us with many means for carrying out our task. Which of these disciple making strategies strikes a chord with you? How will you implement it in your discipling this week?
Disciple making, that’s what it’s all about!