Extended Family Makeover (Ch. 4) — Passing the Faith: How Old is Too Old?

Passing on the faith includes, invites—perhaps even requires— the “old”. Too often we consider “old” to mean “out-of-touch” but it should bring to mind being more experienced, mature and, hopefully, wiser.

This week chapter 4 explored the theme of how extended family can be involved in encouraging and teaching our children about God and helping them develop a relationship with God. Here are a few fast takeaways to consider:

  • Do you value the older generation? (If not, you will likely not invite them into helping your child grow.)
  • Extended family is not just grandparents, but also could be an aunt, an uncle, cousin, etc.
  • No Christ-followers in your extended family? Invite a more mature/“older” person from your church family.
  • Do NOT underestimate the power of having extended family who will commit to PRAY for your child.
  • Grandparents, don’t cut yourself out automatically but initiate connection with a grandchild.
  • Parents, don’t ignore the grandparents… invite them to invest and pray for your child’s faith.
  • Distance is not an excuse. Facebook or Skype can be great ways to give small, regular spiritual teaching & encouragement.
  • Pass on multi-generational stories of how other family members followed Jesus.

In faithful families, it is NOT that the Christian faith has been thoroughly integrated into their lives. It is that their lives have been so thoroughly integrated into the Christian faith.[1] When we invite extended family or older Christians to personally invest and connect with our children, the truth of how Jesus is the core of life comes out.[2] A bigger (& life-long) picture of faithful following of Christ becomes clearer with expressions in different personalities, ages, etc. It sounds like a great summary of Deuteronomy 6.

Make some connections…let Jesus work through your extended family (or you) to impact future generations with faith in Christ.

We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.

…so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.

–Psalm 78:4-6

THIS WEEK’S DISCUSSION: (Join the conversation below in the “Comments” link.)

How have you encouraged extended family to be part of nurturing your family or children’s faith?

For Next Week: Try one of the activities or the group questions from Chapter 4. If you are not reading the book, come back next week for some ideas.

[1] Eugene Peterson, The Pastor, p. 193.

[2] John 10:10, John 14:6

2 Responses

  1. Angie
    I know that my parents and my in-laws, as well as my grandparents are all investing in Katelynn's faith building. We have invited our extended family to share in our worship service, and we have attended theirs. We also have Katelynn share with her grandparents all that she is learning in Sunday School or at home with her grandparents to start a conversation with them. When she completes a faith-related art project, we encourage her to share it with them.
    • Brian
      That is really cool Angie. Connecting up natural gifts and excitement with God helps the child see that following God is a natural part of life. And I am sure grandparents love the interaction! Great idea!

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