How to Be a Witness to Your Grandchildren Who Don’t Share Your Faith

Mary Oelerich-Meyer

Mary Oelerich-Meyer

Contributing Writer
Published Jun 13, 2023
How to Be a Witness to Your Grandchildren Who Don’t Share Your Faith

Never stop praying! Today may be the day your grandchild makes a decision for Christ, or their heart may be changing bit by bit. Either way, God placed this child in your family for a reason, and God is enlisting you in an effort to bring another into the kingdom. You bring Him honor and glory by trusting these children to Him in your consistent prayers and gospel actions.

There's no question that we are in the end times and that things are more and more difficult for kids these days. Just when you think one generation has had it tough, the next one faces more societal problems. Kids today have to deal with the effects of a worldwide pandemic, drugs that are much easier to access, racial and political tension, discussions in the classroom of gender and sex as young as kindergarten, exposure to transgender and homosexual ideas on television (even children's channels), brands that promote anti-Christian lifestyles, easier access to pornography, greater homelessness and violence. And that's on top of dealing with the everyday pressures that the enemy brings against our kids that cause anxiety and depression.

It's difficult enough to navigate these waters when our kids and grandkids walk with the Lord. But what can a grandparent do when their children don't share their Christian faith, and as a result, your grandchildren have no hope of the gospel?

How Did Your Kids Get Where They Are?

Whether your children are non-believers now because you didn't lead them to faith in Christ when they were younger—or they fell away, you need to know the story. In conversation with them, siblings, or other family members, you can get an idea of what they believe and why. Is there a way that you can minister to them if you uncover a hurt? Was there an experience that soured them on God and church? Was it your own hypocrisy when raising them that turned them away? Confess that sin to God and your child and ask for their forgiveness.

Next, how do they feel about you talking about God in front of their children? Are they okay with it, or are they militantly against it? This will give you a basis for how you will be able to talk to your grandchildren.

It's easy to be vocal about their faith because you know what is at stake. But ask the Holy Spirit to keep you humble and give you the words to speak. Too often, as believers, we can come across as a steamroller, and we need to leave room for how God wants to work in these people's lives.

What Are the "Universals" That You Can Always Talk About?

I have a sibling who is an atheist, and yet we still can agree on many things (even though she doesn't realize yet that all of these things have to do with God). Most people can agree on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness/loyalty, and self-control (the Fruit of the Spirit). I would also add honesty and fairness to that list. These are always topics to speak with your grandchildren about, and you can begin to weave Jesus into the conversation as the creator of all these good things.

Know the Parents' Boundaries

I know a family where the grandparents can talk about God all they want, but when it comes to Christmas and Easter, a line is drawn with the parents. They insist that Santa and the Easter Bunny are practically worshiped, perhaps because it drowns out the holiness of the holiday. But there are still ways to talk about Santa being a man named Nicholas who gave generously to the poor and sick (he loved children almost as much as Jesus) and became Saint Nicholas, who is recognized every year for his care and concern. If the parents are open to it, you can invite the family to your church's nativity story (put on by the children) and Easter egg hunt if you have one. Our church does a Christ-centered hunt that promotes the gospel and draws in non-believers.

Volunteer to Babysit and Do Outings As Much As Possible

More time spent with your grandchildren gives you greater opportunities to talk about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, especially concerning whatever problems the kids may be having. Talk about what's going on in their lives and say, "When I deal with something like that, I remember that God said/did X." Share Scriptures of hope to back it up. Kids and teens are so used to seeing "positive" messages that are self-focused, so sharing Scriptures of hope shouldn't seem weird to them. Isaiah 41:10 is my favorite!

With little ones, you can buy Christian games or Sunday school materials to have at your home and participate with them. My granddaughter loves a board game called "Noah's Animal Rescue" that emphasizes working together to reach a goal.

Teenagers have so many more things they are dealing with, and work and friends take up much of their time. But show your support by connecting with them and asking if they can hang out with you over a meal. If they make time for a free dinner, you have an opportunity to share the truth. They may not appreciate it now, but in future years they will treasure this positive, loving time they spent with you and how you were like Jesus to them.

If your children have relied on you to take care of their children for an extended period (maybe because of their work schedules), you have relieved their stress to a great extent. You've done them a great favor and have shown love to their child, so they may be much more open to you inviting your grandchild to church, Vacation Bible School, Youth Group, or another special church event.

Make Sure Your Walk Matches Your Talk

You can say all you want about the good news of Jesus Christ, but if your grandchildren don't see you living out your faith, you may as well be mute. On the other hand, if they see that you act on your faith, they will be more likely to listen to what you share with them. Teens will be more likely to absorb some of that faith for themselves, even if they don't know that's what's happening. I've heard it said, "You may be the only Jesus anyone will ever meet." If that's the case with your grandchildren, you have a very great responsibility, "for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." Matthew 10:20.

Let them see you reading the Bible and Christian books, listening to Christian music, giving to the poor, and helping the sick. Tell them why you do all of these things. This will surround your grandchildren with the gospel's truth and show them how it changes every life it touches.

Enlist Another Family in Your Church To Pray and Influence

Perhaps your teenage grandchild goes to high school with one of the kids in your youth group. Can that student invite your grandchild to an event at church? Your grandchild may be more likely to go if they know someone there. And definitely ask this family to pray for your grandchild, and see how their home can be another place of sanctuary and witness when your grandchild is hanging out.

Don't Let the Enemy Keep You From Leading Them to Christ

It's hard work to influence your children and grandchildren if there is opposition. But remember that it's not you they are rejecting. In her article, "How to Share the Gospel with Your Grandkids if the Parents are Non-Believers," Annie Yorty said, "Your non-believing children, or even your grandkids, may tease you or mock your faith. Take on the humility of Christ (Philippians 2:5) rather than taking offense. Forgive and love rather than defending and arguing. God may use your meekness to prick their conscience."

Most Importantly, Pray For and With Your Grandchildren

Never stop praying! Today may be the day your grandchild makes a decision for Christ, or their heart may be changing bit by bit. Either way, God placed this child in your family for a reason, and God is enlisting you in an effort to bring another into the kingdom. You bring Him honor and glory by trusting these children to Him in your consistent prayers and gospel actions.

Don't give up, and don't lose hope. Raising children to love the Lord may not be easy, but the eternal reward will be beyond your wildest expectations. Don't believe that anyone is beyond salvation; with God, all things are possible!

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

Mary Oelerich-Meyer is a Chicago-area freelance writer and copy editor who prayed for years for a way to write about and for the Lord. She spent 20 years writing for area healthcare organizations, interviewing doctors and clinical professionals and writing more than 1,500 articles in addition to marketing collateral materials. Important work, but not what she felt called to do. She is grateful for any opportunity to share the Lord in her writing and editing, believing that life is too short to write about anything else. Previously she served as Marketing Communications Director for a large healthcare system. She holds a B.A. in International Business and Marketing from Cornell College (the original Cornell!) When not researching or writing, she loves to spend time with her writer daughter, granddaughter, rescue doggie and husband (not always in that order).