December 2019 / January 2020 - Vol.107

Grandparents On Mission
.Grandmother reading a book to her
What Grandkids Remember
Grandparents have a God-given role in their grandchildren’s lives
by Molly Kilpatrick

I don’t remember what my grandma got me for my 6th birthday, or 7th, or 11th, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t the cool item I wanted that year. I also don’t remember much about the toys I played with at her house or what kind of car she drove.

But here’s what I DO remember:  My grandma was present at every one of my important spiritual and life milestones – sacraments, birthdays, graduations. My relationship with God was important to her because her relationship with God was important to her. In fact, one of the strongest memories of my grandmother was her faith. It was evident everywhere.

She had a book room with tons of books written by Christian leaders and martyrs. As I grew older, she would allow me to take a book home on my birthday. She seemed to know what to recommend at every stage of my life.

I remember the family Christmas celebration my grandparents hosted each year. We re-enacted the Nativity story with all my cousins playing the different roles of people in the play, reading through the Nativity story from the Gospel of Luke, singing the Christmas songs, wearing homemade costumes, each of us taking our turn to play the main characters. She put up a hand-sewn stocking for each aunt, uncle, child, and grandchild. She even had extras for guests! Guess what I don’t remember – what was in my stocking.

I remember what my grandma smelled like because she always pulled me in for a close hug, a kiss on the cheek (yes, with lipstick), and a blessing on my forehead. She combined physical touch with gentle expressions of faith that have stuck with me even after many years, including:
  • Her presence at significant spiritual milestones.
  • Her interest in my intellectual and spiritual development.
  • The way she helped expand my view of life, just a little at a time.
  • Her appreciation of the simple enjoyments of life.
  • The yearly traditions which demonstrated the reason for the season.
There is plenty more I remember about Grandma, but these snapshots of her life and personality show there is something extremely powerful about a grandmother’s faith.

For discussion:
  • How can you use your natural, God-given gifts to impact your grandchildren? (Reading, writing, creating, debating, baking, etc.)
  • What are some tangible ways in which you can show Christ to your grandchildren when you are together?
  • Can you plan a Christmas show with your grandchildren that will illustrate an element of your faith? Perhaps a play re-enacting the Christmas story?
For action:
  • Prioritize attendance at the special moments (birthdays, sacraments, plays, sports, graduations) in the life of your grandchild(ren).
  • Make a list of your talents and how you can apply them.
  • Make a list of your grandchildren and what action you will take with each one based on their unique personality.

Molly Kilpatrick is a Minnesota native now living in Lansing, Michigan with her husband. She has worked with high school and university aged youth since 2007, and currently works as a Mission Director for Kairos North America and University Christian Outreach serving college-aged youth.

Copyright © 2019 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club

About Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club

Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club is a program of the Sword of the Spirit. This program was founded in 2016 by Mike Shaughnessy as a resource to equip grandparents to share their faith with their grandchildren. Grandly teaches grandparents to “Think, Pray, and Act Strategically” in the lives of their grandkids. It recognizes that grandparents occupy a special role in the lives of their grandchildren, and if properly trained, can make an outsized impact on their spiritual lives.

As a youth minister, Mike knew the difference grandparents could make in the lives of their grandchildren. He wondered if it could happen more often. It wasn’t that they lacked the faith. What they lacked was a strategy. If grandparents learned how to think, pray, and act strategically, the way youth workers did, something marvelous would happen. It has. Strategic grandparents have become missionaries to their own grandchildren.

We equip grandparents to be “youth workers” to their own grandchildren. When we ask grandparents, “What is your biggest concern?” Most answer “our grandchildren,” not their retirement or the next vacation. Many see that their grandchildren are not getting the spiritual and moral formation they need, and feel equally unable to address that need. We currently equip grandparents to be youth workers through two venues: our website ( and our “Do It Grandly” Seminars.

Our website reaches a network of grandparents who are interested in learning how to think, pray, and act strategically. We publish bi-weekly online articles that provide encouragement, motivation, and practical tools on how to pass on their faith to grandchildren. Through our “Do It Grandly” seminars, we help grandparents to grow in their relational skills while providing insight into contemporary youth culture, giving them valuable tools for building impactful, Christ-centered relationships with their grandchildren. These seminars provide a way for Sword of the Spirit grandparents to re-enter internal (their own grandchildren) and external (their own peers) mission. By now we have hosted 7 seminars: 3 in Michigan (Lansing, Ann Arbor, Jackson) and then Minnesota, Maryland and Ireland.

For access to inspirational articles, sign up for a free membership at

Interested in hosting a seminar in your local community or learning more? Please email Pili Galvan Abouchaar at

Grandly is recruiting 10,000 youth workers, all of whom are over the age of 55!

top photo of Grandmother and Granddaughter, (c) copyright by agusyonok at
Stock Photo ID: 158033348

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