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Larry Fowler & Tim Kimmel: Get Serious about Grandparenting

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
September 21, 2022 12:00 am

Larry Fowler & Tim Kimmel: Get Serious about Grandparenting

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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September 21, 2022 12:00 am

Your potential impact on your grandkids can be monumental. Authors Larry Fowler & Tim Kimmel challenge you to grandparent with God's heart for them.

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Order Larry's book: Overcoming Grandparenting Barriers 

Grace Based Families: Find out more ways you can educate yourself as a grandparent.

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Never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate. The grandkids are permanent. Here's how long they're going to live. They're going to live forever. And because they're actually eternal people, I think we need to grandparent them with that in mind.

In fact, I think we do so much better in life if we always keep an eternal backdrop. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Dave Wilson.

And I'm Ann Wilson. And you can find us at or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. If you would list in order the people that have the greatest impact on children. Number one would obviously be parents.

What's number two? I already know this because you can't just always know its grandparents, which surprised me the first time I heard it. I'm shocked at it because I thought it would be culture. I thought it would be friends, movie stars, athletes and its grandparents. Yeah, I mean, it is most definitely grandparents. And yet I know for us, the least amount of training is offered to grandparents about how to have a godly Christian impact on our grandkids. I'm embarrassed to say this, pastor of a church for 30 years that became a very large church, no grandparent ministry in 30 years.

That's embarrassing to say out loud, but I've found that a lot of churches are that way. And that's going to change today because we've got Dr. Tim Kimmel and Larry Fowler in the studio, and we're going to talk about intentionally training grandparents to have the impact that we're called to have on our grandkids. So welcome to Family Life Today. Thank you.

You guys are laughing already. What's that about? Well, it's already changing, Dave.

Is it? Yeah, when we started our ministry. Because of you guys.

That's why. Tell us about your ministry. No, because God's doing the work.

He's doing the work in the heart of a lot of people, and we're just one of those. But there was not a single church in America that was doing a grandparenting ministry, Dave, so you don't need to feel bad. When we started our ministry, not one that we could find. Maybe there was, but we didn't know who were. I think there wasn't any. Well, you know, it's interesting.

When I, when Darcen decided to write this book on grandparenting, I'd written several books up to that point, and so never had any trouble getting my publisher excited about my next thing I want to write about. When I went to them, they didn't want to do it, they said. And their argument was there's nothing out there on that. And I'm thinking. Exactly. That's why we need it. Yeah, exactly. We get to be first. And I said, do you understand that in the next few years, millions of people are going to be coming grandparents?

The average age of a first-time grandparent is 47 years old. Is he really? Yeah. But they didn't want to do it. So we did our video study first. We said, well, forget it, we'll just do this. And then churches started devouring this, and then a publisher came to us and said, hey, we saw this, this is really good stuff. And I reminded them that five years earlier, I'd approached them about doing this book, but we ended up- And you said no, but now- Well, let me underscore how rare Tim's vision was. He was a real visionary for this, because there are 30 million Christian grandparents in the United States.

When we started our ministry, we were looking for, where are the resources that were out there? 2000 what? 2016.

All right. And Tim and Darcy's book, Extreme Grandparenting, was the only book that had been written that unpacks the role of a grandparent, the only book that had been written between the year 2000 and 2016. So 16-year period, 30 million people, and only one book published by a publisher on the topic. Wow. And now what's happening? Well, publishers are catching on. Yeah. And ministries are catching on.

Yeah. Well, Larry, tell us about your ministry. Legacy Coalition, we see that there are many, many Christian grandparents that are just missing opportunities to impact their grandchildren because they don't have a vision. And so we exist to equip them and give them a vision for their potential.

You started by talking about grandparents are second. We want them to really see their potential for spiritual impact, not only to see their potential, but also to see their biblical responsibility for a spiritual impact and then to do everything we can to equip them. And we do that through physical resources, things they can hold in their hands, but we also do it through webinars and a conference called the Legacy Grandparenting Summit.

Go to and you'll see all the information there. You know, as you think about not just that conference, but what you do as a ministry, you're trying to help grandparents like us go from, I'm going to pray for my grandkids, to intentionally, you call it intentional Christian grandparenting, intentionally impacting them for the kingdom. We don't realize not only the impact we have on our grandkids when we're intentional, but the impact we have on them when we're not intentional. When we wrote this book, Extreme Grandparenting, what we were surprised at is when we started getting emails from moms and dads, young couples, and said, I got this book and I read it and I sent it to my parents.

I don't get it. They live in the same town with us. They just live a few miles away, but they just don't have hardly any involvement in our kids' lives. And the only time they want to come by is when it's convenient to them, and we don't understand why they don't want to be involved. Well, some of that, and we addressed this in the book, is a really messed up idea of retirement. And some people think, you know, I paid my dues and I've done all that and it's not my turn anymore and it's my turn to just relax and enjoy life. Retirement is not some kind of a personal pig-out time in our life.

It just means you don't go to the place where you were making a living, but you still have a life to live and a difference to make. And so just trying to equip them to say there's a deliberateness to it, and when you face the difficulties that many grandparents face in this relationship with their kids and their grandkids, there's help for that. There's ways that you can get through this thing, through the power of God's grace, and make that impact.

Because if my grandkids think that as far as I'm concerned, they're barely a footnote, I've helped frame a very false impression about the God who made them. Well, Tim, you and Darcy started Grace-Based Families. You guys are busy. You're writing books, you're traveling around the country, you're speaking, and yet I think some grandparents are like, yeah, I am super busy, but you guys are making it a priority.

How do you do that? Well, it's like anything that you take on in life that you realize, this is the big reason why I'm here, is that you make the other B priorities bow to the A priorities. I've talked with you guys before on air about this one principle that has so come to my rescue, and I have to make hard choices. Never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate. The grandkids are permanent. Here's how long they're going to live. They're going to live forever. They have an expiration date on their human life, but not on their life. And because they're actually eternal people, I think we need to grandparent them with that in mind. In fact, I think we do so much better in life if we always keep an eternal backdrop, screensaver behind what we're doing.

And I think it gives us much more of a chance, I think, to bring God's heart to the middle. I think the thing I love about you, Tim, is every time I talk to you about your grandkids, you end up somewhere along the line crying. Because you're so passionate about this, and you love them so much. I didn't grow up in the church. I had great parents, but I came from a family that never kissed, never hugged, never said affirming words. I knew they loved me, but all of that was absent. But when I walked in the door to see my grandmother, I was named after her.

I get teary thinking of it, because this happened throughout my entire childhood. I'd walk in the door. She'd grab me by the shoulders.

I'm the youngest of four, so you kind of feel forgotten anyway. She'd grab me by the shoulders, and she'd look me in the eye. She'd kiss me on the lips. She said, Oh, honey, it's so good to see you. And she would hug me, hold me, and then she would ask me this question, Hun, how are you doing? I felt like I was the most important person in the world. And it's not that I didn't have good parents. They were just busy.

They're trying to do their thing. But just that, just that. And then you put in Jesus with that. It's a deal changer. It's a life changer. There's a verse in the Bible I want to change.

That probably sounds terrible. So this is 3 John 4, according to Larry. I know this verse. I want to hear how you're going to spin it. This is a verse that says, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

So here's how I want to change it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my grandchildren walk in truth. Because that's another generation out. In fact, there's nothing in this world that I want more than my grandkids to be in heaven with me.

Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. And I'm sure that those that are listening are grandparents would agree with that. And so why wouldn't that drive us and give us such a sense of purpose in this stage of life? And that sense of purpose can carry us to our deathbed, really.

It can be the last significant purpose. I might speak for some to think when a grandparent hears that, well, that's something our kids are going to do for our grandkids, not us. You know what I'm saying? It's like they're involved in their lives. We're just a little part. But even the conversation with you guys has reminded me of the vision. I mean, when you guys talk about vision, I'm over here like getting inspired, which every grandparent needs to be inspired because we can, all of us can fall into, I've paid my price.

I worked hard. These are the years I sort of coast and I'll be loving to my grandkids, but I'm not on mission anymore. Well, guess what? You are on mission. It is your grandchildren who are going to walk in the truth, not just your kids.

Your kids may not even be walking in the truth. But you said earlier, this is Mulligan time. I get a chance to correct what I may have done wrong.

Like any time I hit a ball in the lake, using the next ball is better because I don't do what I did. And you get a chance now to say, I need a vision. You guys are creating a vision for grandparents that is so needed. All of our families are messy.

Let's just get that right out there. We all have messiness in our families. There are no perfect families. There's also many families that are not intact families.

And by intact, I mean ones that have a mom and a dad and a grandpa and grandma on one side and a grandpa and grandma on the other side. But it's still helpful for all of us to understand what the biblical ideal is. You know, my background is Christian education, and I've known for many years that an ideal situation in a church, if you're going to disciple kids in a church context, you need a ratio of at least one to six. In other words, one leader for six kids.

If you have more than that, then it's a real struggle. You know what God's ratio is? It's not one to six.

It's six to one. Teach your children and your children's children. Think about a family where that actually happened.

You know what that would mean? It would mean that mom and dad and grandpa and grandma on this side and grandpa and grandma on the other side are all devoted to doing everything they can to influence that child for Christ all a childhood long. And to me, that's just this powerful, powerful vision of what God has for our family.

And so often when we think of God's vision for family, we just think of parents and the kids. But grandparents are very, very much a part of it, too. Yeah, it could even be blended.

Yeah, it could be blended. Or you could be a single grandma and grandpa out there. It still has a huge amount of influence in their life. You know, the story we tell in the book about, you know, sometimes the parents just they get beside themselves with a kid.

They just don't know what in the world to do. And this one couple, they had a daughter that had just gotten gender confused and frustrated and was started acting out. And so she started representing herself as a different gender and change her looks. And she got tougher and the parents just didn't know what and they were scared and they really didn't know what to do. It was the grandfather who loved that girl and he decided he's going to just be in her life. Well, he had these couple of guys that were they always had breakfast together, the diner in this town.

And these guys are other Christian guys. And he said, look, my granddaughter's having this problem and I got to spend some time with her. I wouldn't mind you guys joining us because we always have we have a lot of fun. We talk and all that stuff. But if you have a problem with her and you're going to voice it, you're going to put her down and you're going to react, then I'm going to just have breakfast there and I'm done with you guys. And they still bring her on. And when she came in and she's tough and she just foul mouth and she's just trying just to push in every button on them to try and get him to take the bait to justify to her that nobody gets me. But that grandfather just stayed right on point with her.

And she got through that very confusing time in her life. I love that he brought his buddies into it. You know, it's so sweet. And keep in mind, this guy like my age and he came from a generation that would usually handle that differently and frankly, poorly.

Yeah. But God gives us a chance to. That reveals obviously, again, the power in the role of a grandparent. And the power of the gospel, too. And the power of grace. And one of the things that we talk about a lot in our ministry is the importance of balancing grace and truth. We base that on what is said about Jesus, that he was full of grace and truth and we need to be Jesus to our families. You know what I think our generation has gotten wrong?

We don't balance that very well. We hold truth really high, so that's why we get so frustrated with many of the political issues. And critical and Dave calls them condescending. Dave calls them sermonators. Yeah. And we want them to know the truth, but we don't place the same value on grace.

That's why Tim's ministry is so important. And it's important for grandparents to hear. In fact, I think we need to coin a new word. Can we coin a new word?

Let's do it. What is it? Grace parents instead of grandparents. Oh, that's nice. Maybe when you're a parent, you really train your kids to know the word and you want them to do that. But the role of a grandparent needs to be one in which we lead with grace first. And your story's a perfect, perfect illustration of that. That's what I was saying when you mentioned grace parents. I thought if we lead with grace, you can bring truth. Yeah. If you only lead with truth, they usually aren't around for the grace part.

Well, I think if you're led by truth, then you can lead with grace. Right. Oh, that's good.

But a lot of people think, you know, they always go together. No. I can be a very truthful person and I'm very ungracious. Right. I do not think you can be a gracious person and not be truthful.

Yeah. I had a grandma come to me at a seminar and she said, my son has declared himself to be an atheist. And she says, I've been praying about it and talking about it with the ladies in my Bible study group. And they're saying, just keep giving him the gospel. Keep giving him the gospel because there's power in the gospel. And we all know they're right, right?

There is power in the gospel. But she's pushing truth on him. And so I said, how's it working? She said, not so well.

Not well at all. He's just closing me off, shutting me off more and more. And I said, so you've been trying to lead with truth. How about, and how long have you been doing that?

She says, it's been going on about 10 years. Wow. So I said, so why don't you think about leading with grace for the next 10 years and see what God might do?

Yeah. And it blew her away because that is a completely different approach than what our generation normally takes. Grandparents need to be ones who lead with grace.

I know that, and I've never thought about this till this very moment. You know, as a little boy, I don't even know how I navigated two alcoholic parents. Your best friend, your brother died. Yeah, my little brother dies. Mom and dad go through a divorce.

Well, my brother died right after the divorce. So we moved from my hometown of New Jersey, where I was born, to Ohio. Why? I didn't know then.

Only one reason. It's where my grandparents were. It's the only grandparents I know. I never knew my dad's grandparents, but my mom's parents were in Ohio.

We moved there because she's now a single mom in the early 60s, which was pretty rare then. And all I can remember, when Ann was sharing about her grandma, I thought I had Hallie Krause in my life. And I was in chaos. And I felt unloved. And I knew every time I walked in her kitchen, she bear-hugged me.

I know she knew. I'm his lighthouse. I am the foundation of his life because he doesn't have it. And I never understood it until this moment. It's like, thank God for Hallie Krause being in my life. And now we get to be that for our grandkids, who fortunately have great parents.

And the legacy has been not perfect, but changed. But we can be that. We can be not only a lighthouse, we can be Jesus to those kids for the legacy that's getting back to the world. And so a really important message for all the grandparents that have some sort of barrier to the grandparenting is to listen to what you just said and understand that intentional, unconditional love is the most important thing that they can possibly do. I had another grandma come up to me at a seminar and said, �My son is an atheist. I can talk to my daughter about God or I can see her, but I can never do both because the minute that I mention God to my granddaughter, I'll never be allowed to see her again.� And this grandma was feeling like, �What can I do? What's possible?� And she can pray for them, and she can love that granddaughter.

And she needed to honor what the Father said and not say anything about God, but that doesn't keep her from doing the other things. And those can be incredibly, incredibly powerful, but maybe we won't see it in our lifetime. Yeah. You know, when I think about the first- and second-century church, that's when the church grew the fastest. And what's interesting, of course, when you don't have any church, anything is a pretty fast move. But they grew fast, and it never grew as proportionally faster than it did the first two centuries.

Now think about it, though. They didn't even have a Bible then. Yeah. They didn't have a seminary. There were no churches coming out of the ground. What they had was a transformed life.

Yes. That God had done something amazing for them that changed everything. And when they realized that Jesus hung on that cross to take all their junk and their shame and their mess and everything, and he paid it all, and he loves them, and he's received, and he roasted the dead to validate it. So next thing you know, there was a different view on slaves. There was slavery, a different view on women, a different view on medicine, on the poor, on the sick. You name it, suddenly. And people are just saying, this is running counter to everything we know. Like during the big plagues, everybody would flee town. The Christians would move in the middle.

Why? They were just driven by this passion and kindness towards people. Well, when people whine and complain about how bad things are today, wouldn't it be nice if grandkids know, oh, it doesn't matter, I'm fine because, you know, I have a grandma who always gives me that bear hugger. I have this granddad who just won't give up on me. Yeah, and that gospel spread through Oikos.

Remember Oikos? Households. Right.

It's through the family. That's the same way it's going to spread today. And it wasn't that they were giving them the gospel every time they saw them or recording scripture or anything like that. They were just caring and loving them.

And no one was shocked at how messed up everybody was because everybody was messed up to start with. Yes. Anyway, we have a chance to do something amazing. Our passion is to mobilize 30 million Christian grandparents. Let me just give a couple numbers. That's not a big enough vision, Larry.

Come on. Tim already said the average person in America becomes a grandparent at age 47. Right now, the average grandparent has four grandchildren, but when their kids are done having kids, they'll have an average of six. So six grandkids is average. If you take 30 million Christian grandparents, and we know there's some overlap, and then flip the numbers around, there are probably 100 million of the youngest Americans that have a Christian grandparent. A hundred million. Now, if those Christian grandparents are sitting on their hands and they're retiring and thinking, oh, my job is just to play with them or help support them or maybe just enjoy life, the retirement narcissism, we won't get very far.

But that is a huge army that could turn this country around. There could be a revival that could come to this country if just those 100 million kids just had their Christian grandparents step into their role and be as intentional as they could possibly be. Larry, will you just pray? Pray for us as grandparents.

Yeah. You're listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Larry Fowler and Tim Kimmel on Family Life Today. You'll have no doubt that Larry is the real deal when you hear his prayer in just a second. But first, be sure to find out more about the Legacy Grandparenting Summit that's coming up October 21st and 22nd in Jacksonville, Florida. You can go to to learn more.

And if Jacksonville is too far for you, you can find one of the more than 100 locations they'll be live streaming the event. Again, go to for all the details. And while you're there, you can also get Larry Fowler's e-book called Overcoming Grandparent Barriers. Now, today's conversation about godly grandparenting is all about legacy.

What kind of legacy are you leaving? At Family Life, we're passionate about helping families leave a godly legacy through the power of the gospel. So when you partner financially with Family Life, you're helping not just families today, but families generations from now.

If that's exciting to you, I want to ask you to partner financially with us. And as our thanks when you give today, we'll send you a copy of Michael and Melissa Kruger's book, Five Things to Pray for Your Spouse. You can get your copy when you give at or by calling 800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F as in Family, L as in Life, and then the word Today. All right, now, here's Larry Fowler with a touching prayer for grandparents. Oh, Heavenly Father, thank you that you're not done with me. Thank you that as I get toward the later decades of life, that I can still be filled with purpose. And, Father, a purpose that involves those that I love the most, my children and my grandchildren and those generations that will follow them. Thank you that you're not done with all the grandparents that are listening and the Christian grandparents in America and the countries beyond. Father, we pray that you will give us a new sense of purpose, that you'll help us to be intentional, help us to see our potential for impact. And, Father, may you use us to accomplish great things in our families and in this country. And we pray this in Jesus' name. Amen. You know, it's easy to sprint to God at 100 miles an hour when we're in pain or when things are going wrong. But other times, we might just straight up not feel like praying or even reading. Let's be honest.

So what can it look like to have full dependence on God all the time? Well, David and Wilson are going to talk about that tomorrow with Jeff Norris. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-13 01:26:19 / 2023-01-13 01:37:23 / 11

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