A confession to begin: I am not normally a MasterChef watcher. But there I was at the gym, running like a lab rat on a treadmill, flicking through the options before me on the TV to take my mind off the tedium, when I landed on MasterChef.
The episode was themed around a cooking challenge with the budding MasterChefs being asked to create a dish that drew on their past experience, expressing why they love food and went into cooking in the first place.
The recipes and the contestant's skills were amazing! But the thing that really caught my attention was the interviews that were interspersed throughout the show. Time after time the contestants took us back to a particular moment, a special family recipe that inspired them to pursue cooking, motivating their love of food and its possibilities. And time after time that moment was shared with grandparents.
I guess I was expecting family meals of some kind, but the number of contestants who skipped a generation and referred back to their grandparents was surprising. These grandparents were really influential in their grandchildren's journey to becoming a MasterChef.
We often talk about the importance of the family for raising children in the Christian faith; the family as the first church is a foundational principle for thinking about effective youth and children's ministry. As we think about how to equip the whole church family to be disciples of Jesus, I think there’s a lesson or two we can take from MasterChef, and that’s not to neglect grandparents in the family mix.
I am reminded of the faith of the young Timothy, nurtured by the hands of his mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, as they shared the scriptures with him (2 Tim 1:5). The importance of grandparents in passing on the faith is also supported by some very interesting research. Apparently, and this is so much more important in these days of fractured families, grandparents are now more than ever involved in the nurture and care of their grandchildren.
There is a word here for us all:
1. Grandparents, do not underestimate your influence for good with respect to the faith of your grandchildren.
2. Parents, make sure you engage your Christian grandparents to help nurture Christian faith in your children.
3. Churches, encourage the grandparents in the congregation to become grandparents in the faith for some of your young people.
We all know that not every child has the privilege of being raised in a Christian home and for them the church can operate as a second family, providing the context for modeling and nurturing faith which they may be lacking.
As part of a church family, let’s not forget the vital role that grandparents in the faith can play, and encourage older members amongst us to see this as a vital contribution in the midst of the congregation. They’re a very helpful ingredient in growing faith in our young.