Following Jesus, one generation after another
Following Jesus, one generation after another
Rebecca G. Davis
Rebecca G. Davis
AFA Journal associate editor

Above, Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright and Anne Graham Lotz.

October 2021“I’ve taught my girls how to study Scripture from how Mom taught me to study Scripture,” said Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright, daughter of Anne Graham Lotz and granddaughter of the late evangelist Billy Graham. It’s all about intentionally passing on a legacy of faith to the next generation.

Wright and Lotz know that this doesn’t happen passively, and that’s why they teamed up to write Jesus Followers: Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation. Set to release October 5, the book “offers practical ideas, biblical teaching, and inspiring true stories” to spur believers to run the race of faith and pass the baton of truth from one generation to the next.

Wright and Lotz recently spoke with AFA Journal about the book and gave practical advice for relaying God’s truth by word and example.

AFA Journal: Why this book, and why now?
Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright: I have had the burden [to write it] for a while just because I have three girls. When they were younger, I would talk to some parents who were kind of flippant about teaching their kids about the Lord.

They put them in a Christian school and expected them to learn it there. Or they took them to church and expected them to learn it there. But then it wouldn’t be lived out in the home. I just saw these kids coming up that didn’t have a love for the Lord, and it really broke my heart.

I’ve been given such a godly heritage [but] not everybody had that in their homes. Maybe others don’t know how to pass their faith on to the next generation. Maybe they don’t know how to live out their faith in their house. So I thought if I just wrote stories about what I saw in our house, maybe it would help some of these parents know how to implement that in their homes.

AFAJ: Why do we have to be intentional about cultivating a God-centered home in today’s culture?
Anne Graham Lotz: If we’re not intentional, it’s like a salmon swimming upstream. Our culture today is increasingly not only secular, but almost anti-Christian. They’ve attacked the foundation of our faith in so many ways.

So if we’re not intentional, then the New Testament says that we’ll be conformed to this world. We’re not to be conformed to this world, we’re to be conformed to Christ through the reading of the Word, through the application [of it], through living it out. But if we don’t intentionally do this with our children, then there’s a great likelihood that they won’t receive the baton. They won’t receive the truth. They won’t come to faith in Jesus.

And if we don’t pass it to our children, who will?

AFAJ: What are some practical things parents can do to pass on their faith?
AL: The most practical, strategic, effective, critical thing I can do as a parent is to be a follower of Jesus, to establish a personal relationship with God, through faith in Jesus, for myself. Once I’ve done that, then I have to grow in that relationship through daily reading my Bible, daily spending time in prayer, applying what I read in my life, and then living it out in obedience.

The most practical thing we can do is live out authentic faith before our children. If they see us loving Jesus, serving Jesus, obeying Jesus, telling other people about Jesus, then that makes an enormous impact.

RW: Kids can spot a phony, so it’s so important to be authentic in the home. That’s what’s been big with my girls, is that I love Jesus, and I’m excited about Him in my home. It’s important to tell your kids what Jesus is doing in your life, how He’s spoken to you through Scripture.

I tell my girls all the time about my own walk with the Lord so that they can see what that looks like. I try to make it very natural. I talk to them about what’s on their hearts. I want to be able to listen to them and then take them to Scripture or give them an example from my own life – This is what happened to me, and this is how God brought me through it.

If we’re only talking about the Lord during devotions at dinner or only after church on Sunday, then it’s not real. What’s real is when it’s every day, all the time, and it’s exciting. It’s not boring.

AFAJ: How can parents of older teens and young adults still have an impact on their children’s lives?
RW: I feel like the biggest thing is prayer. I pray all the time for my girls and all the temptations that are out there and all the different decisions they have to make. We need to be not only praying for them, but praying that we have wisdom and are in the Word, receiving counsel from the Lord so that we are able to handle the tough questions that they ask and the tough situations they face. So prayer is a big thing and so is [just giving them your time].

AFAJ: Ms. Lotz, as their grandmother, how do you have a practical impact on their lives?
AL: I’m a follower of Jesus, and that doesn’t stop. You don’t arrive. You continue following Him and growing in your faith. As a grandmother, my role is to love them, to encourage them, to be there for them. One of the joys of my life is when they’ll call me and ask for my counsel on something, and they want my wisdom on something they’re struggling with, or a relationship with a friend, or a decision they’re about to make. And I feel like I’m just there for them to lean on if they need me. But I’m still setting an example.

AFAJ: What do you want people to take away from your book?
RW: My prayer is that the examples in this book would spur them on and give them ideas of how to pass their faith on to their kids and grandkids.

AL: Our prayer would be that everybody who reads it would make sure that they have grasped the truth for themselves, they’ve established that relationship with God through faith in Jesus, they’re running their race, living out a life of obedient faith, step by step, day by day, and then intentionally passing it to their children, their grandchildren, or if they don’t have children, to their neighbor’s children, people they work with. You don’t have to just pass it down. You can [pass it] laterally. Just be intentional about relaying that truth to somebody else. 

Wisdom for intentional living
In Jesus Followers: Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation, Anne Graham Lotz explores the areas of witness, worship, work, and walk, while her daughter Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright illustrates each element with personal stories from both the Graham and Lotz families

“The stories have been written to encourage and challenge you to think through the legacy you are building and the legacy you will be leaving,” said Lotz.

Multnomah, 216 pages
Release: October 5, 2021