FORTVILLE — Nine-year-old Mark Adcock had finished up a rough school year and was feeling defeated when his mother dropped him off at his grandparents’ house for an extended summer visit.

Over that summer, he spent a lot of moments with his grandfather that have stayed with him through the years, from baiting a hook and fishing in the pond to singing “I’ll Fly Away” together at a community gospel sing. There were a lot of conversations that happened, and lessons passed on, that Adcock would later look back on as pivotal in his life.

Later this month, Adcock, pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship in Fortville, will lead a seminar for grandparents hoping to influence their grandchildren’s lives.

“I think there is a real need for intentional faith development that’s passed from generation to generation,” Adcock said. “I just want to encourage grandparents to realize they have an opportunity.”

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When Lodonal Pinter died, Adcock wanted to write a book about those moments shared with his grandfather. When Adcock’s first grandchild was born, he knew it was time to finish the book; he wrote “Lessons Learned on Papa’s Pond” and self-published it in 2011. Two years later, Warner Press approached him about reformatting the book, retaining the stories about his grandfather but wrapping around them some how-to tips for grandparents, including some conversation-starters.

Along the way, he learned about another author championing the cause of Christian grandparenting. Cavin Harper was running a Christian retreat center in Colorado and had launched GrandCamp, a faith-based camp for grandparents and grandchildren. Harper eventually wrote “Courageous Grandparenting: Unshakable Faith in a Broken World.”

Harper encourages grandparents to cultivate and, if need be, mend relationships with their children so they are coming alongside as allies in influencing their grandchildren. He urges grandparents to endeavor to connect and to speak words of blessing to remind their grandchildren they have value as people who bear the image of God.

“We need to be a safe place where we learn to listen and ask questions, … a safe place to ask questions where they know they’re not going to be judged,” Harper said.

Adcock invited Harper to Fortville to present Harper’s Courageous Grandparenting Seminar at New Life. Then Harper invited Adcock and his wife, Angela, to join the team of seminar leaders, so they went to Colorado for training. The Adcocks will lead the seminar April 22 at Madison Park Church of God in Anderson.

Scott Sauter went to a previous presentation of the seminar the Adcocks did at New Life about a year ago. He and his wife have 14 grandchildren between them. He said he doesn’t have all the answers, but going to the seminar has made him more open about answering questions they have and sharing his own story.

“The kids are certainly going to get all the other sides (elsewhere),” he said. “If we really believe strongly in our faith and the impact it’s had on our lives, then we’re probably being negligent if we don’t at least share what it’s meant to us. …

“The world has lots of ways to beat you down. … My Christian faith is what helped me overcome.”

Harper said, in a culture that often honors youth, not age, he wants people who attend the seminar to be reminded they have something meaningful to offer.

“I hope they leave with a better understanding of the truth that they matter,” he said. “I just want grandparents everywhere to know God still has an incredible opportunity waiting out there for them.”

If you go

Courageous Grandparenting Seminar

Who: Grandparents or older adults who want to be a positive spiritual influence to the children in their lives, such as neighbors or younger church members

When: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 22

Where: Madison Park Church of God, 6607 Providence Drive, Anderson

Cost: $25 per couple (includes lunch and a copy of Cavin Harper’s “Courageous Grandparenting”) or $20 per single (includes lunch and the book)

Register: Call Rev. Mark Adcock at New Life Christian Fellowship in Fortville, 317-485-7472

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Anne Smith is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at