• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant
  • James Parker
    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Ty Commons
    Youth & Families Intern
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
  • Janice Crowson
    Director, Facilities/Finance
  • Daniel Brown
    Print & Digital Media Specialist
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Ask A Pastor

It’s a Matter of the Heart

Q) Why are today’s youth so ungrateful?

A)  This issue seems to be on the top of the mind for many people these days.  Be it viral videos showing students, some of them young children, being disrespectful to teachers and other authority figures, the questioning and dishonoring of long-held cultural traditions by those same students, or the general perception that these youth are expectant of and entitled to some sort of preferential treatment, if the issues are drilled into deep enough, it seems to come down to the reality that kids today are ungrateful.  At the same time, we all know the exception that proves the rule.  Whether it is our own child(ren), kids from “my church,” or some other tribe of youth with some commonality, it is not all youth that suffer from being ungrateful.  But it is most of them, right?

People are hard. People are difficult. People are ungrateful.  One of the helpful things about a question like this is that we do not have to look too far to begin answering it.  As with any question which poses “us vs. them,” the answer to this question probably begins with a dose of Matthew 7:5 followed by a long look in the mirror.  Make no mistake—this question presupposes a superior moral high ground, usually occupied by the asker.

All of us who are members of the church are charged with the care of our youth. Parents are charged to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, as sort of a functional Proverbs 22:6.  Other members of the church are charged to assist these parents in the Christian nurture of these children.  Both of these charges assume a primary thing, that we humbly rely upon God’s grace and set before them a godly example.

The ugly and simple fact is, I am ungrateful.  I will let one stressful moment ruin the rest of my day, causing me to react in distress to those around me. I will look back on any given day and only recall the things that caused me problems.  I will sit back on a Saturday evening and consider my week and be impressed with myself that I could survive such hardships as my life offers.  This is where I linger, impressed with myself and less impressed with those around me.

Thankfully, Jesus meets us in these places.  True gospel transformation is the only hope that any of us have to be truly grateful.  You, me, the youth of today, and the generations of yesterday all have one hope, and that is that we can identify with the God of the universe as he proceeds on his mission to reconcile all things to himself through his Son.  Unfortunately, we have thrown a stick in the spokes of this tire’s mission. We actively choose ourselves over God. And God loves us anyway.

The answer to a youth who is ungrateful is humble repentance.  Interestingly enough, that is also the answer for a youth pastor who is ungrateful.  That is also the answer for the youth parent and the critical youth observer. We are all members of the same community of believers. We are a community that is being shaped and molded by the Holy Spirit operating in us individually and corporately. Sanctification is a grace-filled, transformational process that only exists when the Gospel is embraced from the heart. Parenting paradigms, political motivations, and social conventions change. Pushing back against them is only seeking behavior modification. The heart of this matter of gratefulness is a matter of the heart. All of our hearts need gospel transformation.