10 Pastoral Words of Wisdom I’d Share with Young People

I love young people. They keep me young, and they challenge me to be relevant in all I do. As a pastor, though, here are some things I’d like to say to them if I had the opportunity: 

  1. Nothing’s private. Not any more – if it ever were. People talk. The Internet makes stuff public. Somebody’s watching in order to gossip. So, don’t live foolishly.
  2. The shame of sin lingers long. It really does. Even when you receive God’s gracious forgiveness, regret hangs around. And, the enemy resurrects our sin as often as he can so we’re trapped in grief again. So, don’t let sin rule your life.
  3. Today’s experiments can become tomorrow’s addictions. It’s easy to try something for fun—just to get a taste. The “taste” can sometimes lead to habits which become controlling. So, forget about experimenting with stuff when you know better.
  4. Employers will check out your social media posts. They’re not interested in hiring somebody whose social profile is a problem. For those of you who sense of call to ministry, churches do the same checking. So, don’t be dumb in what you post.
  5. A little money saved early can become a lot of money later on. Compounding interest makes a difference, but you need to start saving early and let the money do its work. So, start a savings account now, and invest wisely.
  6. Pornography destroys. It destroys its victims who are treated as slaves and objects. It destroys the conscience. It destroys good, godly sex. It destroys families and ministries. So, stay away from it—and get help from a Christian friend if you’re already doing it.
  7. Christianity is a lot of fun. I promise you it is. It’s not so much fun when you claim to be a believer but live otherwise, but it’s a cool life when you’re really following God and trusting Him. So, don’t believe the lies that Christianity is dull and stifling.
  8. Travel as much as you can. It’s good for you to learn about different cultures and meet new people. You’ll better understand God’s heart for the world, and He might just call you to be a missionary somewhere. So, set aside money and time to leave home occasionally.
  9. Your body won’t always be invincible. Just trust me on this one—you won’t always be able to eat all you want, exercise as little as you can, and sleep as much as want without some long-term effects. Your bad habits will eventually catch up with you. So, make good choices today: take care of yourself physically.
  10. We old people are wiser than you think. We make mistakes, but life’s taught us some things. Actually, all of us had to learn this same lesson when we were younger and didn’t trust older people, either. So, don’t just write off what we say.

What pastoral words for young people would you add?   






  • Merrick Nunn says:

    Great post. Thank you.

    I’d include this: Learn as much as you can. Recognize your age comes with limitations. Be disciplined to read a lot, and get around godly older men to learn as much as you can. Sometimes, the most humbling thing is to see others who love, serve, and care for others in ways you know very little of experientially.

    Thanks again for the post and your influence Dr. Lawless.

  • Neil Norheim says:

    I’d add the advice of my old flight examiner:
    “You don’t ever have to be anywhere.”

    Often we think that we have to be somewhere and there is not an exception. When we think like that, we sometimes travel in a risky atmosphere and take unnecessary chances just because we think the world cannot go on without our contribution at this specific moment or think that no circumstance can prevent us from being “somewhere”. Slow down and think carefully, because you are not invincible.

  • Mike Miller says:

    Read good books. Spend more time reading books than you do reading blogs and social media. Read novels, educational books, biographies, and good theology (typically not the stuff most prominently displayed at Christian bookstores). And don’t forget to read some books written by people who hold different theological and ideological positions than you do. You will become a better thinker and a more interesting and compassionate person.

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