10 Pastor Habits to Stay Young at Heart

“Some 50-year-olds are young, some are old. Some 60-year-olds are young, some are old. What makes the difference?”

My father-in-law is 84 years old. “Pop,” as we call him, never misses his daily fast-paced, five-mile walk. He’s tech savvy and knows more about current events than most people half his age. He still mows his lawn in 90-degree Georgia weather and never meets a stranger.

Some 50-year-olds are young, some are old.

Some 60-year-olds are young, some are old.

You get the idea.

What makes the difference? Young is a state of mind. Pastors, here are 10 lifestyle habits to help you remain young at heart.

1. Keep up with current culture.

Culture changes at a rapid pace. Having and interest and a basic awareness of pop culture—including things like entertainment, social media, politics, fashion, the arts, news and technology—is important. Don’t be too quick to label this as trivial and shallow. It’s not. There are more important things, such as faith and family, but our current culture is what people think about and interact with on a daily basis.

2. Connect with young adults.

This is one of my favorites. I’m a dad of two 20-somethings, and I learn so much by listening, talking and a few minutes of hang time with them. I love asking young adults questions. They see the world differently than I do, and it makes for fascinating conversation. I often ask my daughter, son and new son-in-law, “What do you think?” And I take their advice!

3. Keep up with the latest technology.

This is essential. You don’t have to be brilliant at this … I’m certainly not. But I intentionally learn new stuff all the time. I’ll admit that my patience runs low when any of my devices jam up, but just being aware that I’m probably the one who caused the problem is a good place to start! Here’s one simple idea: Check out a new app every week.

4. Focus on the future.

Great memories and stories of the past are important, but dreams of the future are better. For example, I deeply cherish the memories of my kids’ childhood. We tell stories and watch the DVDs often, but I’m even more excited about their future.

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Another example: I’m pumped about the books and articles I’ve written, but I get even more excited thinking about the ones I’ll write in the future. I’m grateful for all that God has allowed 12Stone Church to accomplish, but my kingdom dreams for 12Stone’s future cause me to believe the best is yet to come. What are you dreaming about?

5. Invest in your health.

Trust me on this one. Investing in your health now is one of the best investments you’ll ever make. It’s not complicated. Eat smart and exercise. Get your annual physical. Drink lots of water. Cut back on sugar and red meat. You know the drill. It’s up to you. Like your savings account, it’s hard to catch up if you wait until you are “older” to start taking care of yourself.

6. Meet new people.

This one gets a surprising amount of resistance. The objection is: “I don’t have time.” I’m not saying you need to make every person you meet your new best friend. But your life can be so enriched by meeting new people in elevators, the gym, restaurants, seminars—and the list goes on! Try it. See how much you can learn in a three- to five-minute conversation with someone you’ve never met before. It’s amazing!

7. Remain curious.

Travel, try new foods, ask questions, try a new hobby and always keep learning. My son and I go to concerts together. We enjoy a wide variety of music, and we’ve just agreed to try listening to bands and musicians we know almost nothing about! We’re just curious and it’s fun to experience something new.

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8. Stay positive.

When it comes to people, ideas and work—stay positive. It’s usually better to remain silent than complain without offering a solution. A positive attitude keeps you young at heart. Believe the best, offer hope and add value to people. Smile often. It’s really true: Whether or not the cup is half-full or half-empty is up to you.

9. Adapt to your energy.

It’s true that even though you are young at heart, your body continues to age. You can give in or keep going. I’m a night owl. For decades I’ve worked until 1 a.m. several nights a week and thought nothing of it. Now, my battery starts to run low a little earlier. That’s OK. Adapt. Adjust. Work smart. Lean into wisdom. I’m writing this post at 11 p.m. and need to shut the engines down soon. Tomorrow’s another day, and I’ll be back at it!

10. Increase your faith.

The only thing that seemed to frustrate Jesus about the disciples was when their faith was small. It’s easy to coast in your spiritual life as you mature. Stay hungry for God, pray much and seek to know him more. God renews our hearts and minds so that we may live our lives to the fullest.

Dan Reiland is the executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. This article was originally published on Reiland’s blog, Developing Church Leaders.