Go Outside: An Interview with Jared C. Wilson

by Jared C. Wilson May 2, 2023

Jared C. Wilson serves as Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Author in Residence at Midwestern Seminary as well as General Editor at For The Church. In his most recent publication titled Go Outside: And 19 Other Keys to Thriving in Your 20s (Moody Publishers), Jared and Becky Wilson share advice they’d give their younger selves. In 20 short chapter, they discuss the value of time spent with Jesus, taking care of your mind and body, how chasing your dreams is overrated, and more.

Tony Merida, Pastor at Imago Dei Church, commented on the new publication, “Go Outside is a treasure trove of wisdom for all present, future, and even former twentysomethings. It is filled with wit, written from a loving heart, and has the markers of battle-tested wisdom from years of serving this age group.”

Ronni Kurtz, Assistant Professor of Theology at Cedarville University, also said, “This book is a wonderful exercise in showing that gospel-centrality and practical advice are not at odds with one another.”

Costi Hinn, Teaching Pastor at Shepherd’s House Bible Church, said, “I can only wish that this book was written when I was in my twenties, but find great joy that countless lives will have this godly insight for one of the most foundational seasons of life.”

In a recent interview, Jared Wilson answered a few questions about his latest publication and the importance of the book of Acts.

For The Church: Why this book now?

Jared C. Wilson: If not now, when?

Just kidding.

In terms of the audience opportunity for this book, Becky and I both feel like young people are more hungry for mentorship and godly counsel than they’ve been in a long time. They are certainly more interested in it than our generation was at their age. In our day of increasing moral chaos and spiritual confusion, I think a book that carefully and clearly re-articulates the basic stuff of Christian spirituality for young adults in a practical way and really meets a need.

In terms of our timing in writing it, I would say that in now our middle-aged years we’ve spent over a decade now ministering directly to twentysomethings and speaking into their lives, and after thirty years of adulthood ourselves, feel equipped to share some of the most valuable lessons we’ve learned along the way.

FTC: What was it like writing a book with your wife?

JCW: It was fun! Though I should add that we didn’t exactly write the book together. Meaning, we didn’t collaborate on each chapter, but rather, divided up the chapter outline between ourselves. Becky came up with ten topics she wanted to address, and I came up with ten I wanted to address. We took our own time writing our chosen chapters.

The one thing Becky has enjoyed pointing out is that it took her months to write her half of the book, while it only took me a few days to write mine. You could conclude from this discrepancy that I’m a more natural writer than her, or you could conclude that she’s a more thoughtful writer than me. Take your pick.

FTC: What might readers be surprised about after reading this book?

JCW: I think most readers might be surprised at how relatable and refreshing the book is. Most things like this – stuff young people need to know – either comes across very legalistic or very dry. Both of us have good senses of humor. I write with a lot of illustrations and stories, and Becky writes with a very laid-back, unassuming, non-judgmental tone. Even when we’re giving advice or reminding our readers about things Christians must do or should do, we are constantly pointing young people back to the grace in the good news for their assurance and sense of okay-ness. In fact, there is more than one chapter on the importance of knowing God approves us fully because of Jesus, not our religious performance or spiritual production.

FTC: Which 2-3 of the 20 principles in the book do you wish you’d applied in your twenties?

JCW: Well, all of them! That’s the premise of the book: If we could go back, what are the 20 things we’d tell our younger selves. But if I had to pick just 3 of the chapters that are most important to me, I would say:

Chapter 4 – Porn is more toxic than you realize

Chapter 18 – Center on the gospel

Chapter 20 – You are not only as good as what you haven’t done

These three chapters probably best outline the plot points of my own testimony of sin and redemption in my twenties.

FTC: What’s one main point you hope readers take away from this book?

JCW: The biggest thing I hope readers take away is just how big Jesus is! How much he can be trusted. How investing in our friendship with him in our early adulthood isn’t just a way to be one of the “Christian college kids,” but the way we make sure we start out on a track of life that will fill our joy and keep us from looking back when we hit our thirties and forties and beyond with regrets and desires for a do-over.


Editor’s Note: Go Outside: And 19 Other Keys to Thriving in Your 20s is now available for purchase.