Paul Borthwick

NavPress, 2003, 190 pp. 



Paul Borthwick, former youth and missions pastor at Grace Chapel in Lexington Massachusetts, has written more than ten books about missions, leadership and discipleship.  Paul is known for being practical.  This book is chock full of practical suggestions and examples, true stories of people involved in bringing others to Christ.  The book does not include a diatribe against verbal witnessing, as the title might suggest.  It isn’t about technique or apologetics.  It’s about heart – renewing your heart for lost people and living it out.


“Our task as laymen is to live our personal communion with Christ with such intensity as to make it contagious.”  (Paul Tournier, p. 17)


“It is possible to evade a multitude of sorrows through the cultivation of an insignificant life.” (John Henry Jowett, p. 19)


“Passion never looks normal to the passionless.” (20)  “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.”  (The Apostle Paul, p. 22)


“Am I passionate to know Christ and to make that the top priority of my life?”  “Witness, evangelism, service—and all other forms of outreach—flow from a passion to know Christ.” (24)


Fight “passion-busters” – bitterness, my desire for security, materialism.  (27-8)


What do we really believe?  Our beliefs stem from our worldview – our basic understanding of reality.  Who do we believe Jesus is?  Do we believe in eternity?  Does our Christian faith relate to the world?  Does God want to use my life?  (for more on these and other worldview questions, see Six Dangerous Questions, also by Paul Borthwick)  (32-3)


“We convince ourselves that God’s mercy exists but that his judgment and holiness don’t.  This false assurance is the scariest belief of all because it leads to a false confidence that has eternal implications.” (49)


“I sort of like the terms seeker or preChristian.  But I’m realizing that these terms are overly optimistic.”  Some refer to the “unchurched.”  Jesus referred to people outside God’s kingdom as “lost.”  (51-2)


Reality is another word for Truth.  (55)


“We often get so caught up in activities related to the church that we unintentionally marginalize ourselves from the world.”  We may become ‘unneighborly neighbors.’ (55)


“God’s Word calls Christians to be witnesses who proclaim the love of God in Christ to all the senses.”  (56)  The disciple is salt whose joyful life of hope  adds flavor to the lives of those around.  (58)  “Being light means that we let people see our faith.  We don’t hide it….” (60)  “To people’s sense of touch, am I the touch of Christ to needy people around me?”  To people’s sense of smell, is there a fragrance of the love and life of Jesus Christ in my life that lingers…?”  (65)


“If I desire to be God’s witness in the modern world, I need to learn to look out one window (my own) and look into another (the 10/40) so that I can respond appropriately with prayer, evangelism, compassion, and missions.” (67)


“I think I’m more gifted in rationalization than I am in evangelization.  The challenge that we face is to overcome our fears and rebuke our excuses.” (70)


Fire Starters: 1. Reemphasize the gospel.  2. Take our eyes off ourselves (“We’re too preoccupied with our own needs and problems.  We become full of ourselves and we begin to shrivel spiritually.”) 3. Come back to the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  (See How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit and How to Walk in the Spirit published by Campus Crusade for Christ.) (75-81)


“If I want to communicate Jesus Christ, I need to start by understanding [their] view of the world and then respond to it.” (88)


“Nobody will believe you have a new life unless they see a new lifestyle.  And when they see it, they’ll be ready to listen about the new life—and not before.”  (Michael Green, p. 90)


“Maybe we need to realize that ‘instant’ evangelism is no longer possible (if it ever was).  Developing a heart for lost people means entering their lives and getting involved—even in their messes.  Again, people will believe that God loves them because we’ve loved them.” (91)


“We need to ask questions, listen, seek to understand the worldviews of others, and then respond with a relevant, understandable presentation of Jesus Christ.” (94)


Questions that help us understand another person:

  1. The meaning of life question.  What are they living for?
  2. How do you (and your worldview) deal with death?
  3. Why do suffering and evil exist in the world?
  4. How do you deal with the evil that comes from your own heart?
  5. Do you think there is absolute truth, or is everything relative?
  6. What is your responsibility to fix some of the world’s woes?  (Is your worldview self-serving or other-serving?)  (94-101)


“When we join with others who are looking outward, it fuels our zeal.” (105)


“Worship precedes witness and worship provokes witness.”  “From our worship we must go out to tell others about the God who loves us so much.” (111)


“God wants us to ask for his blessing, provided that we understand that he blesses us so that w in turn can be his blessing to the world around us.”  (Psalm 67) (117)


“The average Christian who has been a Christian two years has less than one nonChristian friend.”  (from research by The Navigators, p. 119)


“Simply put, we demonstrate our heart for the lost by our propensity to be with them.” (120)


“Church people think about how to get people into the church; kingdom people think about how to get the church into the world.  …kingdom people work to see the church change the world.” (Howard Snyder, p. 120-21)


“At the foundation of our desire to mobilize the local church for local and global outreach stands the character of God.  As followers of Christ, we supremely desire that our lives and our churches reflect God’s character to the world.  We want a heart of the lost because God has a heart for the lost!” (123)


“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  “These words reflect God’s willingness to go to great lengths to win back lost people.” (126)


“If we want to develop ‘close proximity’ to unchurched people, we need to get to know them on their own turf, not just at church outreach events.  And we need to get to know them as friends—not as targets our outreach goals.” (129)


“Realize that in the worlds we touch (neighborhood, job, school) dozens of people never even think about God, never attend church, never wrestle with subjects such as ‘God’s call’ on their lives, and never wonder about heaven and hell.”  “We need to build friendships and create an environment of trust where we can introduce people to questions they may have never considered.”  (131)


“Lifestyle and obedience are of primary importance, but words are important too.”  “Without an explanation, observers easily conclude that we’re just exceptionally nice people.” (133)


“God works through us, but he also works before us and after us.  For that reason, we can live expectant lives.” (136)


Go into each day expecting divine appointments.  (147)


Other recommended books by Paul Borthwick:

·        Six Dangerous Questions to transform your view of the world

·        Missions, God’s Heart for the World, 9 studies for individuals or groups

·        How to Be a World-Class Christian