Podcast episode 027: A page-turner for the Lord
Richard Borgonon is as natural a salesman as you’re ever likely to meet. But despite his engaging manner and flair for persuasion, he spent most of his life suffering the same frustration that we all experience most of the time: a sense of making no headway at all in sharing Christ with work colleagues and friends.
But one day that all changed for Richard—thanks to an unlikely dinner with John Lennox and a non-Christian friend.
In this episode we’ll find out what Richard discovered, and how the deceptively simple approach that he and others have developed has transformed the lives of Christians and non-Christians all around the world.
Links referred to:
- Information about The Word One to One at theword121.com
- Buy the booklets:
- Moore Open Week.
- Tickets for our May event: “A very short course in Christian ethics”, Saturday 25 May, 9:30am–1:00 pm at Moore College.
Runtime: 37:05 min. Subscribe via
Tony Payne: Now, the Christian life is lived backwards. It’s also lived forwards and it’s lived outwards. It’s lived backwards in that we look back in faith to the cross and resurrection of Jesus—these events that have already objectively happened. And we live forwards as Christians, because we live in hope of the promise of eternal life and the kingdom of God, because Jesus now reigns. And it’s lived outwards, of course, because the core nature of the Christian life is love: it’s that desire to seek the good of other people around us in whatever way we can—and in particular, I guess, wanting to see them come to discover the faith, hope and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Now, these all have their challenges—the forwards, the backwards and the outwards—and today we’re going to consider one of the most challenging aspects of living outwards—that is, in love, we really want to see other people come to know Jesus, but we very often feel awkward or inadequate or generally incompetent at doing anything about it.
And the man who we’re talking to on today’s podcast, even though he is pretty much as natural a salesman as you’re ever likely to hear, he also found it incredibly hard to make any real headway in sharing Christ with his work colleagues and friends—that is, until he hit on a deceptively simple approach that has proved phenomenally effective. And we’ll find out what that approach is on today’s episode of the Centre for Christian Living podcast.
TP: Hello, I’m Tony Payne and welcome to the Centre for Christian Living podcast episode 27 coming to you from Moore College in Sydney, Australia. Our goal on the podcast and in all that we do at the CCL is to bring biblical ethics to everyday issues. And in doing so, we reflect the mission of Moore College in general—which is to equip and encourage men and women to serve Jesus Christ in every aspect of their lives.
Now, if you want to find out more about how Moore College does that, and in particular, how it can equip you to serve Jesus in your local church—to speak about Jesus in the workplace, or to prepare you to take the gospel out—whether in a parish ministry or to another country, then you should really come along to the Moore College Open Week, which starts with a special event on May 13th and then has various activities running throughout that week. Come along and find out what Moore College offers, check out the facilities (including the fantastic new building at 1 King St), and discover how Moore College could help you and equip you for your Christian life and ministry. You’ll find out all the details at moore.edu.au/open/.
But let’s get to our guest for today’s episode.
Richard Borgonon: So I’m Richard Borgonon. I’m 63 years old. I live in London, and for 44 years—feel my pain—I have been a insurance executive at Lloyd’s of London.
Now, I got converted when I was 15, so I actually turned up in the city of the Lon—city of London as a Christian. So, yeah, I actually arrived in the city, and had no problem in saying right from the start, “Look, I’m a Christian. I’ve got something which I want to tell you about. So I would be the kind of guy that you’d have an intellectually interesting conversation with. I would, in the old day of cassettes, have given you a talk by Dick Lucas on a cassette, or with more recent days, I might have handed you William Taylor or whoever it was coming through on a CD, and I gave you a book. And then when I got the opportunity, I may have invited you to a—an event. But increasingly that came—became difficult. I was the guy that you had an intellectually interesting conversation with whenever you saw me.
The problem was, I didn’t have the Bible in my hand. I didn’t know how to teach the Bible. So therefore I look back and actually a lot of my conversations were about me telling you that I had a peace that surpasses all understanding. And today, of course, that’s about the same as the guy who has got that new religion “mindfulness” who says, “Well, that’s great, Richard! I’ve actually tried some transcendental meditation, I’m doing a bit of yoga, and I’ve decided to think positively. So I too now have a peace.” Which is great. And in a politically correct world, those two are apparently even, you see. So I didn’t know how to share the Bible.
TP: It sounds to me like, compared with many Christian people, and I’m sure many who are listening to this podcast, you were probably quite an active Christian witness—perhaps more than many Christians. You’re quite unafraid to say you’re a Christian, you’re quite ready to have conversations with people, and you saw that just as a normal part of being a Christian.
RB: Yeah, I mean, let me be crystal clear: I walked out having listened to many talks which absolutely convicted me I should share the gospel. Do we all agree we must take the gospel to our friends? Oh yes, absolutely! We all agree. We must take the gospel to our friends. Do you actually know how? If you’d have handed me a Bible, would I have actually known how to open the Bible? No, I didn’t know how. But I was prepared to talk about my faith.
I look back now and it wasn’t my—I didn’t have the word to be able to take with me. What I was doing was I was telling people that my experience as a Christian was that it was great! So it was all about me! Well, where’s the Lord in that, actually? And the big issue was I was definitely—because it was an intellectually interesting debate, frankly it blew off in the intellectually interesting wind. And I had to start all over again when I met that person the next time. They might have enjoyed it, because I clearly did believe what I was saying. But I didn’t have the word of God at my fingertips. I didn’t know how.
Let me sum up what I was like by the time I reached the age of 51: I was a senior Christian businessman who put money into Christian ministry. I thought people in ministry actually did ministry. I didn’t; I paid for people in ministry to take the word out. I would say that I was like an electric car turning up at church. In other words, you know a Tesla or a Prius has to get back to the charging station. So I was getting to the end of my week and I was going, “Oh, fantastic! I’ve survived another week. Please pull up the drawbridge behind me. I’ve arrived back my church. Would you please plug me into the spiritual mains, so I’ve come from a really good talk, some great teaching, I’m expecting us to have some wonderful worship, and we will pray together. But once we finish this service, I’m going to disconnect my—my electric energy cord from my spiritual charge, and I will now drain out during the week.” That was my expectation. And most Christians, I think, do expect that. They don’t expect to grow as Christians during their week.
Now that all changed for me, and it changed 12 years ago, when I lined up Europe’s most powerful insurance broker to meet my best possible weapon for apologetics: Professor John Lennox, who’s a personal friend of mine. So I asked John would he mind coming from Oxford University and meeting for dinner Europe’s most powerful insurance broker. And I thought, “Well—well done, Richard! Job done! You can sit back. You can enjoy a bread roll and—and a nice meal, and you’ll watch your friend be evangelized in front of your eyes.”
What happened was like a mismatched finals at Wimbledon: my non-Christian friend adored the intellectual challenge of firing questions at someone like Professor Lennox. But Professor Lennox aced the ball back over the net to every single question with a biblical answer, which is what you’d expect him to do. Now, my friend had no biblical background. He was biblically ignorant. But he intellectually adored the process. So he fired another question back over the net.
And after three and a half hours of a dinner like that, we had to come to an end, and the—and the non-Christian friend turned to the professor and said, “Look, John, I absolutely adore this. It’s so stimulating!” he said. “Would you please come back from Oxford and we’ll do it all again.” So the good professor came back, we did dinner number 2—another 3.5 hours of brilliant apologetics, but he’s giving biblical answers, and my friend hasn’t got a clue ’cause he has no biblical knowledge.
So I got to the end of what was now seven hours, and I’m not kidding, I pulled out my white—white handkerchief—my mother would have been very proud; it was clean—and I waved it. “Guys, I’m very sorry. I don’t want to do another one of these.” Now, of course, as a Christian, I’d been praying that these dinners were going to happen. But I wanted to stop it, because my—I just felt we were getting nowhere, and my non-Christian friend turned on me. He said, “Why?” he said. “I absolutely adore these dinners! They’re so stimulating,” he said. And I shot back, “Look, I’ve known you for years. For the first time in your life, I’ve found a subject you know nothing about. Don’t beat yourself up, but you happen to be biblically ignorant. Now, it’s not a surprise; most people are today. But I can’t see”—and you cannot be vaguer than what I said, Tony! What I said was, I said, “Look, don’t beat yourself up. I can’t see any point unless we actually get the good professor back to quote ‘open the Bible for you’ so that he shows you where he is getting”—and I said—“this ‘stuff’ from.” Well, he was so shocked at my rudeness, he agreed to a third dinner!
So back we all went. But this time, Professor Lennox turned up with a copied-out the first 18 verses of John’s Gospel. Didn’t bring a Bible; got it printed out. And he handed him a sheet of paper with the first 18 verses on. And—would you like me to tell you how that went? ’Cause it was extraordinary.
So here you go: “In the beginning was the Word.” Well, my friend said, “Well, don’t be ridiculous! You don’t seriously believe there’s a beginning? I’ve read Richard Dawkins. Richard Dawkins doesn’t believe there was a beginning.” And the good professor said, “Well, that’s what it says. It says, ‘In the beginning was the word.’” And then we moved to verse 2, and verse 2 said, “He was with God in the beginning.” And my friend said, “Hang on a minute. Are you telling me that God is not an amorphous mass?” And the good professor said, “Well, yes, because if you look at this, this is personal. It starts: ‘He was with God in the beginning.’ And he’s referring to the Word from verse 1 who—the word is God. That’s what it says in verse 1.”
And then we moved to verse 3, and it said that “All things were created through him.” Well, I think my friend did think the Bible would probably have some good stuff in it—would probably have some answers—and here was an outrageous claim. All things are made through him. And he literally mumbled something. And then we got to verse 4, where the—the light of the world is described as the Word. In other words, “He is”—if you want to live life to the full, it’s going to be through the Word. He’s the creator God. And I’m not kidding you, but my friend’s jaw metaphorically hit the dining room table. He stayed in stunned silence through the rest of the 18 verses, and there was a very obvious reason why: for the first time in his life, he’d been shown the promises of God and he understood them. And he was blown away.
And what was equally clear to me, it wasn’t the brilliance of Professor John Lennox and the apologetics that had done it; it was the word of God. It was the word of the Gospel of John. It had nailed this man absolutely.
Now, I didn’t need to see that twice. So I ran off to William Taylor, my minister, and one of the best Bible teachers in the whole of the UK from St Helen’s Bishopsgate in the heart of the city, and I said, “Look, William, I’ve just seen my industry’s leading guy silenced by the power of the Word. Would you please teach me how to share the Book of John, because I’ve never taught the Bible. You know I haven’t! I’ve been involved in all this Christian ministry, which I’m paying for. But I’ve never taught the Bible.”
So William very graciously started to teach me, and I took notes. ’Cause I described it to William that if I’m going to take the gospel to my friends, I’ve got to remember everything he’s saying, and I’ve got to see it against each verse. So William was teaching me by saying, “Look, here’s the question this void—verse raises, but here’s the answer.” And I then started to simply say to my friends, “Listen, haven’t you always thought that one day, you might pick up the book that’s sold more copies than any other in the history of printing? Wouldn’t you expect that the Bible has probably got some good stuff in it?”
Now, watch, because—or rather, do you—do you spot I didn’t mention going to church and I wasn’t talking about Christ. Because my friends aren’t thinking about going to church and they’re certainly not thinking of Christ, ’cause we’re a biblically ignorant age. All I’d said was two facts: the Bible’s sold more copies than any other book in the history of printing, and wouldn’t you expect it’s probably got some good stuff in it.
And then I said, “Look, I’m really excited because I’ve discovered that there’s one book in the Bible—it’s called John—that happens to be unique. It starts with an overview.” I’ve got to tell you, Tony, in the city, I’ve called it “an executive summary” because they understand that. Everywhere else, I call it an overview. I said, “Look, I’m really excited, because I’ve got these notes which actually help explain the overview. Can I buy you a cup of coffee? I’m really excited about this. All I’ll say to you at the end of the cup of coffee is, ‘Did you enjoy that?’ and ‘Would you like to meet again?’” And I was saying that before they were saying “Yes” or “No”.
Tony, the take-up was off the clock. Absolutely extraordinary! First man I asked said yes, and I actually had to rush back to William Taylor—said, “William! What the heck happens next? Because I don’t know what chapter 3 says. You only taught me chapters 1 and 2. I’ve only gotten notes on that.” So we were just in front of my friends by William teaching me and me then showing the notes.
Now, here we are, 12 years later, and life’s moved on quite a bit, which I’m sure you want to ask me about!
TP: So you discovered in your own personal experience that just opening up the Word with someone was not only something, with a bit of help, that you could do, but that had—it had a profound effect in conveying the gospel to people that you’d been talking with and testifying to, but had really never gotten anywhere with. What came out of that?
RB: Well, let’s be clear: I don’t drain out anymore. You see—I—I definitely was leaving the church before and draining out. Now, I come back having been able to see the Lord at work in my own circle of friends. Because we’ve discovered, actually, through the printed form of those notes called The Word One to One, which have gone completely global without us spending one penny on marketing, the Lord’s put his gospel back into a world which is biblically ignorant in a format that any Christian can share. That’s what The Word One to One is. John—Book of John, notes with the answers next to every verse.
And what’s happened is that now I’ve discovered where God is already at work in my own circle of friends. We now know globally that one person in five that you ask for a coffee will say yes—as an average. One in five. Now, four people out of five, you’ve got to be a fool for the Lord and actually offer it to them, and they may well say “No”. So you’ve got to be a fool for the Lord—got to be prepared to do that.
But the reason they will say “Yes” is not something that you have said. Actually, the Lord has prepared that person to say yes. And when they sit down, you won’t like this as Christians, but here’s what they say to a man, and I’ve done this for 12 years: every single person I’ve done this with has said something along these lines: “Why has no one ever shown me this before? This is absolutely extraordinary! How come I’ve had an expensive education or an education, and nobody has shown me what the Bible has actually said before? Never seen it! Extraordinary.”
And the take-up is off the clock, so that once they’ve done the first coffee, we now know that 90 per cent of the people that you ask will actually complete the entire 21 chapters of John. That is extraordinary. And the only reasons why they might stop are—oh, what a surprise! It’s the parable of the sower: the world might creep in and go, “Oh Richard, I’m so sorry! And I have to keep cancelling you. Perhaps I’m not meant to do it.” Actually, wait for it, in 12 years, that has only happened to me seven times. Everybody else I’ve done it with has got to the end of the Book of John. Absolutely extraordinary!
I think, for years, what we’ve actually unfortunately done is terrify people about how difficult evangelism is. I think we tell people that they need to be evangelists. And actually, I’m not so sure that’s biblical. I think we are all called into the Great Commission to be Bible sharers—that’s slightly different from being an evangelist. And I now start all my training sessions when I go anywhere by saying, “Look, can I please put your mind at rest? Evangelism is not about you.”
You see, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a sensational testimony or not. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got the gift of the gab. It doesn’t matter whether you actually can run your fingers through your Bible, because you know it back—backwards and forwards. It doesn’t matter whether you are employed or young or vibrant. None of those things!
Now, it may well be that God uses all of those things. So if you happen to be able to teach apologetics, because you’ve got lots of apologetics, you think, “Oh, great! The Lord better well use it!” But for the general Christian, it’s not about you. What it is about is that God builds his church. And how does he do it? He does it through his word.
So my call to you today is just become a page-turner. Much lower entry point than saying, “Would you please go on a special forces workout to become an evangelist?” I think we’ve terrified people about being “You Must Be an Evangelist”. No no no! Pick up this simple format of John’s Gospel with a—literally a skeleton conversation for you to follow next to the verses and be a page-turner for the Lord.
TP: Well, back to Richard Borgonon and the extraordinary story of The Word One to One in just a moment.
But first, a quick reminder about our next CCL event, which is being held on May 25th in just a few short weeks on “A very short course in Christian ethics”. Now, this is a special event. It’s something new we’re trying this year. It’s not a weeknight topic on some aspect of the Christian life; it’s a Saturday morning seminar running from 9:30am ’til 1pm where we’re going to try and teach you a framework for applying the Bible to every topic in the Christian life. It’s “A very short course in Christian ethics”. It runs from 9:30am to 1pm on Saturday May 25 th here at Moore College in Newtown, or, of course, you can participate via livestream as well. For all the details, go to ccl.moore.edu.au. We’d love to see you there.
But back to Richard Borgonon.
TP: So you keep talking about The Word One to One and this simple resource. Just talk me through for those who are listening who haven’t seen The Word One to One: what is each booklet look like? What—what’s in it?
RB: Right, so first of all, there—there are—these are 11 little booklets which divide the 21 chapters of John into 38 episodes. And by the way, Tony, I call them “episodes” because to your non-Christian friend, this is like a boxset: they haven’t got a clue what’s in the next episode. So we’ve broken it down into episodes, which are—each one is about 15 to 20—25 minutes maximum long.
So what they do is they reverse what we do in church. At the end of each episode is the passage that we would have read in church. So episode 1 is John 1 verses 1-18. Richard, why on earth did you put the—the whole passage at the end? Because the people I am showing this to would have glazed over by line 2 or 3, Tony. It’s quite simple: they don’t know what the Bible says. So therefore, if they try and read Scripture today en masse like we would read in church, they’d just glaze over. So what I needed to do was deconstruct the passage to a few verses at a time. I then needed great teaching alongside it to raise the questions that those verses raise. But I do not have the right to put my friend on the spot and start asking him questions about a subject he is not initially interested in. He didn’t give me that right; he just agreed—“Look, I know you. I’ll have a cup of coffee. You’re excited about this book of the Bible. You’ve—you’re quite right, Richard; I did always think one day I might have a look. And I would expect it’s got some good stuff in it. But I didn’t say you could quiz me about what I believe.”
So what it does is it gives you all the answers. And as you go through it as the Christian, reading the right-hand side of the page to your friend, you’re actually helping him see what the words on the left-hand side of the page, which is the Word—the verses—actually do mean.
Now, I’ve got one very comforting fact: they won’t remember what you say. Isn’t that great! You see, let me tell you a story: I had a friend of mine who I met with for 18 months. Very blight—bright bloke, actually. And he came to me after 18 months—he said, “Richard, just for a change, I’d like to buy you a coffee.” Well, that was great! Okay, so I went for coffee and Martin said to me, he said, “Richard, I’ve knelt at the foot of the cross.” I said, “Well, now I can call you ‘brother’! That’s brilliant! What took you there?” “It was nothing you said, Richard.” I spent 18 months with this guy, bought all these coffees, and he turns and tells me, “It’s nothing you said” “In fact, Richard,” he said, “it’s going to get even worse for you.” He said, “The first six words of John 1 verse 1 never left me. ‘In the beginning was the Word’.”
Now, he’d read Richard Dawkins. Not everybody does. But he had. And he said, “I—it went into my mind like a branding iron on a piece of meat. ‘In the beginning’! ‘In the beginning’! I thought, ‘Richard Dawkins, in the nicest way possible, you’re an idiot.’ There was a beginning. There has to have been. And then what John said—not you, Richard—John; the Gospel writer—he said, ‘In the beginning was the Word’ and he then showed me who the Word was, what the Word had come to do, how I now understand the Word died on the cross for me to pay the price of my sins, how he then defeated death by rising from the dead, how he then offered me an empowered relationship with him, the Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Richard, that’s exactly what I’ve got, ’cause I’ve knelt at the foot of the cross. It was nothing you said, Richard.”
And I repeat, “What a relief! They don’t remember what I say! They’re absolutely fixated by what the Word says.” So, do you remember what you were like when you first became a Christian? Do you remember how excited you were? ’Cause this was amazing—how you’d just see Jesus loved you that much that he died for you—and you’ve got the power of the Holy Spirit in you, because he’s given you that; you’ve been converted. Well I am now seeing people all over the world who tell me, “Richard, I got that back!”
TP: So Richard, The Word One to One as a resource—as a booklet and as a free download, you’re saying—is available and is being used very widely in the UK and here in Australia. It’s—it’s spreading everywhere, and it’s easy to get hold of at that web address, which we’ll feature in our show notes at the end. For the everyday person listening to this podcast, how do you recommend they start? What’s the first thing that—to do? Should you go and download one and have a look at it? Buy a copy? Is there a sample pack? Where’s the place to start?
RB: If—if you go on the web, you get some really great helpful advice. There are some great films to watch—really helpful—and you can have a look at the notes for free if you don’t want to just go and buy them. Now, I’ve got to tell you, buying the books is best—not because anybody’s making money out of the books, ’cause they’re not; the margin on the books is as thin as we know how to make it. We get the books out as cheaply as we can. The truth about holding the book is you’re giving a present to a friend. And the other thing that we now know, even in this digital age, is when you give someone the book, they walk off at the end of your Bible Study and they’ve got your script. So not only have they got the verses to read, but they’ve also got what you said. In other words, as a Christian, you’ve not been embarrassed at—at anything you’ve said. It’s—you’ve handed it to your friend. And they will go back over it. And actually what we now know is that if you’ve downloaded it and you’ve got it on your iPad, for example, they’re less likely to go back.
TP: Many churches today base their evangelistic strategy around courses—around getting their people to invite their friends to a course at church. It might be Christianity Explored or Introducing God or something like that—or some other course the church runs. How do you think this kind of approach—this kind of strategy, which is more based around individual Christians finding friends to read the Bible with—how does it relate to the current trend around courses? How do those two things fit together in your view?
RB: Well, let be—let me be really clear: I love courses. This is the intro that will get people today interested enough that they’re prepared to go and sit on a course with other people to discuss something which they’ve now be—begun to become interested in.
So we’re the entry road to the course. And the course I see as the bridge to take them to the church. So I work as closely as I know how with particularly Christianity Explored and my good buddy Rico Tice. Rico adores this: he spends the introduction to any new set of leaders, telling them this is how they need to get folks to come on their course. You see, let me do this really harshly: in a society today where, in particular, men don’t like—don’t like being exposed to answering questions, so actually they’re—they’re—they’re—they’re not thinking about Christ today, ’cause they’re biblically ignorant. They haven’t grown up in a society where they go to church. That’s completely alien to them. In fact, today, very sadly, they’ve now got a—a political correctness problem, they think, with church, ’cause they think we’re homophobic and weird and all those things. So—so now, you try saying, “Would you like to come on a course?” Hang on a minute! You want me to come to a room with a load of other people I don’t know and you are going to ask me questions about something I’ve not been thinking about.
Now, if, on the other hand, they’ve sat down with you, who they know, and they’ve been having cups of coffee, looking at the word of John and they’ve begun to fall—fall in love with Christ, who they didn’t know anything about, but they’re now beginning to know something about—well, then when you say to them, “Listen, I hope you’ve enjoyed going through John. I’ve got this great idea for you. What would be a really great idea would be to go on this short course to actually understand Christianity Explored. Or Christianity Explained, for example. And they’re then ready to give their lives to Christ.
Now here’s the reality: for most courses, the level of biblical ignorance today is so great that if people will come back—and that’s a big “if”—you need to do these courses often many times before you understand enough to be able to give your life to Christ. Well that is smashed if, actually, you’ve read the gospel with a friend who’s become living church to you through a period of time where they’ve been taking you through exactly what Christ had to say. That friend has literally become that living church. Now you’re ready to go on the course, give your life to Christ.
The other thing is, it’s also used after the courses. So if, for example, you have not been converted and you went straight on a course, you—nobody’s ever sat down and opened the Bible with you in the way of The Word One to One—then not you the leader, but actually the leader asking people from the church to start buying you cups of coffee to mentor you to take you through a Gospel—at which point, you then give your life to Christ.
So it’s used or after every major course that I’ve yet found around the world. And that course is then the bridge to getting them into church.
TP: Richard, final question, then. You—you spoke about how your life changed 12 years ago when—when all this happened. Looking back over that period, what difference has it made to you as a Christian—to your discipleship as a Christian and to the way you live your Christian life? If you can just reflect on—on what the difference it’s made to you personally.
RB: I’m going to tell you two things. Number one: I am humbled to my core that I now see an active Saviour. So the theory of being right with Christ, but then not just keeping it to myself and keeping myself charged up has been transformed into finding an active Saviour who loves the people around me and has set me on fire by allowing me the huge privilege of participating in the Great Commission. I am not the same man. I am blown away by the power of my living Saviour. It’s fantastic!
Now, here’s your story: a friend of mine called Bob gave his life to Christ at the age of 57. Senior businessman. And he turned ’round and he said—he said, “Richard, you never say who you see.” And I said, “Well, no, Bob. I think you’d have had quite a problem if you thought I was walking ’round my insurance—our insurance market, saying, ‘I’m seeing you, such a very high-powered international executive.’” He said, “Well, I don’t feel that way now.” He said, “I’d like you to invite all the people you’re seeing to my boardroom for dinner.” Now, most people don’t have a boardroom, so it might be to their house. Right? So I was seeing 17 individual executives from my industry and I sent out these emails—
TP: Doing—doing one-to-ones with—
RB: Doing one-to-ones.
TP: —with 17 of them.
RB: 17 people. Absolutely extraordinary! You hear—I—you could knock me over with a feather. Who would have guessed that? So I sent 17 emails and extraordinarily, 12 of those guys were in London that night. Well, three competing CEOs of the broking side of my industry turned up; seven competing CEO or chairman of the underwriting side of my business turned up; the ex-chairman of Lloyd’s; and the most important man in the market—the guy who actually handled the franchise of Lloyd’s. And when they got together, Tony, they were stunned. They couldn’t believe who was standing in front of them. And then they exploded into conversation. Frankly, I just had dinner that night: I just sat and let the conversation blow over my head!
At the end of it, they said this, and it’s very telling: they said, “Richard, this is the one thing that we all agree we do just for the real me.” Now, isn’t that interesting! You see, I’m 63 years old, and I’ve tried eating the right foods, I’ve tried taking the vitamin tablets my daughters now insist I take, I rub the cream on them my wife gives me; the reality is, I’m shorter than when I got married, I’m not winning the battle, one day this suit is going to hit the floor and Elvis is going to have exited the building. And if anybody’s ever seen a dead person, you know that that corpse lying on the floor is not the real person. The real person is your soul. And my soul has been met for eternity by my Saviour. He died on the cross for me. And that’s what these guys were saying: “This is the one thing I do that’s for the real me!”
And they then turned ’round and said, “Do you mind if we bring our friends?” Many of these guys weren’t converted. They were saying, “I’d like my friends to see this! This is so good!” Well, I suggest to you that actually that spells the Lord is way more active in your circle of friends than you know.
Now, my circle of friends is those senior businessmen. I can tell you stories from all around the world through every demographic. So the teenager who now can share the gospel and is doing so, blown away by what’s happening. Retired people adore these notes, because their friends are not at peace and they know at the end of their lives they’ve not got life’s answers. And they sit down, start sharing coffee and it all comes out: “I’ve got life’s—no one’s ever shown me this before.” It might be this—the—the businessman. It might be the mum at home! The mums at home are taking these books. We’ve always known you mums know how to chat. Well, now you’ve got something to chat about. You’re sharing the gospel with your friends because you can. The empty nester is now sharing the gospel because they can. Every single age range has now got the gospel in a format they can share. Don’t have to be a Bible teacher; just be a page-turner. What a joy! Because it won’t be you; it’s all in the power of the Word. The Lord builds his church.
TP: Well, thanks for being with us today on this episode of the CCL podcast, and for the extraordinary story of Richard Borgonon and The Word One to One. We mentioned a bunch of links during today’s episode. There’s theword121.com, where you can find out all about how this little booklet works and how you can use it in ministry. You can buy packs of The Word One to One at matthiasmedia.com.au/word121. And for more details about our forthcoming CCL event on May 25th, you can go over to ccl.moore.edu.au. And finally for details about the Moore College Open Events, they’re at moore.edu.au/open.
If you can’t remember all those links, that’s okay; they’re in our show notes. Check them out there. Don’t forget, you can always email us at email@example.com. We love hearing from our listeners! Send us in any questions you have about the Christian life—any topics you’d like us to cover in our podcast. We really like hearing from you.
Well, that’s about all for this episode. I’m Tony Payne. ’Bye for now.