A new book from Scott Sauls

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From Publisher's Weekly


Reviewed on 08/05/2016

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[Scott] Sauls (Jesus Outside the Lines), senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tenn., writes eloquently on the topic of befriending. He covers his bases thoroughly when challenging Christ followers to be proactive about their relationships in these 21 candid chapters. His message is tailored to inspire engagement with new people—both inside and outside the church—with courage and compassion, reminding Christians that it is all too easy to engage in digital, transactional, one-dimensional friendships when Jesus demands Christians move toward people with intent and self-sacrifice. Befriending, according to Sauls, is the kind of action that may include some initial friction, some hard surfaces, but over time these differences can result in richer, deeper relationships. Readers will learn how to practically seek new relationships with bullies, children, the dying, family members, and strangers. Each chapter is overflowing with compelling true accounts, biblical commentaries, and brief summaries to tie the overarching points together. This is a must read for those stuck in the world of digital-first relationships who seek to enrich their lives and the lives of those they come into contact with daily. Agent: Robert Wolgemuth, Wolgemuth & Associates Inc. (Oct.)

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  • Real friendship happens when we move toward the people we are most tempted to avoid. - @ScottSauls #Befriendbook
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Leaders Share Praise for BeFriend

Scott Sauls has written one phenomenal book, direly needed for these times. Sharp. Informed. Culturally savvy. Biblical. This book will deeply change lives and start a befriend revolution. It's powerfully changed me, and I'm sitting here revived in desperately parched places-feeling a bit of a holy hush. These pages echo the heart of God.

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Ann Voskamp

Bestselling author of One Thousand Gifts and The Broken Way

Books like Befriend have me hopeful that God’s people are going to rise to the occasion of our moment in history with God’s goodness and grace. I pray that as you read through each of these chapters, you might add more serious and diverse friendships to enrich and expand your view of what God is up to in our day. I couldn’t be more grateful for Scott’s voice on this topic.

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Matt Chandler

Pastor of The Village Church, author of The Explicit Gospel, and coauthor of The Mingling of Souls

Scott Sauls is a pastor even through his writing. He doesn’t preach; he cares for souls and gently reminds us of a better way, of the tension and beauty of following Jesus. Jesus was and is a friend. Scott not only writes masterfully about that but lives like Jesus in this way.

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JENNIE ALLEN

Founder/visionary of IF:Gathering and author of Anything and Restless

In this accessible book, Scott Sauls looks at virtually the entirety of the Christian life through the prism of friendship, and that’s a well-grounded project theologically. When the gospel makes God our friend rather than our enemy, and we are also reconciled to ourselves—both our sin and our identity in Jesus, our friend—then we move out into the world in a new way. As Scott so ably shows us, Christian practice is to a great degree an exercise in friendship. This is a helpful, practical, and rich encouragement to bring all of our life in line with the gospel.

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TIMOTHY KELLER

Senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City

In Befriend, Scott Sauls provides real rescue from loneliness by highlighting what it means to be in real relationship and exposing the difference between “friending” and “befriending.” In a world full of “likes,” Scott points us back to love. There could not be a better time for a book such as this one.

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ELISABETH HASSELBECK

Talk Show host, wife and mother, and author of The G-Free Diet

It feels ironic that in an age when connectivity is on the rise, so is loneliness. Friendships, real friendships, aren’t always easy, but they are always important. I’m glad that Scott has taken such an honest look at something we all need more of. And because he’s my friend, he forgave me for ending that last sentence with a preposition and beginning this one with and.

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JON ACUFF

New York Times bestselling author of Do Over

Simply stated, this book is important. For the kind of humans we want to be in the world in which we are living, Befriend is what we need to read and use as a guidebook as we work hard to love our neighbors well. Wanting to be culture shapers requires effort and focus, and Scott pastors us all towards that end in this and all of his writings. I’m grateful for his voice in my life and in our culture.

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ANNIE DOWNS

Bestselling author of Looking for Lovely and Let’s All Be Brave

One of the major problems facing people today is loneliness. Friendships are hard to form and even harder to maintain. Isolation and superficiality are easier but deaden the soul. Respected pastor Scott Sauls here presents a Christian vision of deep friendship. This book is wise, biblical, and practical. It could help change your life.

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RUSSELL MOORE

President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Today’s Christians have a reputation for shaking our fists at our culture rather than shining a light within it. What if instead we led with 1 Corinthians 13 love, risking relationships with those we might otherwise avoid — locally and across the globe? That’s what Scott Sauls challenges us to do in Befriend. This timely book is a guide for you and me to address relationship barriers we may not even be aware of and courageously engage heart-first in our world, drawing closer to Jesus as we do.

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RICH STEARNS

President/CEO of World Vision

We Christians know that love is the “greatest of these,” yet we struggle to live out that love alongside other loved sinners. In this highly readable and timely book, pastor Scott Sauls draws on Scripture, pop culture, and his own life to illuminate the various and often unlikely people we are called to love. I hope and pray that this book will give more of us a deeper knowledge of our own belovedness in Christ, a knowledge that can set us free to love others well and with abandon.

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KATELYN BEATY

Print managing editor, Christianity Today magazine, and author of A Woman’s Place

When I turned forty, I made myself a promise—to throw myself into a resource I had long neglected while frantically climbing Mount Significance—people and friendships. While I’ve made significant headway, my only regrets are that I didn’t do this sooner, and that didn’t have my friend Scott Sauls’ book Befriend as a treasure trove to guide me on the journey. Befriend is a book I will return to time and again . . . with friends, to both learn and be inspired in experiencing both the deepest longing and greatest challenge of my heart—true friendship.

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BRYAN LORITTS

Lead pastor of Abundant Life Church and author of Saving the Saved

Scott teaches us about befriending others by showing us how graciously Jesus has first befriended us. Befriend is both wise and earthy, relevant and practical. But most of all, as Scott reveals his own need for Jesus, amid the very real questions of our generation, we too see our own need and our own questions. This leaves all of us looking to Jesus. Thank you, Scott.

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ZACK ESWINE

Pastor of Riverside Church and author of The Imperfect Pastor

As Scott Sauls says in Befriend, “Real friendship happens when we move toward the people we are most tempted to avoid.” Sauls challenges us to break free of those things than hinder us from befriending others, not by our own strength and might, but by the power of God through love. If God so loved the world, shouldn’t we? Befriend helps us embrace this awesome calling and moves us one step closer to one another.

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TRILLIA NEWBELL

Author of Enjoy (forthcoming 2017), Fear and Faith, and United

In an age of isolation, loneliness, and social fragmentation, there is a tremendous opportunity for the church to offer what Jesus offers: deep community to those who need it, namely all of humanity. With disarming candor and gritty realism, Scott Sauls demonstrates how to apply the gospel to befriend a wide range of broken image bearers . . . a group that includes you and me. A life-giving read for such a time as this.

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BRIAN FIKKERT

Co-author of When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself

In a world of superficial acquaintances, Scott Sauls casts a compelling vision of a better way. In Befriend, he insightfully diagnoses what’s missing our relationships and prescribes a practical and hopeful way forward. This book will challenge your assumptions of what friendships are with a fresh view of what they could be. Read this book with caution; it will move, convict, and stretch you to experience the kind of friendships God intended.

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DARREN WHITEHEAD

Pastor, Church of the City, Nashville, and author of Rumors of God

Scott Sauls is the real deal! Honest, vulnerable, funny . . . In Befriend he teaches us how to lose control in order to find a better way—a way full of freedom, joy, intimate community, safe harbor, and warm hospitality for those who often live on the margins of the church and society by no fault of their own—the Way of Jesus. I hope you’ll read the book and take it to heart!

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JEREMY COURTNEY

CEO and president of Preemptive Love Coalition

Befriend is a book about the everyday work of being a neighbor. It is as practical as it is pastoral, inviting us to bridge indifference, suspicion, even hostility to love the world God so loved. Sauls writes with refreshing humility and biblical wisdom: his is a voice to trust.

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JEN POLLOCK MICHEL

Award-winning author of Teach Us to Want and Keeping Place

Befriend is a practical, winsome, and engaging book that explores the complexities of friendship in ways that are bound to make you uncomfortable and to inspire you to look at your friends anew. Grounded in theology and personal experience, Scott Sauls’s book is a great daily devotional, small group study, or personal study on friendship and the gospel.

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ALAN NOBLE

Editor in chief of Christ and Pop Culture and assistant professor of English, Oklahoma Baptist University

I’ve never seen Scott Sauls back down from a difficult topic. And I’ve never seen him miss an opportunity to make much of God’s grace abounding in Jesus. In our age of judgment, isolation, and fear Scott shows us what a friend we have in Jesus.

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COLLIN HANSEN

Editorial Director of The Gospel Coalition and author of Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church

Befriend calls us to something beautiful, something important, something better. In an age where engaging, complex relationships are so easily passed over for effortless, superficial counterfeits, Scott Sauls calls us from the shadows of pretending into the light of real friendship. Anyone who has ever felt even the slightest emotional reaction to how they fare in the world of social media will find in this book a reasoned path to the truth about who we are and how we were made to relate to one another. I am so thankful for my friend Scott Sauls’s wisdom, courage, and voice.

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RUSS RAMSEY

Pastor, author of Behold the King of Glory, and content editor for She/He Reads Truth

I simply wasn’t prepared for the power, impact, and deeply convicting thoughts included in Befriend by Scott Sauls. But the reality is that many of the most convicting words were spoken by Jesus before they were repeated by Scott. The scandalous and profound truth is that not only did Jesus speak these words, he lived them. This is where Befriend shines the focused spotlight. Steadfast in truth, agile in love. Like I said, I wasn’t prepared, but I am propelled by what happened in my soul through this beautiful work of words.

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DAN WOLGEMUTH

President/CEO of Youth for Christ USA

I’ll be honest. This book scares me. Jesus said the heart of our life with God and others is relationship, but so many of us—me included—rarely come close to plumbing the depths of what true relationship is. Real love is terrifying. True intimacy makes you so . . . vulnerable. And selflessness is a kind of dying. In Befriend, Scott Sauls takes us on an emotional, honest and at times raw journey we all need to take.

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CAREY NIEUWHOF

Host of the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast, author, and founding pastor of Connexus Church

In an increasingly fractious age in which we reduce each other to soundbites, demographics, and stereotypes, burying ourselves deeper in social media silos with those who think like us, Scott Sauls gently and prophetically reminds us of the power of befriending those who are different, reminding of Jesus’ habit of seeing the image of God in the “other.” This is an urgent and healing book.

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MARK SAYERS

Senior Pastor of Red Church in Melbourne, Australia, and author of Facing Leviathan and Disappearing Church

How can we begin to heal the wounds of division that plague our polarized society? It won’t happen with another think piece or hot-take blog rant. No amount of tweeting or texting will solve it. It will only happen in the context of real, flesh-and-blood relationships. This is why Scott Sauls’s simple yet profound book Befriend is so valuable and timely. From a variety of angles and with a wide array of stories and examples, Sauls cuts through the partisan clutter and makes a compelling case for friendship as a way to break the stalemate.

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BRETT MCCRACKEN

Author of Hipster Christianity and Gray Matters

Scott Sauls understands a vital truth and writes about it with refreshingly accessible but persistently gracious challenge: the gospel comes alive for us more through the risk of relationships than through assent to theological precepts and moral teachings. Making ourselves vulnerably present to others in genuine friendship is God’s way of taking on flesh and blood among us. After all, this was the way of Jesus. In today’s cultural environment tenuously held together by thin lines of social connection, Befriend offers faithful encouragement and wisdom on the importance of genuine friendship, thankfully perhaps not yet a lost calling for the church.

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THE REV. R. LEIGH SPRUILL

Rector, St. George’s Church, Nashville, Tennessee

Christ’s people must avoid two sacrifices: love on the altar of truth, and truth on the altar of love. Scott Sauls’s voice is a refreshing alternative to the bombast that fills our airwaves and, sadly, many of our pulpits. With keen insight and elegant prose, Scott shows us how to engage our world in a winsome yet subversive manner.

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MATT SMETHURST

Managing editor of The Gospel Coalition

We live in the most connected generation in history, and yet we may be the most disconnected generation in history. My friend Scott Sauls calls Christians to something deeper, to be intentional about friendship in a way that is a catalyst for change. This is the kind of soul-level relationship Jesus calls us to, one of risk and sacrifice. If Christians read and apply what Sauls is saying, they will become life-giving agents of grace in their communities.

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DANIEL DARLING

VP of Communications for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, author of The Original Jesus

In a culture that’s become more fragmented and lonely, Scott provides what many of us are longing for . . . a roadmap to deep, life-giving relationships. The journey to Befriend will surprise us and challenge many of our assumptions, but it’s exactly what we all need.

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DAVID SPICKARD

President and CEO of Jobs for Life

Nothing encapsulates the understanding of Jesus and the intentional living of those who follow him more than the words love and belonging. In Befriend Scott Sauls gives us the courage to embrace the “us” into belonging, a belonging that echoes in the depths of true friendship. Befriend is an anatomy of friendship; one that leads to love, one that leads to life.

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GREG FROMHOLTZ

Documentary and video director, founder of Rubicon Ireland, and author of Broken: Restoring Trust between the Sacred and the Secular

About the Author

Scott Sauls


Scott Sauls is senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville. Before this, he served with Tim Keller at New York City's Redeemer Presbyterian Church as a lead and preaching pastor.

In addition to his books, Scott's work has been featured in Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, Qideas, Catalyst, Leadership Magazine, aholyexperience, OnFaith, The Gospel Coalition, Key Life, as well as other publications.

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