The last 5 Thursday evenings, I have gone fishing with a young man whom I am mentoring as part of a community program to mentor young people who are at risk of breaking the law. Tonight as were fishing, we were again unsuccessful at catching any fish. It reminded me of evangelism and church planting in the following ways:
- Just because the fish aren’t biting does not mean the fish are at fault; the problem probably lies somewhere with the fisherman – his strategy, he location, his timing, his dedication, etc. It is too easy to blame our failures on the people we are working with as being hard-hearted, sinful, etc.
- Fishing (evangelism) requires more than good intentions and good desires; we must study, learn, be trained, and develop in order to be effective. This is why Jesus told the disciples to follow me and I will make you fishers of men. They had to be trained before they could be fishermen.
- Just fishing longer (working harder) does not guarantee success; we must fish smarter (work smarter) by anazlyzing what is not working, changing our strategy, learning from other who have been successful, and being patient. Paul the Apostles was constantly working to preach the gospel in a culturally relevent way. He became all things to all men; he did not change his message or pervert the gospel, but he took different approach depending on the situation and background of the person. An example of this is to contrast the sermon of Peter to the Jews in Acts 2 with the sermon of Paul to the Gentiles in Acts 17.
Not sure if the analogy is perfect, but there were some parallels that really helped me.