“Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets, and you will catch many fish.” (Luke 5:4b NLT)
Many modern-day churches today are using the “net” method of fishing for people. Gone are the days of hook, line, and sinker fishing. The emphasis seems to be on reaching the masses. Perhaps that’s why new church building projects include gymnasiums, community and conference centers, playgrounds, carnivals, and other attractive structures. We have our massive programs to reach the public such as large scale musical productions, huge lighting displays, electronic billboards, TV advertisements, etc. This is not to say that these methods are bad or anti-Biblical. After all, Jesus had his first disciples use “nets.” But it does seem that the emphasis on fishing for people has changed.
Back in the fifties and sixties and even into the seventies personal soul-winning involved the use of gospel tracts, street meetings, and door-to-door evangelism. A number of training programs were instituted to teach people how to do personal evangelism. The Navigators organization introduced the “reach one-win one” method of reaching people for Christ, especially men in the armed services. I remember well my experience as a saved serviceman memorizing the Navs topical memory system of three verses a week.
Of course there were the Billy Graham crusades where thousands of people were reached with the gospel, but even then personal soul winners were trained and needed to deal with the many people who came forward at the invitation to receive Christ. They were taken through the Bible account of salvation and given materials for discipleship.
I have fished a lot in the mountain streams, lakes, and beaver ponds in Colorado and Montana, and never used a net. It was always the old-fashioned way with hook, line, and sinker. One time I did catch two fish on a single lure, but that was a rarity. How exciting!
It is just as exciting when we cast out the bait of the gospel and an individual comes to accept Christ as Savior. Sometimes the fish get off the hook, but we keep on trying. Our task is to “cast out the net”—it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to “reel in the fish.”
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to keep baiting and casting out the line to fish for people.