God can have quite the sense of humor at times, and we see this clearly with the first disciples. Before the disciples were what we call, “fishers of men,” they were, literally, fishermen. Although this can be seen as ironic, the lessons learned as a fisherman translate well when it comes to bringing others onboard the Christian boat and the Great Commission.
For example, before going out to catch fish, you must first know what type of fish you are seeking; and fishing men isn’t any different. God has prepared you to speak to specific people. We are all called to evangelize and to disciple, but we have a specific assignment to draw people to God. Your personality and interests, occupation and hobbies, family and local community, are often the bait to reach the type of fish God wants. He sends you to fish, just as He sent His disciples, like Peter and Paul.
In discovering the type of fish you are seeking or the “who,” you must also figure out what equipment you will use to catch the fish, the “how.” Understanding the people you are going to encounter and interact with are a part of the plan of action that God has set in order. These key factors are what will shape your life and ministry. Would the fish (who) rather receive a phone call or a text message? Do they need food and shelter or training and opportunity? Are they married with families or are they single and searching? These questions and many others will build your ministry and fishing techniques.
Along with knowing the who and the how, knowing where you are is also important. You have to know the depth of the water. The extent of one’s darkness is an important thing to acknowledge because not all evangelism techniques are created equally. The depths of knowledge, finesse, and experience are important when fishing in deep waters. Make time to do some research and plan your fishing trip accordingly.
Lastly, we always need to know what bait to use after knowing what type of fish, what type of equipment, and how deep the waters will be. The bait (resources) we have to draw people in will depend on us. We need to take into account the resources we have and the team needed to maximize our catch.
Being a fisher of men is similar to being a regular fisherman, but the stakes are much higher because we are dealing with people’s lives. Being attentive to the numerous opportunities we have in ministry starts by knowing the who, where, how, and what of evangelism. Answering these questions will make you a true fisher of men. It will create the best chance for making a great change in someone’s life, your community, and God’s kingdom.