Jesus offered us the analogy of “fishing for men.” Now, I am not much of a fisherman but when I have gone fishing I usually go alone or with one other person and we take along our fishing rods and hooks and some bait and put our single lines into the water looking to catch supper.
So, when we think of fishing for men (evangelizing) we can picture ourselves casting with a rod and reel, bringing people in one by one. But the kind of fishing that Jesus’ disciples would have been familiar with was nothing like that. They worked together and used nets. Often if the catch was substantial then they would call for other boats (from other family businesses) to join with them to bring in the catch.
Jesus is telling us that we need to be thinking of fishing for men in slightly different terms than we sometimes do today. This is not to say that we should stop witnessing because we must never do that. 1 Peter 2:9 states that we are God’s instruments, chosen by Him to tell others the night-and-day difference that He has made (and is making) in our lives. So, personal evangelism – sharing our testimony and taking every opportunity offered to mention the Name of Jesus and what Jesus is offering – is something we do every day as we leave home and enter into the mission field. It should be, for Spirit-filled believers – as natural as breathing – because this was the reason for being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Jesus said (Acts 1:8) “…and you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be My witnesses…”.
However, as local churches and trans-local ministries (such as Ralph Howe Ministries) we need to be thinking more than a pole and a single line in the water. We need to first of all evangelize in every worship service that is held. Do not assume that those sitting in the assembly are all saved or born again. Most likely they are not. There are many who think they are because they said a sinner’s prayer but they are false converts as there was no true repentance with godly sorrow and the Bible states that without this there is no salvation. Others think they are believers because they have grown up in a church-going home and have always gone to church. Some made a commitment to the Lord when young but now, having reached the age of accountability, need to reconsider the faith of their father and determine if it is what they personally believe and then make a fresh decision to personally follow the Lord. Never assume that everyone has a dynamic relationship to the Lord. This is not true. So, fish with a net every time you are in an assembly of worship or a Bible study.
As well, I believe we need to be designing evangelistic events where a number of like-minded churches can cooperate together and, using a guest speaker who is well known, attact a crowd of non-believers (harvesting the result of individuals building relationships) where the gospel can be presented – with miracles, signs and wonders following. True signs and wonders that are verifiable – healings that are valid and doctor verified. None of the nonsense that goes on now that attracts believers and becomes a large production for one man’s ministry and is mostly ‘staged’ – with little proof that people were actually healed and born again, little to no follow-up to see if they stayed healed, and next to no benefit reaped by the local churches – no catch.
This is what I see Paul the apostle doing in the book of Acts. Yes, he was constantly sharing the Gospel with anyone who would listen. But, he was also heading out to the market places, the hill where philosophers sat and argued, local places where people gathered together and cast his net every time. Paul would then back up what his words were declaring by releasing supernatural power to verify that his message about Jesus raised from the dead was true. Listen to his words…
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
Romans 15:18-19 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done — by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.
It is time to go back to the basics and do things biblically and supernaturally.
Pictured above – my Eastern European Administrator for Ralph Howe Ministries is sharing the Gospel with a congregation gathered to hear the preaching of the Word and to be part of the prophetic ministry that was about to be begin. Miroslav is casting a net with the help of other team members who are waiting to come up and minister beside him as he pulls the net in.