What kind of “fishing” was Jesus talking about?

What role does a church community play in the work of evangelism? A great place to start in looking at this theologically is the actual words and context of Christ’s determination: “I will make you fishers of men (Matt. 4:19).” For starters, was his metaphor of ministry about poles or nets?

Read my recent article in Leadership Journal called “Rod and Reel, or Net?”

The Pole vs. The Net. – A Fishing Mindset

What does it mean when our efforts to evangelize are more communitarian? And, how can we help people get “caught into a community”? What is the difference between a pole fishing mindset and a net fishing mindset? Consider this:


Pole “Fishing” is a solo effort.

Net “Fishing” is a team effort.


Pole “Fishing” involves throwing them a line on your own.

Net “Fishing” involves showing them Christ within a community.


Pole “Fishing” helps people hear about the Gospel.

Net “Fishing” helps people see the Gospel lived out.


With Pole “Fishing” the idea is “coming to a decision”;

With Net “Fishing” it is “coming INTO community.”


With Pole “Fishing” the technique is convincing them of the truth of Christ (i.e., information);

With Net “Fishing” it is showing to them the love of Christ (i.e., transformation).


While Pole “Fishing” tends to view evangelism as a periodic project;

Net “Fishing” sees outreach as an ongoing and necessary occupation.