Mark 1:17 says, “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men’” (ESV).
Throughout my ministry, God has placed so many different people in my path—people from all different walks of life, from the affluent to the poor, from the important to not important, from the religious to the nonreligious. But a common theme between them all, when confronted with the gospel, is that they will listen if it is presented in a nonthreatening way.
In the book of Mark, Jesus told the apostles that He would make them fishers of men. Now, let me show you how a fisherman works.
The fishermen have their boats and their nets. The go out to the sea, and they cast their nets in the water. After a while, they pull in the nets, and in most cases there is their catch, fish galore. Sometimes they cast their nets and pull in little to nothing. But they do it in a way that when they throw their nets, they don’t scare off the fish.
When Jesus told the apostles to follow Him, He didn’t say, “Grab your 12-gauge shotgun, and let’s go hunting. We’ll go out and find our prey, take aim, shoot’ em and then drag them back to the house.”
Unfortunately, this is how many Christians try to share the news of Christ. They go out and start taking aim at all those who are in “sin.” They tell them they are going to hell if they don’t change their ways. Albeit true, it’s in the delivery that we lose the attention of the lost.
Much like the fishermen who use nets, our proverbial net is the Word of God. We should throw our “net” out so as not to scare the lost. Throw it out in a way that entices them to come around the net. Then, when it is time, we pull the net in slowly.
By sharing the gospel in a way that is nonthreatening, you will have the attention of that person you are witnessing to longer than you will if you go at them with gun barrels blazing. Build a relationship; then you will have their trust.
Don’t scare off the fish. It makes fishing harder for the rest of us. In reading the Gospels, you can see Jesus as the example of the best fisherman around.
Jody Burkeen is founder of Man Up God’s Way Ministries, birthed out of his desire to help change the way Christian men “do” Christianity.