One of my favorite hobbies/activities is fishing. Fishing can be tiring, thrilling, fast-paced, and super productive, or it can be slow, boring, frustrating, and unproductive. But one of the things I have learned about fishing is that the better bait I use the better the results I have.
Life Pointe Church goes fishing nearly every day. In the community we have billboards, mailers, phone calls, and massive community outreach events. In church, we have dramatic presentations, exciting music, flashy lights, creative videos, and life-oriented relevant messages. Online we have emails, blogs, twitter accounts, flckr, myspace pages, youtube, and other social networking forums that get out the message.
I have heard it from some people who don’t understand LPC’s purpose or method. Many people asked why we left the “sanctuary” we owned that seated hundreds of people to rent a theater that seats fewer people. Some people say that all the flash, music, videos, etc. are gadgets. One sincere person suggested that if you use gadgets to bring them in, you have to use gadgets to keep them there.
Jesus saw two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew who were fishermen, casting their nets in the lake. Then he says to them in Matthew 4:19 “Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Many Christians through the years have taken Matthew 4:19 to be Jesus’ call to all of us. I agree.
I have never caught a fish with bait. Bait does not hold fish on the line. If I want to keep fish in the water at the back of the boat, I can throw chum and bait in the water all day. It will draw tons of fish. But in order to get them in the boat, I need a hook or a net. I have caught the occasional fish on a bare hook, but it’s not very often that it can be done.
“Gadgets”, marketing, creativity, charismatic speakers, and great music can definitely draw people to “the boat”, but they have to get hooked. But if people are being discipled, are in fellowship/community with fellow believers, are being saved, and filled with the Holy Spirit, it’s Jesus that keeps them.
Life Pointe has done a wonderful job under Pastor Travis’ leadership of casting a wide net over concentrated schools of people and bringing them in the boat. The expectation from Trav is that the bait is the freshest and most effective bait possible. The bait is not there to keep people, but to bring more people in. The fish that we can’t handle due to distance or other factors have been given to other boats that are more suitable. Regardless, we are in the same fleet.