Fishing for People: It's a Both/And

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When it comes to reaching the lost, there's tension between random outreach and personal relationships. But going door to door, handing out tracts, and doing outreach events are not at odds with having personal relationships with friends, neighbors, and co-workers. One is like fishing the Atlantic Ocean with nets, and the other is like dry-fly fishing the Colorado River. If we want to be proficient fishers of people for the sake of Christ's Kingdom, we should do both kinds of fishing depending on where we're at the time -- on the ocean or wading into the river.

The different approaches have different strengths and weaknesses, although both are faithful.

One takes us to the strangers we've yet to meet. It connects us to the people who look different than us, the neighbors we've struggled to get to know, and those with who God might have made an appointment outside of our normal schedules. Fishing with nets opens doors we could have never planned for on our own. This method is like looking for the person of peace that Jesus discussed when he set his disciples ahead of him to do this kind of work. (See Luke 10.) This kind of outreach faithfully shows us where God is working and gives us new opportunities to join him where and when we see that work. When we're faithful with this method, we see things well beyond our little world.

The other approach digs into the relationships where God has placed us. There's an opportunity to model the Christian faith for a long time, over many of life's circumstances. Here, we build relationship equity and the seek opportunities for gospel seeds to be cast many, many times. Discipleship is a strong possibility too. This method is life on life, but only with a small, few people.

Rather than arguing for one method over the other, how about we celebrate how God uses both? How about we seek to be faithful in doing both? Lets see the mission field where God has placed us and be willing to go wherever else he's calling us.