Teaching How to Fish

January 13, 2012 — 1 Comment

A conversation I had this summer with my brother-in-law:

Me: “How was fishing this morning?”

Brother-in-law: “Um, it was fun in a different way. It was a lot of work.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Brother in law:

“Well, I never got to fish. I took a friend and his kids out fishing.

They’d never been fishing before so I spent the whole time baiting their hooks, netting their fish they caught, retrieving fishing poles the kids dropped overboard. So it wasn’t fun per se. More rewarding than fun- but so fun to see their faces as they caught their first fish.”

What a great metaphor for ministry.

I told my team that story and we used it all fall: “Remember, teach students how to fish even if it means that you don’t get to fish much yourself.”


I’m convinced that staff’s primary job is not to do ministry but to equip others to do ministry.

But the problem is that most staff go into full time ministry to fish not to make fishers of men.


If you’re interested you can read more thoughts here on how staff’s job is to get more people on the playing field (and how empowered leadership is what Millennials crave). [Update: apparently that linked post no longer exists. I’ll work on getting it back up]


What that’s looked like for us:

  • In the midst of a crazy first week of following up thousands of contacts, Jon (one of our senior staff) spent his first day of follow up with 4 new Community Group leaders walking through how to call contacts and what to do during follow up. He “lost” a valuable afternoon of follow up but was able to equip and mobilize 4 students to pursue freshmen.
  • Staff never share their faith alone. Staff Success in evangelism= sharing the gospel while a student leader watches/learns.


What has “Teaching How to Fish” looked like for you and your team?


photo courtesy of Tassava


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