Working in Teams: Fishing With a Net

By a Pioneers couple in Asia

As we walked along the beach on our spiritual retreat in South Asia, we began to pray and reflect on the past season of ministry and the coming one. There, as we experienced the waves and the sand between our toes, we had our first experience seeing fishermen use nets to bring in a catch from the shore.

In the past, as I thought about being a fisher of men, I pictured someone with a fishing rod, baiting the hook to attract a fish and casting his line to wait patiently for a nibble. That’s a more common image I have of fishing. Yet the fishermen Jesus spoke to in His time on Earth cast nets, pulling them back out of the water with an abundance of fish (at least sometimes). In Matthew 4:19 and again in Mark 1:17 Jesus said, “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

We desire to cast the gospel net wide and see numbers believe in Jesus simultaneously in order to build a church and allow the people to support one another in grace and love.

A net makes a big difference. So can a team.

Though it may seem obvious, the contrast between line fishing and net fishing is dramatic. With line fishing you cast and wait, often alone, catching one at a time. But net fishing is a different activity altogether, offering the possibility of a much bigger catch. It even changes the fishermen’s expectations as they approach the water. Net fishermen form a team. They cast in groups and bring in a net full of fish together, relying upon one another for strength to draw it back in.

The distinction is valuable as we consider our ministry with Pioneers. We desire to cast the gospel net wide and see numbers believe in Jesus simultaneously in order to build a church and allow the people to support one another in grace and love.

Line fishing is a solitary art, and while it is always appropriate to cast a line out with the Good News, at Pioneers we deliberately choose to work in teams so that we may help one another draw new believers into God’s fold. There is a promise in Jesus’ words to His disciples—a promise of multiplication (in contrast to addition) as new believers learn to cast their own nets and draw others into the Body of Christ.

Go Deeper

  • Teams that are both task- and member-focused are the core of Pioneers. This is crucial since many of the world’s remaining unreached peoples are in difficult and isolated pockets of the world. We know we need one another. Learn about other core values of Pioneers.
  • Learn about Launch Teams, which bring new workers together to focus on preparing for service in years to come.
  • Pray for Pioneers teams as they seek to cast their nets widely and wait expectantly for the Holy Spirit to do what only He can do.  Sign up for our weekly prayer email.

Originally published on our website in 2014.

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