After observing Evangelism and Evangelists for the last several years, including many of the Billy Graham years, it seems to me that a persistent problem follows outdoor/event evangelism. What to do with the people/fish that are caught during these events?
Without the powerful planning and organizational methods of Billy Graham: ‘Find a Bible believing church and go to church next Sunday,’ there appears to be little help in landing the fish. Although this is better than doing nothing …what is it doing? Fill out the card and follow up with a written Bible Study… OK. But mostly it seems both historically and by measurement that precious few stay netted.
Catch and Release is the common evangelism because there is nowhere to put the caught fish with any intention. Much effort is given to finding just the right bait, just the right rod and reel, scoping out the waters and the weather with ‘fish-finders’… but where to put them when we catch them? Where is the Creel? The Creel Church. The Forked Stick Church. Where is the place for new believers? Maybe we take a few pictures of the prized catch posing with the bounty for cameras and reporters and thus giving content for our monthly newsletters… where are the fish now? Our new brothers and sisters?
Until we form and frame our homes (maybe some churches) as a natural and obvious place for new people to come and experience Kingdom life, it seems it will continue to be Catch and Release. To say: ‘Some is better than nothing’ just does not seem to cover it very well. My experience is that many brand new believers are really a lot of trouble. They may have financial and economic issues, addiction to drugs or alcohol, or lack responsibility and character. Who would want this crowd in our homes or churches? But, I suppose that’s why they wanted to come into the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus.
“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus