Army Jargon

Fishing

It can be a teenager’s dread, seeing an adult soldier come towards the youth, slumping in the back row during a prayer meeting.

Ah!  Fishing. 1:1 prayer. 1:1 evangelism. 1:1 accountability.

No hiding place. Eye–to–eye. Face–to–face heart talk.

If a denominational strategy for evangelism can be pictured as trawling, this is more like fly fishing. Done well, it requires patience, gentleness, and enticement.

Peter, that impetuous, cussing fisherman, provides the etymology, when Jesus memorably calls him and brother Andrew to leave their nets and become “fishers of men.” The picturesque imagery imprints for all time (Matt. 4).

Of course, it can all become caricatured and rote, a hackneyed formula. We sniff out a fake in an instant. Eugene Peterson reminds us that communicating the gospel must be expressed in relationship, otherwise we are “left with nothing but god–talk … but with all the God left out.”

Then again, Richard Foster encourages us to initiate prayer with people, as led by the Spirit of God, noting, “I ask politely if they would like prayer … I have yet to have one person turn me down, and I have done this in airports and shopping malls and crowded hallways.”

Fishing is physical. Prayer meeting fishers are attentive, engaged, get–up–and–get–out people. Diane Winston writes about the “physicality” of early Salvation Army worship in Red Hot and Righteous. Placid pew–filling inertia is out.

Do you have your fishing license? The seas are full of shoals.

Cast out.

by Colonel Richard Munn

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