What is a fisherman who catches no fish?

Imagine you fish for a living because it is the only means of living available to you. Nothing else is possible to make a living. And no safety net, such as welfare or the like, is available to you if you fail at fishing.

In this situation, what is a fisherman who catches no fish? Dead, that’s what.

No fish equals no income. No income means no means to buy food to live. No food means you won’t be alive for very long.

So, there is motivation to be successful at fishing, at catching fish. That means that if one thing doesn’t work to catch fish, you try something else because the method of catching fish is not nearly as important as the goal of actually catching fish. Your continued existence depends absolutely on catching fish no matter what.

Imagine you knew a fisherman who refused to change how s/he fished even though the method used didn’t catch any fish because that was the way s/he had been taught to fish. His/her attitude was, “It worked in the past so it must work now.”

Wouldn’t you think s/he crazy if s/he wasn’t willing to try something different when the old way was demonstrated to no longer work? I would think so.

Welcome to the way many followers of Christ approach the mission of building God’s kingdom. The way things have been done are more important than the mission itself. If the way things are done and organized (meaning preferences and styles and programs and efforts) are no longer drawing people into the kingdom, for many followers, that is not enough to warrant changing how things are done. That just demonstrates the reality that those followers place a higher value and priority on how things are done rather than on the mission itself.

Are there ways that probably shouldn’t be tried to accomplish the mission? Sure, but even the Apostle Paul, when commenting to the Philippian believers about those who were preaching the gospel solely and purely out of a desire to cause trouble for him, rejoiced when people were responding to the gospel even though impure motives were present.

Just because a change of method in finding success in the mission is necessary doesn’t mean that the former method was wrong. It only means that that former method was right for that prior time but not for today. Because all that matters is the mission and having success in that mission.

And just like that fisherman, who refused to change methods when the old ones no longer caught any fish, died, a congregation who refuses to change methods and forego preferences that no longer draw people in and connect them with God (the mission), will also die.

The thing that is important is the mission (which includes the message), not how that is accomplished.

And how would I respond if there is a refusal to change even though that method/means no longer is having any success?

Have a nice death.

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