Some fisherman use nets. When they find a good spot they can bring in huge hauls, but they almost always drag in fish and debris that they do not want and that will not be kept. For them large numbers of fish are expected. When most people think of evangelism and evangelists, this is what they think of. They envision one man (fisherman) standing and preaching the gospel (throwing out the net) and drawing in crowds of converts. Some fishermen find a “choice” spot or two and some preferred tackle and go there often. The techniques and equipment can vary from a cane pole and a worm, to a bow and arrow, or thousand dollar flexible super fishing poles with state of the art scientific lures, or anything in between. Sometimes these fisherman catch something and sometimes they don’t. For these it usually more about the act itself, but they still have a blast pulling one in. This is basically what most churches teach for evangelism these days. Give the people a chosen technique (are you a good person, wonderful life, paradise to come, whatever…) and teach them how to use it. These may truly want to bring something in, but if they don’t then they will just try a new technique (tackle of choice) or a new spot. If they get a hold of something that they can’t handle it is easy to just cut the line and move on. Then come the noodlers. Most folks think these guys are nuts. They go around in muddy water sticking their bare hands and/or feet into an underwater hole that they can’t see into. There’s no telling what they might get. They might stick their hand into an animal den (muskrat, beaver, snapping turtle, gator, etc…) or even into a knot of snakes. They only know that the fish they want likes these kinds of spots. They risk some severe injury and even death just to land a fish, but they tend to land one the majority of the time. In truth most of them give little thought to the risks involved. This is what real personal evangelism is. It is risky and you can lay hold of some really nasty things, but it is undeniably effective. Mention Jesus at work one time and it can be just like sticking your hand into a nest of vipers, the biting and poison start spreading. Often the snakes even bite some of the other snakes in the ensuing melee. You may share the gospel with that one person that is determined to drag you down because you interrupted their little world (like a snapping turtle or gator they won’t let go). Then we have those that will attack and savage you because they feel threatened, but then they may back off. When you stick your foot into a muskrat or beaver den you are quite likely to pull back a bleeding stump. Then there is the empty hole. You stick yourself out there and nothing happens. It feels like you accomplished nothing, but the risk you took is still profound. You put yourself in harm’s way and even if you had someone helping you or standing by to pull you out, it was still you that was in harm’s way. Regardless of the fishing style used they are all bring in fish. Some people are good fly fishers, but couldn’t bow fish if their life depended on it. One man may routinely bring huge loads with his nets, but get weak in the knees at the thought of noodling. Some always bring something back when they use an old cane pole and whatever bugs were around, but are lousy with a rod and reel. We will all learn the best way by one of three methods: 1) Paying attention to what works as we simply just go for it. 2) We are taught by someone with more experience and knowledge. 3) A combination of 1 & 2. The specifics of the technique and tools we use can vary greatly, but there is only one way to learn what works for us. Try, Try, and Try again! Most importantly we must remember two simple things. First, we may be the bait, the tackle, or even the bait and the tackle used by the fisherman, but we are not actually the fisherman. The Holy Spirit is the fisherman, and to be effective we must let Him guide and control us. Second, every single fish brought in is “The Big One!” and precious to God.