Did you know that the fish is the oldest Christian symbol? The symbol of a fish was used by the early persecuted church as a code name for Christ in order to avoid arrest and execution by Roman authorities. Today, we as Christians still use the fish symbol – mostly seen on the backs of vehicles to declare our faith!
Jesus ate fish, cooked fish, taught from fishing boats & many of His disciples were fisherman in Peter, Andrew, James & John! So Jesus was using a great analogy when he said to them “Come, follow me and I will send you out to fish for people!” Matthew 4:19
The most popular form of fishing in Jesus day’ around Galilee was using a circular cast-net about 20 feet in diameter, with weights of lead attached to the ends. One fisherman would usually fling the net from the shore or boats. It required great skill since it had to open completely when it landed on the water trapping the fish underneath it. To catch as many fish as possible, the fisherman would “Cast his net” at the “Best time” of day, which was when the fish would “Come Out” from the deep to feed near the surface – this was usually when the water was at it’s coolest temperature!
When it comes to youth ministry, there are some great parallels we can learn here on how to effectively “Cast the net to catch teens” for Jesus! For example…
#1 Cast your nets when teens come out!
Teenagers living in the 21st century are busy – school, homework, sports, friends, social media, tv, video games, etc! So reaching them on a large-scale can be tricky! One effective way we have found to “Cast the net” is by organizing big events a couple of times throughout the year at strategic times when students have more free time on their hands to “Come out” for a fun event! A great time that we have found to catch a large school of teens is when school gets out!
Last week our youth ministry put on our first annual “Outa School Bash” event which was sponsored by Chick-Fil-A, featuring free chicken sandwiches as well as a giant cow mascot (All for free)! You can’t have an “Outa School Bash” without something to bash on right?! So we brought in a car from the junk-yard for students take their energy out on as well as a dunk tank, basketball, etc. We drew one of our largest crowds ever, which leads us to the 2nd key…
Use fun, exciting, tasty & even dumb natural things that teens will bite, like a car-bash & free food to draw students to “Come out” to your event where they will also get the spiritual as well!
After the outside activities finished, we transitioned inside our facility for the rock & rap show where the Christian artists shared their testimonies & the love of God. Next our Power Team performed feats of strength by breaking bricks & painting the picture that “Christ can break your depression, addiction or any chain in your life!” Lastly, we “Cast the net” as the good news of Jesus was proclaimed & many raised their hands & came forward to meet Jesus & receive prayer! Praise God!