As a boy I'd watch Curt Gowdy on The American Sportsman. Gowdy was an avid fly fisherman. Although I grew up in the South fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, I believed that fly fishing must be the purest form of fishing--and the most beautiful. I had this romantic dream of standing knee-deep in a mountain stream, a glistening fly line rhythmically waving over my head. From my boyhood I wanted to try it!
That time finally came when I moved to North Georgia. I took lessons from a former hippie named Henry. In the 60's he had traveled across the US in a VW van with his fly rod. Quite a character!
I started traveling out west with some friends to Missoula, Montana to fish the Clark Fork, the Bitterroot, and the Black Foot. The first year Jeff Roach and I were assigned a guide named Rich. Rich had come to Missoula to play football at the University of Montana. One beautiful afternoon we were casting dry flies on rising trout. But I was not casting to Rich's satisfaction. After several failed attempts he says to me, obviously frustrated, "George, just sit down and put your rod in the boat!" It was like three days of fly fishing bootcamp--and I truly loved it!
One of those days I was standing in the bow of the boat preparing for a cast. I had a great rhythm going, whipping that fly back and forth over my head in a perfect "S" pattern, visions of Curt Gowdy in my head. On about the sixth back-cast Rich says, "George, there ain't no trout up there! You can't catch fish unless your fly is in the water!" Took the wind right out of my sails... but he was right.
Jesus said, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!" Today there are a plethora of evangelism classes available. I've taken classes in EE, CWT, FAITH, Life On Mission, Sharing Jesus Without Fear... and a dozen others. I can probably share the Gospel fifty different ways. But one thing is for sure: no method works unless you actually use it! The Gospel is the "power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16). The Gospel is not bait--it is the "water of life" that quenches a person's deepest thirst. But to win people to Jesus you've got to "get the fly in the water"... get the Gospel out there so it can do it's work.
If we are following Jesus, and living for His purpose, He will use us to win people to Himself.