Last week I had the opportunity to meet with the men in my Zoom group of business owners at beautiful Lake Chelan in Washington state. This is a group of men committed to serving the Lord and each other well. All their stories are amazing. I'll share more in future blogs. But, this one relates directly to my last blog on marketing and the stages of evangelism.
Dave Cole, founder of Outward-Focused Network, took me fishing Tuesday and Wednesday. I grew up fishing a little bit but hadn't been for many years and never like this. He lives in Seattle and fishes in the ocean and lakes for stuff like Halibut and King Salmon that I just see in nice restaurants.
He uses a down-rigger to drop the hook and bait to 20 feet, 50 feet, or more below the surface. Then trolls in the boat looking for the fish which he spots by radar. It was an incredible experience resulting in a 5-star breakfast of grilled Kokonee Salmon.
As we trolled, Dave and I talked about our shared passion to help churches focus their ministry outward. I shared some of what I've learned about marketing and the tools to help that Churchteams has developed. Then we began catching fish.
As we reeled in and netted several fish, Dave pointed out the dorsal fin. Fish that are hatched in a hatchery and released into lakes have this fin removed. That's how you distinguish between wild fish and hatchlings. We were catching wild fish.
Hatchlings are used to coming to the surface to eat. That's how they grew up. That's what they know. To catch wild fish, you have go below the surface. Way below the surface. It's a different type of fishing.
This became a metaphor for our discussion the rest of the week. Hatchlings are people who are ready to respond to a surface-level invitation to come to a church gathering (large or small). They already know what church is like and with a little nudge from a friend or a mailer, they'll bite.
Wild fish, on the other hand, aren't familiar with this behavior. The invitation to church is a foreign concept. But, they are hungry. Hungry for purpose, freedom and peace. We just have to go where they are instead of expecting them to come to us. Marketers know how to do this. They do it all the time and it works.
Outward Focused Network has some great tools to help you think about catching wild fish. We have the rigging to help you make it happen. It has been fun to watch some of you guys change your website and social content to identify with pain (hunger) and offer non-threatening content solutions. These come in the form of funnels to help hurt people become curious. Then curious people to become willing. Then you invite willing people to gather and build a funnel to help them become committed.
Here's a summary illustration of our thinking so far.
I'd love to hear your thoughts as we work together to become more outward focused to catch wild fish in addition to hatchlings. If you're interested in exploring this more with me, email me back. I'm thinking about putting together a Zoom group / Roundtable of CT wild fish experimenters.