Jesus told his disciples that he would make them fishers of men. Pastor Wade Compton of the Bradley United Methodist Church, in Greenfield, Indiana, is literally doing just that. The Associated Press reported on August 16, that Pastor Compton has started holding some services in a converted bait store on a lake where the church reaches out to a new breed of worshippers.
"They'll be at ease, and that's exactly where we want them to be. They'll enjoy the music, the fellowship and then after that they get to go out and spend a couple of hours doing some free catch and release fishing in a stocked 10 acre lake that's loaded." – Pastor Compton via AP
What is the church?
The 'fishing church' is a form of outreach, but how does this compare to what the Bible tells believers to do? In the book of Matthew, Jesus told his followers to "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). He did not tell them to come to church, but to GO and make disciples.
In today's church culture many think inviting people to church is the way to reach people for Christ, but Scripture tells us that believers are the church. Church buildings as we know them today did not exist for hundreds of years after Christ's death. The word 'church' in Scripture is derived from the Greek word ekklesia which means 'an assembly.' It does not mean a building but literally means 'called out ones' which are the people who make up the body of Christ. For those first centuries, the church met in homes.
Pastor Compton's approach
Pastor Compton hasn't given up traditional services which are still held at the Bradley United Methodist Church in town, but he is using the lake location to reach out to people who may otherwise not come to church. He told the AP that "Life is short. There's no reason is should be wasted not doing some things that are fun and half-crazy occasionally."
Where the church meets does not change the fact of whether or not they are the church. As believers we are not to neglect the assembling together with other believers. While some may not think meeting at the lake is biblical, they would be right. The early believers wouldn't be meeting in a 'church' building or a converted bait store. In fact, if we really wanted to be a biblical church, we wouldn't have a church building using up God's resources because we'd be meeting from house to house.