Sorry for the length between posts. I was away attending the NC and Western NC Conferences of the United Methodist Church.
One of the things I was able to do at the NC Annual Conference was to share a little bit about our partner Thriving Rural Churches, and also about the picture above. Here's what I said:
Our Thriving Rural Churches would probably tell you that their congregations are about like this guy and his granddaughter. Donald Hayes was fishing with his little granddaughter Alyssa one afternoon in Wilkes County when she had to run in and potty, so Donald was left holding her 2 and a ½ foot hot pink Barbie Doll rod and reel. The next thing he knew, he felt a tug, and on the other end was that monster. “Shucks,” he though, “I’ll never hold this.” He struggled with it for 25 minutes: his granddaughter kept yelling at him, “Papa, you’re going to break my fishing rod!” But he kept fighting it, and finally reeled the thing in: a state record 21-pound channel catfish.
I love the fact the previous record catfish was caught by a man using deep sea gear, including a 100-pound test line, cut eel as bait, a Shimano 6500 Bait Runner reel, and a Tsunami rod. My guess is it wasn’t hot pink. Afterward, the previous record-holder was quoted as saying, “If you use smaller gear, you’ll never get a big catfish to the boat.”
Nobody told Donald that.
Our Thriving Rural Churches would tell you they’ve found it’s not about the size of your fishing pole or your church or what type of reel or bait you are. All they’ve done is to be present at the pond, to be patient, and then to hand their little rod and reel over to bigger, more capable hands: to the fisher of men and women. And taking that risk, they’ve found they haven’t broken, the line hasn’t snapped: they’ve just been able to marvel at the catch.
Can anything good come out of a little 2 and a ½ foot fishing pole?
Come and see.