Fishers of Men

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Living in Israel for the past five years, I have spent time with both shepherds and fishermen. Today’s video short brings to life Matthew 4:18-19 where we learn that Peter is a fishermen on the Sea of Galilee who leaves everything to follow Jesus. In turn, Jesus promises Peter that he will make him a fisher of men. Yet, at the end of the gospels, still on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and after a miraculous catch of fish, Jesus gives his final charge to the fisherman Peter by instructing him to “Feed my lambs…Take care of my sheep…Feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17

The nature of fishing and shepherding are very different. And yet, each human soul needs both. Fishing is about catching while shepherding is about caring, providing and protecting. The Bible also makes this distinction between the nature of the spiritual gifts of evangelism and pastoring. My experience has been that evangelism is like fishing, while pastoring is synonymous with shepherding.

Jesus provided Peter with both of these gifts. Soon Peter would go fishing in Jerusalem and with the gospel he would net 3,000 souls for the kingdom of heaven (Acts 2). Now he had 3,000 souls to feed and care for. He did both in obedience to the One who had caught and cared for his own soul. My prayer has always been to have within our ministry a heart for both of these gifts and to see them functioning together at the heart of the church, whom like Peter, Jesus commissioned to both fish and shepherd the souls of people.





  1. DAve Wright on September 24, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Great video, Joel! I will always remember being at the Sea of Galilee with you and our group. It is burned in my mind forever! Thanks for the brief trip back!

    Blessings to you, Cathy, and your kids!

  2. Freed from Slavery on September 24, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Thank you Joel. You put me back in a beautiful place, in the waters of the Sea of Galilee. The place where Jesus called Peter to take a step of faith and “Come” walk with Me.

  3. Ruth on September 24, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    My spirit soars when I contemplate our dear brothers and sisters who are evangelizing and pastoring. I praise God for you, Joel and Cathy, and your unique ministry in Israel that is bringing glory and honor to our LORD.

    One of my favorite encouragements comes from a New Tribes missionary, who wrote: ” Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.” Only eternity will completely reveal how your lives are producing fruit that matters beyond our understanding.

    I am asking God to give you stamina, wisdom and joy as you are continuing to be fishermen and shepherds.

  4. Dave on September 25, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    We are called to go, teach and baptize in his name, the blessed name of Jesus. I will go to my death pleased that I heard about the need for Jesus in my young life at about 8 years of age. I trust I will never look back into my past, but only to remember at even a young age his holy spirit touched me. Thank you Lord.

  5. Chip Thompson on September 27, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    In Israel the Bible comes to life! My trips to Israel have forever changed the way I view the Bible. Thanks for this great short clip that gives us a real life view of the fishermen disciples. Keep up the good work. See you in May!!!

  6. Efren on March 25, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    Great Video Joel, I loved it.


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