At some point in life, you’ve heard stories about fishermen and fishing. Some are real stories, and some … not so much. But have you ever heard stories about fishers of men? In northern Brazil, more than 1,700 teenagers participated in a Teen Media Webinar for media directors under the theme “Fisher” on June 18 and 19, 2021.
According to event organizer Eliane Lopes, director of children’s and adolescent ministries in the Brazilian states of Bahia and Sergipe, the initiative is part of preparing young people for digital evangelism. “The idea is to offer insights and practical communication tips to expand the reach of the missionary work of adolescents in their online communities,” Lopes explained.
The Fisher Project
Lopes shared that inspiration for the initiative came from Jesus’ words when He called some of His disciples, telling them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19, NKJV). “In saying this, Jesus was promising to train those men for such an honorable task that it is only by God’s grace that someone can become part of it,” Lopes explained. “Instead of fishing for fish, those disciples would fish for men for the kingdom of God.”
Lopes pointed out what the Bible makes clear — that the disciples called by Jesus answered immediately. “They left their fishing nets and decidedly followed Him,” she emphasized.
Following the biblical model, the webinar was designed to get young people involved at a different moment in history. “Fishing nets have become digital, and it is possible to make good use of them, exalting and proclaiming the news of a resurrected coming Savior,” Lopes said. “This is a digital generation, and they are on social media every day.
“We need to motivate and empower them to be more than consumers: to become content producers with a focus on Jesus Christ. It is a way of building a true army of young people to preach the Word of God,” she said.
In the Fisher project, teenagers undergo a two-month training in eight classes. They study formats such as digital public evangelism, Bible studies with digital tools, missionary pairs, intercessory prayer, and evangelism on social media networks. During this period, each teenager is mentored in the construction of their strategies, and from September 2021, they will start “throwing their nets” in search of people looking to know more about God and His plan for them.
The Digital Generation and Evangelism
According to João Batista, evangelism director in Bahia and Sergipe, seeing this new generation willing to preach the gospel is very encouraging. “We see [Bible] prophecy fulfilled before our eyes,” he said. “We are confident many people will surrender to Jesus and that these young evangelists will live out Christianity and dedicate many years of their lives to serving the Lord.”
For Batista, working together among church departments such as evangelism and children’s and adolescent ministries highlights the importance of integration. “When we join forces, we reduce the load, boost resources, and expand results. We hope that this model may be replicated in each church so that we can finish our mission,” Batista said.