When I was a young boy my father said, “Son, I want to teach you how to fish.” I was so excited. I knew my dad loved fishing and I always wanted to do anything that he loved to do. So we packed up our gear and headed to my Uncle Bill’s lake.
When we arrived, we unpacked our gear and dad gave me his fatherly advice to watch out for snakes and to speak softly so we wouldn’t scare off the fish. Then my father did something that was a game changer. He placed in my hands a rod and reel. He said, “Son, this is a Zebco 33. It is the most simple and reliable fishing reel ever made.” He taught me that to use the reel I could simply push the button, hold it down, and let go of the button as I flipped my wrist. In just a short time and with only a few practices, I could actually cast out the bait. By placing a Zebco 33 in my hands and teaching me a simple process for fishing, my dad taught me how to fish when I was just a boy. My wonderful dad is now in heaven, but thanks to his loving instruction, I can still catch fish with a Zebco 33.
Think about this. How hard would it be for a child to catch a fish without the loving instruction of a father and a simple tool like a Zebco 33? It would be next to impossible. The lake may be full of fish and there may be an eagerness to catch them. However, without being taught how to fish, a child would not know where to begin. He or she might dive in the lake, swim around looking for a fish, and try to catch one with bare hands. It is not going to happen. After many failed attempts, even a determined child would eventually give up and conclude that fishing is just not his or her thing.
No loving father would ever do this. One would never take his child fishing and not teach him or her how to fish with a simple tool like a Zebco 33. Yet, this is exactly what we often do in our churches.
We talk constantly about fishing for men and making disciples. We preach passionately about reaching the lost for Christ. However, we often fail to teach our people how to fish for men and fail to provide a simple tool for disciple-making. We leave them to learn for themselves how to make disciples. After many failed attempts, they eventually give up and conclude that disciple-making is just not their thing.
This is a major spiritual dilemma with immeasurable consequences. Millions of believers could be great disciple-makers if we would just teach them how and equip them with a simple tool for this purpose.
I’m Bill Wilks. I’ve been lead pastor at NorthPark Church in Trussville, AL, for over eighteen years and I am a disciple-maker. I am also the author of D-Life. D-Life is a Zebco 33 for fishing for men. The goal of D-Life is to equip believers with a biblical disciple-making process and to empower believers with a simple disciple-making tool for living a lifestyle of disciple-making—anytime and anywhere. D-Life is not a program; it’s a lifestyle. Churches and ministries in 27 states and 6 different countries are using D-Life to equip believers for a lifestyle of disciple-making and for church planting.
I look forward to sharing more about D-Life at the Go Georgia Conference in Macon, GA, on August 17-18. I will lead breakout sessions on Leading Transition from a Discipleship Program to a Disciple-Making Culture and Leading Your Church as a Disciple-Making Pastor. I hope to see you there.