Take Them to the Streets

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ And immediately, they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:17-18 (ESV)

I’m captivated by this and I wrestle with it everyday. Jesus did something here that frankly, we just don’t do very well. I don’t know if it’s because we don’t trust Him, we don’t trust the Holy Spirit…I don’t know. But everyday, I wrestle with what Jesus did here with His first followers.

One thing…He didn’t go after the religious elite. In fact, He went in the exact opposite direction. He found uneducated, ordinary guys. Fishermen. When He called them to follow Him, they had no idea who He was, where they were going, what they would do, or why it was important.

But, immediately, they dropped their nets, left everything that was comfortable and known, and followed Him.

And they didn’t even ask the most obvious question beyond those I just mentioned above. “Uhh, Jesus, what the heck does it mean to fish for men? Fish for fish, we got that. But fish for men…we’re a bit confused.” For some reason, it didn’t even matter. They just followed.

Now, here comes the wrestling match for me. What did Jesus do with these uneducated, ordinary guys that left everything they knew to follow Him?

Did Jesus lead them to a classroom and take them through the 10 points of being a disciple? Did he distribute notebooks with fill in the blank outlines and say, “Pay attention and take notes, boys…?”

No. He didn’t take his new, impressionable, uneducated, ordinary followers to the classroom. He took them to the streets.

The next part of Mark 1 finds these new followers listening and watching Jesus as he taught about the Kingdom of God to the crowd gathered in the synagogue in Capernaum. They watched as He cast out a demon and followed as He left the synagogue to heal Simon’s mother in-law. That night, they saw the huge crowd gather and watched as Jesus healed many who were sick. The next morning, they woke up only to find their new leader was already awake and was off by Himself praying. They found Him and followed Him on to the next towns for more preaching, more healing, and more praying.

No classroom. No fill in the blanks. No Survivor Kits.

Jesus skipped the classroom and went to the streets. His new followers learned what it meant to follow Jesus and fish for men by going with Him, watching Him, learning from Him, and then engaging in the work themselves.

What does this say to us who lead churches and attempt to lead people to love, worship, and follow Jesus with their whole lives? What does this say to people who have surrendered their lives to Jesus and now think they have to learn something before they can do anything for Jesus?

That’s where I wrestle. I’ll share some more throughout the week. Would love to hear your thoughts, if you have any on the matter.


9 Comments on “Take Them to the Streets”

  1. Carlos Rivera says:

    Jay, I can really relate to your article. When I was radically saved in 1987, I just wanted to serve God and His people with everything I had. I was saved on a Sunday morning and that next Friday night, I went to intercessory prayer (which I didn’t even know what that was at the time) just to get out of my apartment because I knew my doorbell would ring or my phone would ring with someone wanting to come over and get high. Intercessory prayer was over by 9:30pm which was still too early for me to go home. A team of young people would go out street witnessing afterwards so I asked if I could tag along. I did’nt know anything about the bible but I was told I could pray for the people under my breath will others witness to them. I was so excited about what Jesus had done in my life that I began by praying but ended up sharing my testimony with the people we were witnessed to. People listened and a couple of people got saved that night just by sharing what Jesus had done in my life. My new christian friends said that I was “ignorance on fire”. I learned more on the streets of Richmond, Virginia witnessing every Friday night then any classroom I’ve been in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-education or anti-discipleship but I believe that Jesus did On-The-Job training which is very effective. The real world experience is much more valuable then sitting around a classroom talking about fishing…take them out to the pond and teach them to fish! Many evangelism teachers teach all the techniques in a classroom when they should be taking people by the hand and lead by example. The excitement and enthusiasm will be contagious and 22 years later, I’m still on fire for God! I rather see the miracle of salvation then hear a thousand sermons!! God bless you and thank you for writing this article. The harvest is waiting!!

  2. Julie says:

    Thanks. Sometimes I feel lonely or crazy for thinking we need to GO AFTER the lost in our community…my thoughts and drives seem so outlandish in my church. They say they want to reach the lost and they work hard at their programs, but I don’t see us reaching the lost. There are about 4 people who feel like I do and I wonder why we’re still here. God just hasn’t released us from this church for some reason, I guess. I don’t have a peace about leaving this church and joining the church down the street that has the same values and ideas I have about reaching people. I still like a lot of these folks in my church, but they are very shortsighted and self-centered when it comes to going fishing. I have no idea why I’m writing this. I guess I just feel good when I find someone else who thinks like I do. Thanks again.

  3. […] post here on what Jesus did with his disciples (he took them to the streets).  Do the pastors we admire do […]

  4. Ginger says:

    I just love love love this text!!! My husband and I are all about reaching the lost!!! Mark 1:17-18 show us we don’t have to have schooling to fish for men! Just a relationship with Jesus! We do need to know and believe our Word and the Spirit within us! Now as far as being a pastor, schooling is needed, or else you will have the blind leading the blind! I have seen so many pastors quit because they were not equipped well enough for lack of schooling!! I know no one wants to go to school for preaching, after all, this is the passion that God put in them, want He give them the words they need when they stand to preach? God will give them the words, but He honors the perserverence of hard work! He expects His under-shepherds to know His Word, for His Word is life. Even in Elijah’s day, they had prophet schools, Paul new the Old Testament prettymuch by heart and after meeting Jesus withdrew for three years and spent time with the apostles. So, every christian doesn’t have to go to seminary, they just need a relationship with Jesus and to know His Word!

  5. […] Jay Hardwick is takin’ it to the streets. […]

  6. jearwood says:

    Good points. It’s not true that they had no idea who Jesus was though. Andrew and John were disciples of John the Baptist who had publicly proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah and who pointed Jesus out to the two of them specifically in John 1:29. Jesus had also already healed many people, cast out demons and preached in the Synagogues before calling the first disciples. (Luke 4 and 5). He also performed a miracle by filling Peter’s nets before calling Peter. Jesus would have been very well known to at least Peter, John and Andrew at the time Jesus called on them to leave their nets and follow Him.

    It doesn’t take away from the fact that they gave up their regular lives to follow Jesus, but it wasn’t like Jesus just walked up to random strangers and said, “follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men.”

  7. jayhardwick says:

    @jearwood – you are right – my choice of words weren’t the best in saying they had no idea who Jesus was. thanks for the insight and contribution!

  8. Julie says:

    So, Jay, why do so many Christians oppose churches that have different ideas (and uphold the gospel) and see many lives turned to Christ? My mind cannot fathom why they turn their noses up and make fun of churches like Saddleback, Newspring, Northpoint, and Life Church (craig groeschel). I want to ask people like that if they’re really Christians if they aren’t excited about people coming to know Jesus. Some insight, please. I am trying to decide if I should stay in my current church where there is a lot of attitude like this, or move down the road to a church that is open to innovative ideas. Thank you.

  9. vee says:


    Before you leave from where you are first pray and ask God if this is where He wants you to be…He might just have you there to make a diffence, seek the kingdom first and remember what Jesus says ” The church is within you”

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