I have a couple of posts I’d like to do on Sheep Stealing and Shark Fishing. In this post I will do a quick overview of what each of those terms mean and follow up with two additional posts offering my thoughts and position on each.
Sheep Stealing – A term most commonly used to describe what happens when members/attendees of one church start attending another church within the same general area. Sheep Stealing is most often directed towards a new or growing church. Rarely do I hear this expression mentioned without bitterness or hurt.
Shark Fishing – A term I heard at the WiBo conference by Vince Antonucci who I respect a great deal and even more so after his announcement of moving to Las Vegas to start a church. At the conference he shared a story of two groups that went shark fishing. The quick version is that the first group set out to go shark fishing but did not do any research. When they went out they caught 42 of fish A, 27 of fish B, 35 of fish C, and 5 sharks. The second group did research on bait, place, and strategies of shark fishing. They went to great lengths to maximize their success. At the end of their day they caught 7 of fish A, 13 of fish B, 19 of fish C, and 31 sharks. After the story Vince asked who had the better day shark fishing? His point was this – those churches that are growing are by and large growing through transfer growth not conversion growth. He strongly challenged churches to quit targeting fish and start targeting sharks. Sharks being those who are currently not believers. Our team that went to this conference wrestled over this for several weeks.
So there you have it as I understand it. The definition of Sheep Stealing and Shark Fishing. If you have other thoughts or questions about either one of these explanations feel free to fire away. In the meantime I look forward to sharing my thoughts behind both.