Martyschmidt’s Weblog

A Joyful Journey

Sheep Stealing and Shark Fishing August 6, 2008

Filed under: Leadership — martyschmidt @ 2:54 pm

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.


5 Responses to “Sheep Stealing and Shark Fishing”

  1. Jon Says:

    I forget how you do your mailers to people Marty, but I would be surprised if theBridge actually targets fish much. Did the shark catching idea change the way theBridge operates? Did you feel like it just reenforced your hopes for the church and the way you go about reaching people?

    I really liked the analogy by the way. One thing I would add is that once you do get fish or sharks in your boat, it is important that they in turn do some fishing and sharking (is this a word?) instead of waiting for the original fishermen (and women) to get more. I think that is also something growing churches can fall into. This is a big topic so I’ll stop. We can chat about it later.

  2. We all are guilty about putting a few fish in just to make us feel better. Sharks are hard to catch and kind of scary but boy, when you land one, you know you’ve caught it now don’t you?

    Good stuff

  3. Wow, great analogy about the sharks. It sure is hard to snag a shark when you’re hanging out with a bunch of fresh-water fish. Need to find my way into some rougher waters more often.

  4. […] Sheep Stealing and Shark Fishing Part 2 August 8, 2008 Filed under: Leadership — martyschmidt @ 4:59 pm To read part one, click here. […]

  5. […] Sheep Stealing And Shark Fishing Part 3 August 18, 2008 Filed under: Uncategorized — martyschmidt @ 8:01 am In my first post I gave a defination as to what I mean by Sheep Stealing and Shark Fishing (here) […]

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