Net fishing for people? New Testament net fishing doesn’t work if you don’t have a network of people connected heat-to-heart with the living Jesus and with one another. As the inner spiritual knots that tied the earliest Christians together loosened and came undone, many Christians shifted from heart-to-heart connections to institutional connection. They turned from ekklesia (being knit together by the free flowing of the internal rivers of the living Jesus) to church (being held together by external human organizations).
Human hearts can connect beautifully with other human hearts, but they can’t connect well with institutions. The New Testament ekklesia is united heart-to-heart and overflows with the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit (the inner workings of the risen Jesus) creating a beautiful climate of Christ’s presence that works as a net to continually draw people to Him. Church connection, however, is based on baiting people and hooking them with religious candy, coercion, and control.
Revival and spiritual awakening have never broken out when Christians are confined to passive Sunday sermon-hearing. The more Christ-followers begin to experience and obey the risen Jesus together, the more they move beyond institutionalism and into the unity of the Spirit. Check out Emil Brunner’s, a world-famous Swiss theologian who died in 1966, thoughts on this.