1 Whopper of a Fishing Tale — But It’s True!


You’ll chuckle at this children’s minister’s seeming failure.


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I guess I’ve always felt that, sooner or later, it was going to happen: the one colossal ministry disaster that would forever brand me as “that crazy children’s director we once had.”

Maybe this was it.

I was asked to come up with an idea for an evening Sunday school event. I prayed a dutiful—if somewhat abbreviated—prayer for God’s guidance. At that instant, a Fishers of Men Night popped into my head. Sounds like a safe concept, right? A real fishpond in the parking lot! Every child would catch a fish to take home and eat.

Now that’s a multisensory experience! (Suffice it to say I’ve since learned that instantaneous popping is not necessarily an indication that the Holy Spirit’s cooking up a good idea.)

But being a real advocate of hands-on learning, I thought this particular “inspiration” was not to be denied. Besides, it would be fun! It would be exciting! It would be creative! What it was, was a mess!

I called trout-fishing outfits to book a date. After 10 long-distance calls, I found someone who could set up a tank for $250 and sell me the 9- to 11-inch fish for $1.25 apiece.

“By the way,” the man said, “I don’t advise doing this in the summer. The water needs to be cool.”

I guess since I couldn’t afford his price, I thought I didn’t need to heed his advice. I chalked it up as a bad attitude.

Undaunted, I found another guy who sold fish but wasn’t into the tank business. His fish cost the same but were two inches longer! That gave me the incentive to find my own tank. I said I’d get back to him later. By the way, was he mumbling something about the weather in July?

I advertised our need for a free above-ground pool for three weeks with no response. It was now the end of May, and local stores were selling small pools. Why not? It was cheaper than renting, and we could sell it afterward. We got a great deal on a 12-foot pool.

Behind every intense-type children’s director, you’ll likely find Wonderful Spouse (very akin to a super hero) who’ll spend a couple of days assembling an above-ground pool. Now, how could I have known that we’d have to haul in dirt?

Meanwhile, back at the fish farm, the trout had now grown longer so the price was higher. Twenty dollars a pound was starting to sound like a bargain. I ordered 150 of the 14- to 16-inch trout, and my friendly fish farmer said he could lend me an aerator. He could also sell me chemicals to dechlorinate our city water.

1 Whopper of a Fishing Tale — But It’s True!
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  1. Aw~ I love this “hands on” messy lesson! This will preach too…what to do when fish aren’t biting…
    Thankyou for sharing! Proud of you!

  2. Elsa J Lucas, First Moravian Church on

    If I read this yesterday, April Fool’s Day, I would have thought this the best April fool joke of all times! Great story and even if a couple of teenage kids got the message it was well worth the effort. Perhaps I would use plastic fish with a coupon for a fish sandwich at one of the fast food places. I know, it wouldn’t be as much fun but I’m really “chicken” to try this one. God Bless.

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