By Gary Miller
During the end of January, outdoor activities get much slower. To be sure, there are ample opportunities like catching crappie and killing ducks, but the weather can be a real hindrance for those of us who like longer and warmer days. I really do wish I had more time to enjoy this time of year. In my early adult days, these few weeks were filled with time at the lake catching fish. Now they are mostly a rest period before the spring comes around. If there is one change in my outdoor activities these next couple of months that I would like to make, it is spending a few days trying to put some fish in the freezer. It seems that my wife likes nothing better than a cooler full walleye or crappie. I think she’s right. My problem is that it’s been several years since I was fluent in knowing exactly where to go to catch these fish. After all, over time, things change. Structure changes, the surrounding environment changes, and fish move as a result. The old places that I once could depend on, may not be as productive as before. For times like these, I need to call a friend who has been catching fish and either beg him to take me or find out where I need to go. The last thing I need to do is spend time guessing, and fishing in a place that has a good history but no present success.
What goes for fish also goes for more important things – like one’s church life. Things change. Some places that once were vibrant and active are now only holding on. Some of this is no one’s fault. It could be that the population dropped or moved to another part of the area. The problem, however, is not how it happened but what are we going to do about it. Let me give you one example.
For many years, I caught striped bass on the Cherokee Lake. Then something happened and the numbers declined and fishing for those bass no longer was an option. We had two choices; we could move to another spot or change what we were doing in order to reach the other fish that were still there. We stayed where we were, switched baits, and begin to catch largemouth with just as much success as we previously had with the striped bass. A church can do the same thing. They can either move to another place or they can reevaluate and change tactics in order to reach the new people who are there. There is no other choice because quitting fishing is not an option.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com