In the classic movie A River Runs Through It, Brad Pitt's character (Paul) is lousy at life but pretty darn good at fly fishing. At one point he says something like, "It won't be long till I'll be able to think like a fish!"

The best church leaders see value in learning to "think like a fish," yet many of us think less like a fish and more like the captain of a charter boat. The longer we serve the church, the more removed from the streams, lakes, and seas we become. The result is that our thinking gets limited, our instincts get dulled, and we forget what life in the water is like.

Who can blame us? After all, even our most dedicated church members get five or six days to swim around in the real world in between their trips aboard the boat. But we can't get away. Life in the church eventually gets to us and we wake up one day to realize that we know more about the boat than we do the fish. And this makes us lousy fishermen! What we need to do is to quit church.

I admit it: from 1998 through ...

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