Some fishermen might describe the feeling of hooking a monster bass as a religious experience, but for the local members of Fishers of Men, that description is more accurate than it would be elsewhere. The nondenominational ministry combines tournament fishing and faith in a unique arrangement that also serves to introduce kids to the sport. According to Illinois Central Legacy Division Director Barry Featheringill, it’s all about giving thanks for fellowship and a rewarding hobby.

“It’s wonderful to catch a great big bass, but it’s also wonderful to embrace the fellowship of all those other Christians on the water at a tournament,” he said. “The legacy division is composed of teams with one member over 19 years old and one member under 19. It’s still competitive, but it’s a great way of introducing young people to the sport of tournament fishing while also reaching out with a Christian message.”

The Fishers of Men name refers to passages from the Christian gospels themselves – specifically, Jesus telling two of his disciples who were themselves fishermen that he would make them “fishers of men” who would draw others to the new church. Featheringill sees the same mission in the tournament fishing organization.

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