Networking always offers surprises and new opportunities for learning. This week I launched my book, The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus, at a national church conference, where I also attended an alumni meeting for my undergraduate alma mater. Right away as I walked into the meeting, Danny Duvall—one of my era’s football heroes and a first-rate student and preacher—stepped up and greeted me. Danny has had a great career as an evangelist and pastor, and I felt pleased that he immediately knew me and had kept up with my career trajectory. As students, we ran in different circles and probably never had even two or three conversations despite taking a few classes together. But we immediately re-connected as friends, 30 years after graduating from college.
After teasing me about setting the curve on Greek exams too often as a student, Danny asked me if I had discussed Paul’s use of the word katartizo in the book. He referenced Ephesians 4:12 where it says God has given the church apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists “to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” Danny explained to me that katartizo refers to the “mending of nets” and that Matthew 4:21 uses it to describe James and John mending their fishing nets. I had to confess that this little pearl from the Greek had escaped my attention (and Danny must have noticed that he had just aced the real-life Greek test I had flunked!) Very nerdly of me.
The translation “equipping the saints” suffices nicely to convey the meaning of Ephesians 4:12, but by not looking at the fishy connotation of the Greek original, I lost the “net” work connection. Katartizo means “to complete thoroughly, i.e. repair (lit. or fig.) or adjust:—fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect, [perfectly] join together, prepare, [or] restore.” Galatians 6:1 uses it to exhort us to restore Christians who have fallen into sin.
Just like Christ calls the “executive officers” of the church to katartize the Church, he calls people in any field of work to serve as menders and equippers of the Kingdom Net. As we “perfect,” “complete,” “mend,” “weave,” “fit,” and “restore” our networks, we keep the conduits of the Kingdom open. We keep God’s fishing net ready for the water, ready for a catch.
The work of fishers mending their nets provides a powerful metaphor for network maintenance. As Danny pointed out to me, the main tasks of net maintenance after a day’s fishing include:
(2) mending, and
Cleaning removes weeds, sticks, bones, rocks and other garbage from the nets. Mending repairs the torn places, so valuable fish will not escape from the net. Folding prepares the nets for easy deployment on the next fishing session. Wise Kingdom workers will develop the same disciplines for maintaining their networks. The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus offers detailed advice for network maintenance.
Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington. He is the author of Your Deepest Dream: Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus. Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.
 Strong, J. (2009). Vol. 1: A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (40). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.