If you think growing a thriving church in the Northwoods of Wisconsin is challenging, try tackling the project of helping people feel comfortable with evangelism. You know, evangelism, as in talking to people about Jesus.

As Mark Wilson, who does lead a thriving church in the Northwoods, says in his new book, Purple Fish, “Both Christians and non-Christians are uncomfortable about evangelism.”

Yet we Christians know we are supposed to share our faith. So Pastor Wilson has endeavored to make that a little easier by writing a book about how to engage people in conversation – not so much to persuade them as to bless them. In the process it opens doors to minister to lost, broken, hurting people.

When asked about the title, Purple Fish, he said he stumbled across a Greek word while reading a novel and he realized the word encapsulated his passion for rethinking evangelism. The word kalchaino means “to search for purple fish,” which was actually a shellfish highly prized by the Greeks for its rich purple dye. Because divers went to the bottom of the sea in search of this fish, the Greek word came to be an expression for going deep, probing the depths of the soul for something precious.

Pastor Mark realized he had a phrase that combined the idea of fishing and treasure hunting, both of which relate to evangelism. The souls of those who are hurting are precious treasure and Jesus told the disciples he would send them out to “fish for people.”

As Wayne Schmidt, vice-president, Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University, says, “Purple Fish is like engaging conversation with a trusted friend and mentor in a Northwoods coffee shop. Mark Wilson warmly shares his heart and wisdom.”

The book is available from Wesleyan Publishing House.