Love of fishing opens doors to ministry
Lonnie Wilkey : Editor Tennessee Baptist & Reflector
MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (BP)—When Tony Sellars was a young boy, he used to go fishing with his grandfather, Calvin Helton, a longtime Tennessee Baptist pastor.
“I got hooked on fishing,” Sellars remembers.
Fishing and the outdoors have been part of Sellars’ life ever since. He began fishing in tournaments and professionally.
Sellars, a member of Manley Church in Morristown, Tenn., has combined his love for fishing and the outdoors with his love for Jesus Christ. In 1999 Sellars and his wife, Sharon, established Anglers for Christ, a ministry based in Morristown.
The ministry was founded “to bring Christ to lives through fishing and the great outdoors,” Sellars said.
The Gospel is presented through many events such as kids’ fishing camps, wild game dinners and more, said Sellars, an ordained minister and full-time evangelist.
The mission statement for Anglers for Christ is simple: “Everyone needs Christ in their life. Knowing that some will not actively seek him, we want to use fishing and the great outdoors to bring Christ to them. Therefore we are heeding God’s call to minister to the lost and be ‘Fishers of Men.’”
Sellars said his ministry follows the example of Jesus.
“Jesus hung out with the fishermen, not the golfers,” he laughed.
On the serious side, he observed that during Jesus’ time, fishermen were considered “the lowest of the low, but Jesus had a special place for them in his heart.”
As part of his ministry, Sellars has hosted a syndicated fishing show for almost 10 years. Each episode ends with the plan of salvation, Sellars said.
The ministry continues to expand. Sellars has a heart for children, and much of his ministry is geared toward reaching children for Christ through fishing camps and events.
Now, Sellars and his wife are in the process of constructing a camp for children on 22 acres they have purchased near Morristown. Through the camp, the Sellars’ desire to “get kids away from TV, malls and video games” into the outdoors, he said.
The camp will include cabins, a dining hall, a three-acre lake and a fishing pond.
“We want to get kids back to the outdoors and back to the basics,” he said.
During camps, they will teach the kids how to fish and canoe, among other things.
“Most importantly, we will teach them about Christ,” Sellars pledged.
He noted there are so many things in today’s culture that compete for the attention of today’s children and “most of it is not good.”
“We want to get kids back to the simpler life,” he said, noting that the highlight of most camps they have conducted has been time around the campfire at night.
“God commands us to be fishers of men and to go out and spread the Gospel. That’s what we do,” Sellars said.
He said they hope to have the new camp in operation by next summer.
For more information about Sellars’ ministry, visit www.anglersforchrist.com.