When Marti Wolcott was a brand new Christian and a stewardess (pre-“flight attendant” days), she heard that you could let the Bible fall open and blindly point your finger at a verse and God would lead you to His personal message for your life. Fully believing this, she tried it, and landed on Matthew 28:18-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Convinced that this command was directed specifically to her and that God had given her the whole world to reach, she started by setting up a chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Airline Personnel in Los Angeles, selecting a Board of Christian pilots she met while working her flights, and setting up major events for airline employees to which she invited people she knew and met on her flights to come and speak like Hal Lindsey, Barry McGuire and evangelist Lane Adams. Hundreds came to Christ. Hundreds more were led by these through the process of multiplication. She then carried on the idea to other cities and domiciles across the country. She was basically taking on the whole airline industry — small potatoes to Marti, except that she had made a deal with God that she would get the airlines first as long as He would let her have the world next.
A couple of years later, someone gave her a copy of my album, “Still Life.” She didn’t know me from Adam, and was less impressed with my talent, but soon after that, she had the vision I mentioned yesterday of a circus net without poles that stretched as far as you could see, but what I didn’t tell you yesterday was that hovering over that net she saw me — the guy she didn’t even know on the album cover. Why would she have a vision of a perfect stranger? Little did she know that she was to meet that stranger through mutual friends, fall in love and become Marti Fischer. Marti was elated. Now she had someone with a similar mission to join forces with her. And when the world wide web came into being years later, everything came into focus. Soon the Catch was formed, and the Board of Directors after much deliberation charged us with the vision: “To introduce the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to everyone, everywhere.” Marti had her calling back; look out world.
Except that John was somewhere off on another planet content to write his daily Catch as long as it fit into the bigger vision, while leaving the real fulfillment of that vision to Marti and others. That’s a confession, by the way, and a statement of resolve that it won’t happen anymore. I’m ready now. I get it. The Catch is no longer just a blog; it is a multi-generational community of believers all in training as disciples to make disciples who will introduce the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to everyone, everywhere. No longer spectators, we are workers in the field. This Catch Ministry belongs to all of us, not just a few of us, and certainly not just me.
Fred Rogers has staying power. A popular documentary and now a feature film about his life indicate how he has not left the consciousness of the generations he touched. In an article in The Times today about Joanne Rogers, Fred’s wife, Joanne talked about how people admired her husband and marveled about his character and what he accomplished, as if he were way beyond what they could ever aspire to. “People invariably say, ‘Well I can’t do that, but sure do admire him. I would love to do it.’ Well you can do it,” says Joanne. “I’m convinced there are lots of Fred Rogers out there.”
And there are lots of you out there. This vision belongs to all of us. I may have gotten a late start, but I believe that you and I and the Board of Directors can yet fulfill Marti’s verse in our lifetime. I’m in; are you?