|AG National Men's Ministries Director Tom Greene (left) with professional bass fisherman Chris Neau.|
Some people dream of spending their
days out on the water fishing, but for Chris Neau, professional bass angler, it's
At the age of 15, Neau attended the 1989 Bassmaster Classic at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. As he sat among the 40,000 attendees he felt the presence of the Lord with him. "The Lord told me that professional bass fishing would be the way I would glorify Him," says Neau.
Over the following years, the water called to him. "The more time I spent fishing, the more peace I felt," Neau says.
In 2000, Neau's family moved to California. "I researched the area we were moving to and found that we would be within 45 minutes of the California Delta, one of the top fishing spots in the world," he says. It was there where he earned a role as a co-angler.
At the age of 24, the Lord spoke to
Neau and told him that he would one day compete on the professional level in
bass fishing. "I was working at Safeway and was $20,000 short of having
enough to be able to go on tour. But the Lord kept telling me I'd go full-time
fishing in 2005," he says.
At the end of 2004, Neau took a step of faith and submitted notice to his boss, indicating he would be quitting at the end of the year. It didn't take long for him to receive confirmation from the Lord in an unexpected meeting with his boss. "The next week my boss said that Safeway wanted to offer me a buyout in the amount of $21,000," says Neau.
In 2005, Neau made the move to full-time professional bass fishing and quickly reached his peak within the first two years. His swift rise to success proved to be problematic, though, as he allowed his pride to take over. "As a young kid my pride got so big in life that I thought I could do it all by myself. That's when I lost everything, including my sponsorships," says Neau. In the midst of this setback, he began to rely on God again and felt the same peace and presence he had years before.
In 2010, during a tournament in Shasta, California, Neau received the confirmation he needed. "As I weighed in that day, the director of FLW (Forrest L. Wood tournament circuit) congratulated me and told me I'd been invited to be part of the FLW majors," says Neau. The FLW Majors is considered by bass anglers to be the largest and most prestigious bass tournament trail in the world. The opportunity showed him that the call God had once placed on his life was still there.
Participating in tournaments and speaking engagements across the country, Neau shares his story and his faith with adults and teens, with many telling him that the message of a second chance resonates with them. Churches often bring Neau in to conduct a bass fishing seminar, which begins with his personal testimony.
"People in professional sports can reach a different group of people than pastors can. If the church holds a fishing seminar on Saturday and announces that I'll be coming back on Sunday to share my testimony in service, either in a five to ten minute format or for the entire service, it can attract guys who wouldn't normally come to church," he says.
Sharing a passion for reaching the lost, AG Men's Ministries has partnered with
Neau to reach men through his fishing seminars nationwide. "I know that
the celebrity of sports figures can often get the attention of men when many of
our other attempts at evangelism go unnoticed," says Tom Greene, Men's
Ministries national director.
With this in mind, Men's Ministries recently agreed to become a jersey sponsor for Neau. "Our national team responded positively to be one of Chris' jersey sponsors out of respect to the many thousands of our own Assemblies of God outdoorsmen," Greene says. "In addition, outdoor sports play an amazing role in our 'Reach, Teach, Release' strategy in AG Men's Ministries. We are blessed to have Chris represent us in events from coast to coast."
For more information on AG Men's Ministries, see men.ag.org.
Editor's note: This article has been condensed. To read the full article about Neau, click here.