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The seventh annual Men's NetWork North American Fishing Tournament begins April 6, and this year there's a twist. While the hunt for big fish remains the same, this year we're focusing on those who do the fishing. In other words, this tournament was originally envisioned as an opportunity for guys to invite their buddies, casual acquaintances, and family members to join in the fun. The thought was this neighborly invite and time spent together would yield some positive results in terms of interaction and, perhaps, even a few extended invitations to church.

While that sort of conversation may have occurred in years past, most anglers registering for the tourney fished alone. Therefore, in an effort to get back to our initial intention, we're zeroing in on "groups" of more than one that will fish together.

Here's how it works: It's still $15 to sign up, and this gets you a Men's NetWork cap and a very nice pocket knife. The rules are basically the same as last year with the exception that this year prizes will be awarded bi-weekly. For example, the tourney begins on Monday, April 6, and the first two-week period ends April 19. We will award prizes based on the largest fish taken during this two-week period. This then will be the pattern for the entire tournament. As in previous years, anglers catching the largest fish in individual categories still win a $10 Bass Pro Shops gift card, along with a 2015 tournament T-shirt for their first win.

In respect to the fishing categories, we'll still post pictures of the current leaders but—and this is the new twist—we'll also post pictures of any and all groups (two or more guys fishing) that send us a picture. Along with these pics, we're looking for descriptions, brief narratives, stories really, that involve guys inviting church outsiders (i.e. unchurched or de-churched guys) along to go fishing. Ideally, from these submissions we'll see some outreach taking place. Here the more info in the description, the better the chances of winning. Oh, by the way, only one person in a fishing group needs to be registered in the tournament to submit the group entry; individual fishermen, however, will still need to be registered for their fish to be considered in any of the categories. So, go fishing with your buddies, sure, but invite a friend or two along too—guys with whom you can build a positive connection in a godly direction. Remember, it's the strength of the story that counts.

Each month, members of the MNW team will review these group entries and, upon their discretion, award prizes for 1st ($250), 2nd ($100), and 3rd ($50) to the top group pictures/stories for that month. Winning groups for the months of April through August will also receive MNW baseball caps for the guys in their group. This year's tourney concludes September 6, 2015.

At the end of the tournament, a Grand Prize for the best overall GROUP submission will be awarded. This prize, a $500 MasterCard or Visa gift card, can be used however the group sees fit to reward its outreach accomplishment. This will be the single Grand Prize for the tournament. There will be no individual Grand Prize.

Again, the objective driving this tournament is to build rapport and cultivate relationships. Naturally, we want men to fish with other guys, establishing friendships in the context of having fun that can develop into spiritual ties. Fishing is a terrific forum to get guys together, share viewpoints, and learn from each other's life experiences. This year groups will earn prizes based on what they did together and the details of their stories. In other words, the fish caught are secondary to the relationships being forged.

Now if two or more guys head out and slay a stringer full of crappie in the process well, then that's your basic win-win! The tournament ends September 6.

Registration opens March 9. Updated contest rules and regulations will be available on the MNW website at

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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