Lutz Campus

18333 Exciting Idlewild Blvd.
Lutz, FL 33548

Idlewild at The Springs

8209 N 19th St
Tampa, FL 33604

Iglesia Bautista Idlewild

Main Campus, Student Building, Hall 2

Fishing, Faith, & [LOTS of] Fun!

Fishing, Faith, & [LOTS of] Fun!

While we want to make sure you’re “In the Know” on all things ‘women’s ministry’ within our church, we also want to keep you aware of other ministries happenings that may be of interest to you! Our goal is to share other ministries within Idlewild that we just love…which brings us to today’s feature on the Fishing, Faith, and Fun ministry! This ministry is led by Campbell Middlebrooks.

Here’s a quick bio on Campbell:

Campbell was blessed to have had wonderful parents that instilled in him the love of the sea. He bought his first boat at age ten with money he made from a paper route and cutting lawns (and a little help from dad).  On Saturday mornings his father would take him to the Euclid Ave. canal in Tampa, Florida and tell him to be back by 5:00 p.m. His adventures took him arrowhead hunting at Rocky Point to trout fishing at Big Island near Largo and the middle grounds near Gandy Bridge.  He collected scallops on the Culbreath flats and oysters at the St. Petersburg power plant. Age ten was probably too young to be doing this by himself but his father started him into fishing and boating right after the cradle it seems. Campbell, Sr. was an excellent instructor so to be able to handle a boat by himself came only after several years of hard training. 

Campbell accepted Christ as his Savior at age nine in Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church in Tampa and after college he was ordained as a deacon .  He met his wife, Cheri, on a city playground where they both worked while in college. Cheri and their son Scott were saved at First Baptist Church (FBC) as well! Cheri’s love for teaching children was fostered at FBC where she and Campbell worked with children in Sunday school and children’s church for 25 years.  

Professionally, Campbell spent 38 years in the commercial banking industry retiring from GE Capital.  While there he convinced his bank president that not all of the bank’s customers liked to play golf and asked for permission to take a Coast Guard Captain’s Course at the bank’s expense and take the non- golfers fishing.  Surprisingly the president said “yes” so for years Campbell had the pleasure of taking GE’s largest customers’ corporate officers fishing and diving.

Cheri and Campbell came to Idlewild twenty-two years ago wanting to just worship and not get so heavily involved.  That thought lasted about a month and today they both are active in several ministries!

Back to fishing, Pastor John Zeller, Idlewild’s recreation pastor in 2006, passed Campbell in the hall one Sunday, not saying “hello” but simply saying “you need to be teaching children to fish” and kept walking.   Campbell later met with Pastor Zeller and learned the pastor had also spoken to three other men on the same subject. 


What started in 2006, as a simple “comment in passing” blossomed into the ministry we now know as “Fishing, Faith, & Fun”. This was during a time when Campbell felt like different doors in his life were being slammed closed due to fishing regulations, Red Tide, retiring, and not having a client base here locally. A big window of opportunity flew open for Campbell!

Each Saturday, children and their parents, along with teachers and fishing guides, gather to fish in our lakes and ponds on property. They learn different techniques, but prior to any fishing, they gather for a Bible study given by Campbell.

The ministry caters to ages 5 to 15, and offers different program levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Many of the “graduates” from the program go on to become teachers and fishing guides.

Fishing, Faith, & Fun stats that may interest you:

  • 1856 children have gone through this program since it started
  • there were only 8 teachers the first year, now 32
  • the first year of students were 1 girl & 27 boys…in 2019, that number grew to 99 total with 41% being girls
  • 47 have come to know the Lord through this ministry, 4 of which were adults


Matthew 4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

If you’d like more information, please CLICK HERE.

For more information on the Special Needs Fishing, Faith, and Fun, please CLICK HERE.