Giving Invitations

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by Su Wei, Dec 7, 2003.

  1. Su Wei

    Su Wei
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    Would anyone like to contribute your ideas about invitations? (As in those at the end of the message..)

    What works and what doesn't?
     
  2. massdak

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    my opinion is that most if not all Spirit led pastors preachers evangelist will never call a person to come in front of an auditorium or man made altar to be led in a prayer or decision. All gospel giving men would give an invitation for those concerned to believe in Christ. faith is not a walk to the altar.
     
  3. Jim1999

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    What works is the Holy Spirit acting upon the hearts and minds of humankind so that they are compelled to respond to the clarion call of God.

    I firmly believe that ALL the elect will be saved. The problem is, I don't know who the elect are, and hence will declare the invitation to come to God in repentance and faith. This does not include an invitation to come forward in any service, but I will not condemn those who do.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. gb93433

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    I was opposed to giving invitations until I was in a church that had as a part of their service the invitation. One Sunday a couple came late and at the end of the service they came forward wanting to talk. Later they received Christ along with most of their family.

    One time a lady came forward and told me that on Monday she had given her life to Christ and had been praying all week that she would have the courage to come forward.

    I am absolutely convinced that so much of what a person does after becoming a Christian is directly related to what is given to them before. When a person became a Chrisitian in the NT they were baptized. When they were baptized they could have been executed for believing in Jesus. How does that compare to coming forward near the end of a service.

    Too many times before I became a pastor and invited people to chruch they would ask about what happened at the end. What I heard was that the people I invited didn't understand what that was all about. So I have tried to make the invitation a regular part of the sermon not something separate. I see the sermon as demanding a response by the hearer. Sometimes it may mean coming forward, sometimes not. One time I preached in a church and seven people came forward. An invitation had not been given in 21 years. If you heard what I did you would have wanted an invitation every Sunday. One of the ladies had a brother who was dying and wanted someone to pray with her and for her brother. Another came forward who was in the midst of her husband leaving and he filed for divorce and she had no place to live after the next week. Another person in the Sunday School class told me that her mother (who is not a Christian) told her that there was a man praching and he prayed for all those people who came forward. She was impressed that someone whould care that much to pray for those people.

    People can come with heavy hearts. Some may need some encouragement and want to be prayed for. Some can come forward wanting to know more about Christ. They can be inquirers. Some may want Jesus and others may want to join the church. Some may need some courage to come forward. I don't think it should ever be a time to manipulate people. A friend of mine gives the invitation at the end of the service. He allows people to leave if they like or stay if they want. There is not a lot of focus on the people coming forward. But people can speak with the pastor or someone else and get help or prayer. Sometmes people are going through a tough time and know the theology but just need a voice of encouragement.

    A friend of mine told me that when they see one cared for they feel cared for. When one is cared for the rest are cared for.

    One time a young person came forward at a conference I was speaking at and told me he wanted to learn to witness better. I had a man counsel him who had that as his strength. Another time a young man came forward and told me he wanted help because his parents were getting a divorce. His parents were not believers. A person like that must have our undivided attention. When a person comes forward my objective is to learn about what their need is and have them counseled by the appropriate person. Another thing I want to do is to listen so carefully as though they are the onl;y person in the room.

    One time I was preaching and happen to mention about how God wants us to have right relationships. At the end of the service the chairman of the deacons came forward and discussed with me some and then further after the service about how he had offended someone who is no longer coming to church. He went after the service to see that person. The next service he came forward again to apologize and ask for forgiveness for the offense he had been to the person. I never take the invitation lightly. It can be a time that a person has just come to church seeking encouragement and help. They must be provided with the opportunity to get that needed help. I don't want them to wait until the next day to call the church to set up an appointment. God is working in their heart now and let's not give Satan an opportunity.
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    Every time I preach, I give an invitation to respond. Otherwise it is just a speech or a lesson taught.

    Public invitation (walking the aisle) often is fraught with psychological manipulation that results in outward show, emotion, etc, NOT the inward working of the Spirit.

    For that reason, it has been about 5+ years since I have given such an invitation in a regular church setting.
     
  6. Tractster

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    Billy Graham often says he calls people out because Christ did the same. Christ also did this when healing the sick.

    I believe in invitations, handshakes, signing cards, etc., so long as it is made clear that it is faith alone in Christ alone that brings salvation. It should be stressed that these acts (including the sinner's prayer) involved in invitation should be seen merely as expressions of one's faith.

    Roscoe
     
  7. USN2Pulpit

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    Also, a formal invitation may (for some) make it easier to "confess with their mouths the Lord Jesus Christ." Scripture doesn't say that it must take place in front of a church during formal invitation time, but it certainly is right to allow a new convert to testify. "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so."
     
  8. Tractster

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    Amen. Good point. [​IMG]

    Roscoe
     
  9. Su Wei

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  10. Su Wei

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    Hi Roscoe. Could you furnish me with the Bible ref on the above?
    Thanks
     
  11. Servent

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    An invitation is not all about people coming for salvation it's also for those to come and just talk to the Lord about something that my have touched their heart during the services.
     
  12. Terry_Herrington

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    I'm glad the preacher gave an invitation on March 3, 1969, the day I was saved. If he had simply ended the service without an invitation, I don't know what I would have done. Maybe I would have sought farther counsel, or perhaps I would have simply left the church as lost as a goose.
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    Good question! It depends, of course, on the content of the message. It is not MY invitation; it is the invitation from GOD in the Word!

    So when preaching on a text there will be natural places where the rhetorical question is: "Men and Brethren, what should I do?". There is the time to stop and lay out carefully the course for such a conscious decision.

    Not after 24 verse of "Just As I Am" or after the preaching service is done and the "baptist hand raising service" begins!

    Not with a crowd of believers "priming the pump" by walking forward so that people will be manipulated into responding, ala Billy Graham.

    Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men. But until the Spirit "turns on the light", the only thing we will get is a "decision" that is meaningless in eternity.
     
  14. Jim1999

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    A careful study of the New Testament will tell you that Jesus went to those to be healed and those to be saved. He did not invite them to come forward. There are some examples that a few may cite, such as Nicodemus asking the Lord about what he must do to be born again, and Zaccheus climbing the tree to see the Lord. Neither were seekers, per se, but responders to the Lord.

    When the Holy Spirit convicts and converts, the coming forward is academic. The work has already been done. Hence, there is no need for us to plead and cajole.

    My argument is not so much with the "invitation" as such, but with the manner of the invitation.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  15. Tractster

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    Hi Roscoe. Could you furnish me with the Bible ref on the above?
    Thanks
    </font>[/QUOTE]Hi Su Wei,

    There aren't any references (to my knowledge) for the types of invitations we normaly see today. Yet, in the Gospels, it was quite common for Christ to ask someone to "step out in faith," so to speak.

    In His teaching, he called on disciples to forsake all and follow Him. He called on them to take up the cross and be willing to forsake everthing. He also said those who confess Him before people will be honored before His father.

    In terms of healings ...

    To the lepers, "Go show yourself to the priest." To the lame, "Take up your bed and walk." To the daughter who was dead, "Damsel, I say unto you, Arise." To Larazus, "Come forth." To another leper, "Stretch out your hand." etc. In each case, it seems, a demonstration of their faith was required.

    Sometimes Christ asked people, "What would you like me to do."

    I apologize for being unclear or misleading in my initial comment.

    Roscoe
     
  16. Tractster

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    Thanks, Jim.

    Excellent points.

    Roscoe
     
  17. dianetavegia

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    What about THESE verses? These people CAME FORWARD.

    I could go on but you get the point. All of these and many, many more CAME to Jesus!

    Diane

    [ December 10, 2003, 05:06 PM: Message edited by: dianetavegia ]
     
  18. Tractster

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    I could go on but you get the point. All of these and many, many more CAME to Jesus!

    Diane
    </font>[/QUOTE]Thanks, dianetavegia.

    Great job! [​IMG]

    Roscoe
     
  19. Su Wei

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    indeed, many in the Bible came to Jesus. But mostly not under the situation where there are onlookers (including the preacher himself) waiting to see who is coming forward.

    In our situation, it is very difficult for a new believer or someone who wants to profess Christ to step out in front of so many strangers.

    It is different for someone like me who's been in the church for ten years and know everyione in the congregation. I go forward to pray knowing others are praying with me too. but not so for a new visitor.
     
  20. Dr. Bob

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    People came to Jesus.

    Where did Jesus give THEM a public invitation to come (like any of our churches do today)?

    Jesus gave general invitations to His message (like Matt 11:30 - Come unto me, all ye who labour . . )

    People came to Jesus, 99% one-on-one, but never after preaching and singing Just As I Am!!

    But never anything like what goes on at noon in our baptist churches today. Never.
     

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