How to mess up an alter call

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Revmitchell, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    (A few keys for those who don't want people saved in their altar calls)

    1. Present an unbalanced message. Only let them see the heart-warming part of God’s character. Preach God’s love but leave out His holiness and justice. That way they’ll think He’ll let them into heaven no matter what.

    2. Don’t mention repentance until they’re repeating a “sinner’s prayer.” Just get them to say, “I repent of all my sins” while they’re echoing you. They won’t know what they’re saying and they won’t count the cost.

    3. Above all else, be dignified. Don’t get heart to heart with the people. They would get something out of what you said.

    4. Skim over the gospel and push the prayer. Pretend the lost naturally understand what Christ has done for them.

    5. Preach Jesus as a life enhancer not a life rescuer. Tell them how Jesus can improve their life but don’t show them Jesus as the only One who can save them from Hell. People will think if they reject Him they’re only losing out on a spiritual high.


    More Here
     
  2. Tom Butler

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    You must always remember that the most important thing is to get some kind of response to the invitation. You might consider enlisting a couple of members to step out into the aisle and head toward the "altar" to sort of prime the pump.

    Be sure to emphasize the necessity of "walking the aisle" to be saved. When you exhort the lost to "c'mon, c'mon, come to Christ" make sure you mean that they need to come where you are.

    If no one comes for salvation, then appeal for rededications.
    If no one comes for rededication, call for people to come to the altar for prayer. Never mind that there is no such thing as an altar in a Baptist church, there is always something for them to pray about.

    If no one comes for prayer, call for the people to go to someone in the church and hug them and tell them you appreciate them. If nothing else works, this will do the trick. Tears usually follow.

    Bingo! More "decisions" to record in the coming week's newsletter.
     
    #2 Tom Butler, Jan 19, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2009
  3. Zenas

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    I hope you speak with tongue in cheek here because until your last line, I sort of thought you had foot in mouth.
     
  4. EdSutton

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    I'm pretty sure I don't want to get near any open flames while holding this "Way of the Master" article, in my hand.

    Straw men are notoriously flammable. :rolleyes:

    Ed
     
  5. Jim1999

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    The best way to not mess up an altar call is not give one...I didn't know Baptist churches had an altar.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  6. Allan

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    Yep, goes way back.. even Spurgeon gave them.
     
  7. EdSutton

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    A 'Real' Altar Call!

    Let's try a "real altar call" starting with the closing sentence of the morning service.

    "Now we are going to have an opportunity for you to commit your own life to Christ.

    You must acknowledge that you are a sinner
    . If you would like to make that commitment, we are going to give you the opportunity to do that, right now - to make your decision for Christ, to dedicate your life to him. God wants you to make things right with Him, and we are going to give you an opportunity to do that- Don't put it off any longer - right now is your opportunity, this morning hour. God has a wonderful plan for your life, and this morning, if you'll just accept that payment Christ made - it's so simple, if you want to invite Christ into your life, that's all you have to do- right where you sit- you can have it, if you'll just accept the payment, and we want to pray for you, so if you'll just bow your heads, and say yes, pray for me, right now, just lift your hand, and Yes!- I see that hand, and that one, yes and that one, we'll wait just a minute longer for you, we want to give you every opportunity, and we want you to know if you have accepted that payment and made that decision, as we stand, and we want you to know that we are praying for you, and we would like to give you some literature, so I'm going to ask you to come down to the front where someone will talk with you and pray through with you right now, from all over the building, come on down- don't worry, your friends will wait for you,- from the balcony, yes, people are coming who want to ask Christ into their heart, pray the sinner's prayer, and make him Lord, and you can, too, make Jesus Lord of your life, if you'll just repent of your sins, and turn from them, and confess Him publicly, because everybody the Lord called, He called publicly, and you, too, can today make your public confession, committing your life to him, and put Jesus on the throne of your life, and kicking yourself off, 'cause God can do it better than we ever could- just let go and let God- Christ is knocking at the door of your heart and said if any man hears My voice and opens the door I will come in so make your commitment to him today, right now - He doesn't promise anyone tomorrow- if you'll just take that first step, God will do the rest, turning away from your past and getting a new hope and a new future while we sing - :thumbsup:

    Ed
     
    #7 EdSutton, Jan 19, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2009
  8. Tom Butler

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    Ed, I must go off line now, and will comment on your posts Tuesday morning. Sorry to jump the gun on you. Some of my early post was, in fact, tongue in cheek, but some of it was based in reality.
     
  9. webdog

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    If they are praying to ask God to forgive them of their sin, and asking Him to save them...they have repented.
     
  10. Jerome

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    "As he looked at the poor woman I doubt not the tears started from our Lord's eyes, but they were not tears of unmingled sorrow, for he knew that he could heal her, and he anticipated the joy of doing so. When he had gazed upon her, he called her to him. Did he know her name? Oh, yes, he knows all our names, and his calling is therefore personal and unmistakeable. "I have called thee by thy name," saith he, "thou art mine." See, there is the poor creature, coming up the aisle; that pitiful mass of sorrow, though bowed to the earth, is moving. Is it a woman at all? You can hardly see that she has a face, but she is coming towards him who called her. She could not stand upright, but she could come as she was—bent and infirm as she was. I rejoice in my Master's way of healing people, for he comes to them where they are. He does not propose to them that if they will do somewhat he will do the rest, but he begins and ends. He bids them approach him as they are, and does not ask them to mend or prepare. May my blessed Master this morning look on some of you till you feel, "The preacher means me, the preacher's Master means me," and then may there sound a voice in your ears saying, " Come to Jesus just as you are." Then may you have grace to reply—
    "Just as I am—poor, wretched, blind,
    Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
    Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
    O Lamb of God, I come.""
    ---Charles Spurgeon
     
  11. saturneptune

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    Please show me one place in the Bible where there is an altar call. If the Lord has chosen and is calling a person to salvation, He is quite capable of doing it His way. What is wrong with preaching a message that includes the truthful elements (I assume you are being sarcastic) in your six points, end the service, and let God do His work. Why do you need an altar call? If God is working on someone, I am sure they would make great haste to see you after the service.

    OK folks, walk to the front if you want to say the prayer for salvation, change your membership, or have something in your life that needs fixing, and we will sing another verse, one more time......................
     
  12. Revmitchell

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    The op is not about whether or not you like an alter call. It is about how the gospel is presented in it.
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    Oh, my, we know the same preachers!
     
  14. BigBossman

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    While I believe it is important for one to step forward as an outward sign to show that one has accepted Christ as their savior. I don't see it as being a requirement for salvation. Accepting Christ as your savior is personal decision. Once that decision has been made to follow Christ, then they should feel led to tell their pastor & their church. Then of course the next step is baptism.

    I don't think planting people to come to the alter is the right thing to do. It may prod them to come forward, but are they doing it because they want to or because everyone else is doing it?

    Please don't take my remarks personally. I'm not criticizing you, I'm just expressing my opinion on that matter.
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    I have made this point before. The Lord saved me during an invitation. It was during that invitation that the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to my sin, convicted me of it, and drew me to repentance and faith.

    I do not oppose invitations. I oppose manipulation to elicit a response, any response.

    When I was on a mission trip in Romania, where Baptist churches do not have invitations, one pastor told me that he did not consider it necessary to create an atmosphere in which the Holy Spirit could do his work. He said, when the HS is at work, he can't keep them away.

    I advocate that we re-examine the way we do invitations--including the language we use, the buzzwords we employ. I advocate that we measure by the Scriptures how we present the gospel and exhort men and women to repent and believe.

    Then we won't have evangelists like the one who, on his website, guaranteed conversions during his revivals.
     
  16. EdSutton

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    :thumbs: :laugh:

    Ed
     
  17. Tom Butler

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    Brother, I agree with you that a new believer should make it public. If he wants to leave his seat and tell the pastor, that's fine with me. But too many invitations I have heard explicitly and implicitly say that salvation is to be found at the altar, down front, down the aisle. When a preacher, standing at the front, exhorts to "Come to Christ," we believers may know what he means, but he is risking that the lost person may hear it as "If you want to be saved, come down here." Or, "You want to be saved, you must leave your seat."

    I'm probably nitpicking here, but I don't think anyone who has been saved should give his testimony as "I walked the aisle." Or, "I said the prayer."
     
    #17 Tom Butler, Jan 20, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2009
  18. Berean

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    At my church we have instituted a different approach to quote "alter calls." Upon invitation of the Pastor, the person goes to the front of the church where they are met by a staff member and briefly interrogated and then turned over to a supposivitly trained councelor who accompanies them to a room where the dialog continues. I do see advantages in this over the traditional alter call. My question is with this; the new believers are presented in the evening service on the overhead projector for their Public Profession and in the majority they are not present. Is this anothe cultural change? In your opinion does this surfice as a public profession?
     
  19. Tom Butler

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    This practice meets one of my concerns, which is that the enquirer understands what's going on, that he understands sin, his sinfulness, what it means to repent and believe.

    And yes, the practice of presenting him for membership in the evening service is just fine, even if they're not there. However, I consider a public profession as not just walking the aisle. I think our public profession is our public baptism.
     
  20. Spinach

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    I give this post a hearty Amen!

    In our churches, people have been born again while we were singing hymns. They didn't need a Romans Road. They didn't need to repeat a prayer. The Holy Spirit did the work!
     

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