Mass Invitations

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Salty, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    Have you ever attended a church service where there has been a "requested" mass invitations. This would usually be after a message directed at Christian dedication.

    Yes, I have been at such services. IMHO it seems that the pastor is trying to make you feel guility if you do not go forward to "stand with the whole church"

    Have you ever had a similar situation? If so, did you go forward? Did you do it out of true conviction, made to feel guilty, or just beacuse everyone else did?

    Have you as a pastor encourage such an invitation. If so, would you do it again?

    Would appreciate some frank responses

    Saltly

    ps dont feel guilty if you dont come forward to answer [​IMG]
     
  2. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Acts 2:40, 41, "And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!" So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls."
     
  3. bapmom

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    Ive been there, and anytime Ive felt guilty for not going forward I should think the proper one to "judge" as making me feel guilty, would be the Holy Spirit, and not the preacher.
     
  4. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    The "invitations" that bother me are the ones where the purpose described is so general, it could and does apply to everyone. So why issue the "come forward" at all? Just suggest that everyone address the Lord with the petition for forgiveness, or rededication, or whatever. It implies that anyone that doesn't come forward thinks they are somehow perfect, which we know isn't true.
     
  5. dh1948

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    In my early years in the ministry, mass invitations were pretty standard for me. In recent years, they have fallen flat. I don't do them any more. Like most "revivals" we see today, they are not built to last.
     
  6. bapmom

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    I like the more inclusive invitation, the one that includes those wishing to know more about salvation, those who might like to join the church, and those for whom the message has convicted and would want to make some sort of decision if they believe they need to.
     
  7. gb93433

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    When I give an invitation I invite people to come forward if they would like prayer, to talk with someone, to find out more about who Jesus is, etc. Have had some interesting requests when people have come forward. One time a lady came forward and told us that her cousin had just been murdered. So we prayed for her openly in the church at the end of the service. Many people are struggling with life in general and there are times when they would like some encouragement and not feel all alone in their struggle.

    One time I gave an invitation in a church that hadn't had one in about 25 years. Seven people came forward with some huge burdens. Also, one person present in the congregation was a lady who was not a Christian and was impressed that a pastor would take the time to pray for each person. She was the mother of a son in law and daughter I knew in the congregation. When one is cared for, many feel cared for.
     
  8. Kiffen

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    The ones I don't like is when a great mass of people come foward and the Evangelist leads in a polly parrot repeat after me Sinner's Prayer.
     
  9. SaggyWoman

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    I visited a church recently where a lady sang a song which blessed the congregation. Tears ran, hearts were touched. When she completed the song, she expressed her frustration that those who were touched didn't come down to the alter to do their "display", and basically reprimanded the congregation for their lack of response. Which was not true. She sang the song again and told everyone to come to the front.

    What a shame.
     
  10. bapmom

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    O my, Saggy! Kind of ruined the effect there, didn't she?!
     
  11. Bunyon

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    One thing I have seen several times is sort of a trick, and I think it is underhanded and counterproductive.

    The pastor would say, "bow your heads in prayer and with all eyes closed, If you want to ask Jesus into your heart, raise your hand" Then after the prayer he would say, If you raised you hand come foward to the alter now. This particlular pastor even got mad when some who raised their hands did not come foward and demanded that they do so.

    Seems like the pastor wanted the other people to see a display. If they don't want to come forward, I dont think they should be tricked or coerced. If it is absolutely necessary that they come foward, the pastor should be straight twith them instead of the raise your hand trick.
     
  12. bapmom

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    Bunyon,

    I don't understand how its a trick? Thats how every invitation Ive ever been in has been done. A show of raised hands for every separate part of the invitation, and then if they want to they can come forward.

    We even have people who go to those who raised their hands for salvation, if they don't come forward. Very kind people who gently ask them if they wanted to talk about salvation. This way they have the opportunity to sit in their seats if they want to, but we don't just let them go out the door without trying to talk to them about the salvation that THEY were asking about.
     
  13. gb93433

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    When I was a new pastor some of those who had been around a long time and had it down well would tell me how to give an invitation. One told me he could almost get an entire congregation to come forward on a Sunday if he wanted to. I saw him do it once. (Some "revivals" are like that). After hearing a few of them I realized they were into manipulation. Look at the reports the denomination produces. It just encourages that sort of charlatan behavior. So often it is about nickels, noses and baptisms. Many soon realize that you have got to have good statistics if you are going to move up and get recognition and hopefully get a larger church. So they get caught up in the whirlwind and play the game, often without even realizing it.

    Often congregations are fooled into thinking that because a person comes forward that is a time to rejoice and the person made a decision for Christ. When it may have been nothing more than manipulation. In the Dallas Association a study was done and they found that one pastor had baptized some people up to five times. Years ago I actually had a deacon tell me more people needed to come forward during the invitations I gave. While others were happy that people they had been praying for received Christ. But that same deacon also told me God called him to preach and do revivals. He had a long convincing story until you saw the fruit of his life. To my knowledge he had never led one person to Christ in his life. At the time the church was experiencing more growth than they had ever seen in its sixty year history. But he wanted more. I realized I was dealing with a dreamer and not a worker. According to him he was "called" but had troubles at work as well. So I asked him why not go to seminary? His response God had called him to preach revivals. Then I told him to get busy and start doing ministry. To this day he has done nothing but claims to be "called." My opinion is that he is about as called as Robert Tilton. He is still waiting for God to come down and pave the way.
     
  14. Bunyon

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    "I don't understand how its a trick? Thats how every invitation Ive ever been in has been done. A show of raised hands for every separate part of the invitation, and then if they want to they can come forward."--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    My take is the reason it was done this way was to get people to come forward that might not otherwise come forward. If they are unwilling to come forward, perhaps they are not there yet.
    The Idea is to get the folks who think they want to make a decision to do so in a private way, and then force them to come forward. In this cas the pastor got upset when some who raised there hand did not come foward and chastized them for not doing so. It is not a straight forward way of doing it. If it is a requirment for one to come forward, the pastor should be straight about it. If it is not, raising your hand with all eyes closed should be good enough.

    But it does seem the way you described and the way I did are a little different.
     
  15. bapmom

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    yes, I think so, too now, Bunyon. Because you said the pastor got upset, and I sort of passed over that point before.

    I meant to mention that I didn't think that was necessary either.....the pastor getting upset I mean.

    I was focusing more on the eyes closed and hand raised part. I always thought that was about making people feel less embarrassed, especially visitors who don't want to be stared at.
     
  16. Brother Ian

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    I don't like the mass invitations where everyone is told to come to the front. If people want to come, they should, but there shouldn't be any guilt associated with not going.
     
  17. All about Grace

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    I have been a part of more than one fundamentalist - get them down to the altar any way possible - church that employed a couple of tactics that I find a bit unethical and amusing at the same time.

    a) plant people in the crowd who automatically come down and start the flow of traffic ... reasoning? People will respond easier if others are. When I was growing up in IFB circles I could tell you exactly who was coming to the altar almost every service. A friend of mine who was a regular altar call instigator was a bit nieve on the night the pastor preached on homosexuality and he found himself making his regular trip to the altar. Needless to say he received a lot of harrassing after that night and rethought his weekly trip to the altar.

    b) There was one pastor in a IFB type church I attended for a while that would specifically recognize people who were raising their hands while heads were bowed ... you know the drill: "Thank you sir. Thank you mam in the back. God bless you teenager here near the front. I see that hand." Only problem??? My brother was the pianist at the time and would notify us later that no one was actually raising their hands. Same reasoning ... people are more likely to respond if others are responding. Of course once we realized the nature of the scam, the "invitation" time became one of our highlights of the weekend as we wondered how many faux hands would be raised that Sunday.


    Just for the record ... our church offers no public altar call. And it definitely eliminates the barometer tendency among a lot of churches, i.e., the success of the service hinges on the response during "invitation" time.
     
  18. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    I as well am not in favour of an "altar call." If the Holy Spirit is dealing with a heart He can sort it out. If a person will not comply with Him we should not use human methodology to drag them down an aisle.
     
  19. MikeinGhana

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    Bunyon

    Are you saying you were annoyed by the pastor asking in private then asking the person to come forward publicly or just that the pastor got upset that the man did not come forward? Please clarify what annoys you.
     
  20. Salty

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    Any new thoughts on mass invitations?
     

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