Sermon responses-how much will you do and why?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Greektim, Oct 27, 2011.

?

What sermon response do you do?

  1. Full blown altar call

    23.1%
  2. Eyes open, standing up or raising hands

    7.7%
  3. Eyes closed, standing up or raising hands

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Something different (please explain)

    23.1%
  5. Nothing

    46.2%
  1. Greektim

    Greektim
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    So I preached to my students the other day, and the chaplain said I should give the students a chance to respond by raising their hands or something to that effect. I said I don't find a Biblical precedent for it, so I let my theology drive my practice, the Holy Spirit will change their hearts. I leave the invitation that if they want to speak to me afterwards, I would be more than happy to counsel w/ them. But other than that, I leave it in God's hands.

    So how much do you allow in the way of sermon responses?
     
  2. 12strings

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    At our church, where the pastor has been here almost 5 years, we sing a song at the end, which our pastor has said people have the option of: Coming forward to pray, coming to talk to him about salvation, or something else, praying and making spiritual decisions right in their pew, or talking to the pastor after the service. In those 5 years, we sometimes have people come forward to pray about something, a few have said they want to join the church. Usually noone comes, and we just sing 2 verses of a song and end the service. Our pastor does not push anyone to make any visible response.

    But, through personal ministry, we have seen about 20 people (so maybe 8-10 families/couples join the church each year for the past few years, with several who were baptized that we believe to be new conversions!
     
  3. Greektim

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    I'm a big fan of singing after the sermon since I see worship through music as a response to being filled w/ the Spirit and not a preparatory practice to be filled. But that's for another thread.
     
  4. jbh28

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    If I didn't see where your location is, I would have thought you went to my church. That's exactly what we do.
     
  5. 12strings

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    why where are you?

    (and maybe I DO go to your church and simply put Indiana so I could conceal my true identity...[insert evil laugh here]...)

    I am actually the one leading those songs at our church, so that's my perspective on the whole thing.
     
  6. Old Union Brother

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    At the close of preaching while singing the final hymn, we announce the church door open for recieving members by experience and baptism.
     
  7. Jeremiah2911

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    Well understand that I was raised in a Church that didn't believe in eternal security [yes it was Baptist], we got a fire and brimstone message every week [lets face it, if we can lose our salvation, we will, so that makes the Preachers sermon preparation pretty simple:)]--the altar call was, according to some in the denomination, the only way a person could get saved:BangHead:.....Now I want you to know that when I learned the altar call was invented by DL Moody, that changed my entire way of thinking! I still run into people who believe the altar call is equal to an ordinance in the Church! [I'm being serious] We do have a song at the end of sermon, I don't beg people to come, but ask if any has need of prayer [for any reason], to do so......On Sunday night we all gather around the front of the Church and close in a circle of prayer.....Btw, Most people who have been converted in my 11 yrs at my Church have done so in the pew or in their home.
     
  8. glfredrick

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    Finey was the first to really make use of the altar call. Moody adopted his practice from Finey.

    In any case, there is no real biblical precedence for the practice, but that does not make it wrong -- we do a lot of things in our local congregations that do not have biblical precedence. Even the churches that major on only doing what the Bible says do so -- like meet in a dedicated building and sit on pews, for instance. But, that isn't the OP question, I digress.

    I have run the gamut in altar call, from a very Arminian, high pressure, "you are going to die and go to hell today if you do not respond RIGHT NOW" sort of approach to a very minimal approach where I simply ask people to respond to whatever God is asking them to do, either here and now (altar is open to the people) or to see me or one of the other members. Questions, counsel, adequate time to consider, prayer, etc., are all part of the process, and if one holds (as I do) that God is doing the work of salvation, then there is no need to convince, cajole, etc. He will lead as He sees fit. Our job is simply to receive.

    In our current congregation (Sojourn) the altar call is made during the Communion phase of the service. We practice the Lord's Table at every service and we carefully explain that the Table is for those who are in Christ, but if one is not in Christ, or not sure of his or her relationship, now would be a good time to meet with a pastor, elder, counselor, etc., in order to deal with that issue while the "church" takes communion. At first, this practice seemed very different from that practiced in a typical Baptist church, but it grew on me and it will be my preferred method from here forward. It has certainly not hindered the growth of our congregation, we are adding 100 - 200 persons a year or more (growth is accelerating of late with more campuses more services, etc. In 10 years we have grown from 26 to 2600!).

    Edit... I will walk out of the next church where I hear the pastor use the "eyes closed, raise a hand" deal, then coerces those people to walk forward to take his hand. That is youth camp crud. Christians are SUPPOSED to be brothers and sisters who lift up each other in love, and take care of, yes, even the unbelievers. How can we do that if everything is a secret (and everyone peeks anyway).
     
    #8 glfredrick, Oct 27, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2011
  9. Tom Butler

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    A few years ago, during a mission trip to Romania, I noticed that the churches did not have invitations or altar calls.

    I asked the pastor about it. Here was his response:
    "First, most of our folks come from either an atheist or Orthodox background (they were only 8 years out of Communism), so there's no frame of reference for an invitation. But more important, we have come to believe that when the Holy Spirit stirs someone's heart, it is not necessary for us to 'create an atmosphere' in which the Spirit can work. He is sovereign. We find that when the Holy Spirit is at work, they will come to us. We don't have to beg. We cannot keep them away."

    I have often fantasized a scenario where the preacher, after the sermon, exhorts people to come to Christ--then shuts up. Waits. No begging. People seated. Praying No singing. No soft organ music. Nothing. Just stands there.

    Anybody here on the BB ever seen that happen?
     
  10. annsni

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    This is how hubby and I feel. It's too easy to fall into the "I raised my hand at a church service so I'm saved" sort of trap.
     
  11. plain_n_simple

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    Heal the sick as you preach the Gospel and you will get a most amazing response from some.
     
  12. Luke2427

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    Yes, well it worked for Jim Jones.

    I love this video of Benny Hinn.

    If you are orthodox and you don't split your side laughing- I'll buy you dinner!
     
  13. convicted1

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    To expound on what Brother Jeff posted here: Whenever I have been used to preach in the closing of the service, after I feel the Spirit leaving me, I call for a song. While they are singing, I will say something very close to this; "If you have been praying on account of your sins, and you believe that the Lord has saved you, and you want to take membership in the church, come and give us your hand, and we'll take you and baptize you in the water." Of course, we give them time to tell the church what Great things the Lord has done for them, IOW, confessing Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

    I live by these two sayings;

    If I can talk them into church, someone can talk them out.

    If God can't shake, then who am I that I can?
     
  14. Luke2427

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    Correct me if I'm wrong- but this "feel the Spirit leaving me" business is really just superspiritual gobbly-gook, isn't it?

    I mean, "feeling the Spirit" has no biblical support, does it?

    The Holy Spirit does indeed come on men and endue them with boldness and clarity of thought and ability to communicate effectively the things that Christ has taught us in his word- but all this "feeling" business- it seems a little backwards to me.

    I think we lean too much on that stuff. I think we are too "mystical" or superspiritual. I think it is hurting us.
     
  15. convicted1

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    Brother, what have you got against me?? I know that I do not hold to DoG, so I know that makes me 99.999999999% ignorant in your book.

    What I meant by that statement is that when I am blessed to preach, the Spirit causes me to preach in a way that goes beyond words. I just can't put this into words Brother. Don't you feel the Sprit when you preach??

    I am trying to find the words to express the feeling when God anoints me to proclaim His Gospel, but no words could ever be sufficient.
     
  16. Luke2427

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    I have nothing against you personally. Personally, you seem to be a sweet guy.

    But I make no bones about it- I am on a crusade. There are some things in our religious culture that I believe are absolute enemies of the Kingdom of God. These things are responsible for the apostasy of our culture. These things have given rise to just about every damnable heresy among us today (and no, I am not talking about Arminianism). These things have moved this nation of ours from her powerful religious moorings to the terrible condition we find ourselves in today.

    These things are ignorance and arrogance and irreverence.

    I think the rise of Pentecostalism and independent fundamentalism are both the results of and the sustaining forces behind this ignorance, arrogance and irreverence.

    So when you say things like "l feel the Spirit", I immediately think that this is the result of this type of backwards thinking that I believe is killing us.

    I recognize that you just saying that phrase doesn't NECESSARILY mean what I think it probably means. So I asked.

    I think we lean too heavily on feelings and experiences and we need to shift our weight back to wisdom.

    I quit preaching when wisdom dictates that I have done for the Kingdom what ought to be done in this particular instance.

    I don't wait for some "feeling" coming or going. I depend on wisdom. I think that is what you are supposed to do as well. I think it is how all Christian people should make just about every decision- based on godly, Scriptural wisdom.

    Making decisions based on superspiritual feelings is not biblical or healthy.

    Now, that your sermon may go 15 minutes too long or be cut 15 minutes too short- that's of little consequence. But if that kind of thinking guides very much of your decision making process- that's a big problem- a BIG one.

    And that kind of thinking guides WAY, WAY, WAY too many Christian people's thinking in this culture.
     
    #16 Luke2427, Oct 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2011
  17. convicted1

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    Leave the crusading to Billy Graham. :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
     
  18. Luke2427

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    You are asking me to sin a great sin.

    You and me and every Christian had BETTER be on a crusade. We'd BETTER not bury the life the Master has invested in us without agressively seeking to earn as much interest on it as possible- interest to give to him when he returns and holds his servants to account for the life he has given them.

    We breathe for the Kingdom of God. We have no option but to exalt the King and expand the Kingdom the most we can with the resources our King gives us. Love constraineth us.

    A big part of that duty entails reproving the unfrutiful works of darkness. Darkness is ignorance. We are to cast down EVERY imagination and high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Every idea, every ideal, every philosophy, every theology, every mentality, every inch of ignorance- we are to confront it and challenge it and condemn it and, as much as possible- change it.

    This is the Great Commission.

    Don't ever tell a Christian to leave that to Billy Graham.

    That is a wretched and vile thing to do.
     
  19. Don

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    Luke, in general, I don't disagree with you. But I am compelled to ask: do you think of yourself as the hand, or the eye, or the feet, or some other part?
     
  20. Luke2427

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    I don't know if a church member knows what body member he parallels. Does the hand know it is a hand? It just does what it can do.

    My job and yours is to do what we can with what God has given us. Why do you not walk on your hands everywhere you go? Not because your hands know they are hands- but because they cannot do the job the feet were made to do. They do what they can because they were made to be what they are.

    I don't know what I am in the Body. I know what I can do. I am to do that.
     
    #20 Luke2427, Oct 28, 2011
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