Why Doesn’t FCC do Altar Calls?

Someone asked me that question recently and the answer is simple: because people typically don’t make long-term, life-changing decisions right at that moment in a worship service. In my experience most people who come forward are doing so out of a sense of obligation or guilt or emotion only. I believe that the Christian walk is best done in relationship with other Christians and specifically as part of a local church family. That’s why I know 99% of the time beforehand who’s coming up on a given Sunday if I give an “invitation” to confess Christ, recommit your life to Christ, or officially join our church.  That doesn’t mean I won’t surprise people at times or be surprised.

So we don’t do the traditional altar calls but depending on the message I do give “invitations.” I just won’t sing 6 songs in order to get people to come forward.  If the Holy Spirit isn’t urging them in the first 3 minutes then I don’t think any music or verbal manipulation should be done. Manipulation? Yes, if I really want people to come forward and make a decision, I can get that done. I did it when I first got into ministry.  But then I saw the reality of those decisions a week later. Most of those decisions have no accountability and are more like New Year’s resolutions. Few succeed. Many churches have gone to a similar understanding. But that doesn’t mean altar calls are bad or wrong…just memorable. Like this…

What do you think? What’s your experience?

Advertisements

Sin = Taking our Eyes off God

In the Garden of Eden after the first sin, the initial evidence came when Adam and Eve saw “that they were naked.” They had been naked all along, but not until sin came did they take their eyes off God and put them on themselves. This is always what sin does. Before, God had been the center of their attention and devotion. Sin entered the picture, and their focus became centered squarely on themselves.

God in His grace intervened because all the ways we try to use to cover our sin never work. God took an innocent little animal, killed it, and covered Adam and Eve with its skin. That animal became the first to the know the expensive toll that sin takes on one’s life.

Hebrews 9:22, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood,and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

We Serve not to Convert

We serve not to convert; we serve because we’ve been converted. This is a vital distinction, but service and proclamation go hand in hand. We must a proclaim a message, but those around us need to see that message in action. Proclamation is most powerful in the context of a loving, caring, serving relationship.

Looking in the Mirror: Priesthood

When you think of the word “priest,” what image comes to mind?

Let me tell you what shoud come to mind. Go look in a mirror. If you are a Christian, the picture of a priest is you!

1 Peter 2:9-12 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

Following the old covenant image, our role is to represent God to others. God calls us to His priesthood, to declare and display Him to the people He’s sent us to.

Four Traps People Fall into in Pursuit of Everyday Mission

Duty: Nearly every job requires taks we don’t like. We all attend events out of obligation. Everyone does things we have to. But we can’t view mission through that lens. Mission can’t be a “just enough” pursuit, an empty obligation.

Earning: In this trap, mission becomes an attempt to earn something from God or prove something to Him. But mission is not atonement. Mission cannot be a way to please God or avoid some punishment. Do you pursue mission to prove or earn something?

Self-glory: Mission as a way to improve self-worth and “how many people I’ve saved.” We aren’t responsible for the success of His mission, so we can’t use mission to build ourselves up. Do you do God’s mission to promote yourself?

Doing “good” things: Mission is not truly mission if it doesn’t involve Jesus. “Empty moralism” is doing nice things for people. It doesn’t require or point to Jesus. It lacks eternal weight and stems often times from poor motives. We must both display the gospel by our actions and declare it by our words.