Saturday, January 22, 2005

Altar calls

I was talking with some other Christians a few days ago about altar calls - that is, a part of a church service, when someone up the front challenges the audience about something, usually whether they'll chose to become a Christian. Those who decide to take up the challenge are asked to come up to the front of the meeting place, where they'll be counseled and/or prayed for by the church leaders.

The way I see it done a lot these days is, everyone in the audience is asked to close their eyes, to make it easier for people to take up the challenge, because no-one will be watching them. Often in this kind of scenario, people who decide to take up the challenge are asked to just raise their hand as an indication that they want to take up the challenge. If the challenge is about becoming a Christian, whoever is up the front leads them through the sinner's prayer.

One question I'm asking myself is, if we try to make it seem as easy as this for a person to make the commitment, how much will that commitment mean to the person?
One of the people I was talking with about this had been to a Christian youth conference where they did exactlt the opposite - the person up the front didn't ask everyone to close their eyes, and instead pointed out that everyone would be watching those who took up the challenge. I don't just think taht this kind of a commitment would mean more to the person, but amybe their peers would be more likely to hold them accountable?

Another thing I was thinking was, should we instead be trying to make it easier for people who aren't Christians to hear the good news we've been trusted with, rather than requiring them to come into a church building or youth rally where we make it extremely easy for them to make the decision - but only once they've crossed that threshold.

What do yous think?

1 comment:

¿johnman¿ said...

Yeah dude, that's good, making it easier for people to hear the good news we have got, by letting them know ourselves, and sometimes by introducing them to friends of ours who can help them understand that it is actually good news and why it is for them.

I think that maybe we need to make clear to people what God wants of them, not just saying invite God into your life to be your friend, yeah sure but, more to it, give/surrender your life to God choose to live his way not your way. Making clear of what the commitment actually is, would make a big difference i think.