Reverse Altar Calls
I took a Missions Trip to Mexico back in 1990 and David Roller was the missionary there. Since then, he has changed positions a few times and is now one of the Bishops of the Free Methodist Church. He has posted an interesting concept he came up with on his blog and I wanted to share it with you....
I had a cool idea recently while studying Acts 15. As a part of their ruling on the Gentile Christians, the Council of Jerusalem said, "we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God." And I thought, "what a great principle!"
I know that it's a time-honored tradition to make it difficult for people to decide to follow Jesus (and He sometimes did too, like the rich young ruler). But Jesus usually made it easy, made it attractive to follow Him (free fish, free healings, free kingdom of God).
I thought about our traditional altar calls ("every head bowed, every eye closed...") and how they made it hard to come to Jesus. Then it came to me, my brilliant idea: Make it hard to go to hell and easy to go to heaven.
So here's how the altar call should go,
Preacher: Okay I want everybody looking around at each other, don't anybody close your eyes. Now, if you're wanting to go to hell, just slip your hand up. If you're wanting to spend eternity in a state of constant suffering, raise your hand. Or if you want to live a life of destruction and selfish ambition, raise your hand.
(Wait a minute then say:) Okay now, those of you with your hands up, I'm going to ask you to do one more thing; I want you to stand up and come down front so we can all see who the weak ones are who don't want to love God. We're not trying to embarrass you, we just want you to understand the seriousness of your decision to reject God.
After they come forward then the preacher can pray for all those still seated, because they have all decide to accept Jesus!!
Why not do it this way? Why make it hard to come to Jesus? In fact, couldn't we apply that Acts 15 principle to other parts of our ministries? Where do we make it difficult for our neighbors to turn to God?
If their "stumbling block" (to use Paul's terms) is the cross of Christ, that's okay, but if their stumbling block is just something in our church culture, we need to remove it.
Make it easy.