“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
This verse speaks to an important principle: leaders NEED other leaders to speak with and do life with in order to keep growing.
With that in mind, I want to invite you into two things that I believe may give you a fresh sharpening. First, a conversation. Next, a conference.
I recently read an article by Dan Reiland which asked the question, “Are Altar Calls Outdated?” It’s a topic that has been brewing in my mind for several months. From my vantage point as a DS, I would say most of our EFCA churches tend to avoid altar calls as well as any kind of immediate response to the sermon.
I spoke about this issue and the article I read from Dan Reiland with one of the cluster groups the other day and we had a really good conversation about it. From that conversation, and many others I’ve had with our district pastors, here are some things that seem to be in the minds of our pastors when it comes to why we don’t give altar calls or any kind of invitation that calls for an immediate response…
- We want to avoid the temptation of being manipulative, trying to produce results ourselves.
- We want to avoid being perceived by others as trying to manipulate.
- We are very concerned about how skeptics could process the pressure of a moment where a call to a respond is given, especially as it relates to anything that is overtly emotional.
- We don’t want to confuse people with thinking that they just need to pray a prayer or come forward or do any other thing without really understanding salvation.
- We philosophically think its better to help our listeners use the sermon as an entry into a process where they can learn how to apply their response to the sermon. Namely, we want to get people into a small group where they can think through how to apply the message to everyday life in the context of community.
- We trust the sovereignty of God with the results.
- We think that witness is best done outside the walls of the church and the gathering of believers is not a place where we need to witness.
I have mixed feelings about these reasons. Some seem legit and some seem like pure fear. I admit that my Baptist roots really show themselves when I begin thinking this through. But my intent in today’s post is not to say definitively what I think – but to ask you, what do you think about this list? What are you doing as a preacher and a witness that invites people to draw closer to Christ?
More importantly than what I think about the list above, I wonder, what does Jesus think?
If you’re open to what some widespread study has taught Dan Reiland and others, read the article for yourself.
There’s still time to come to our Eastern District Leadership Conference. We have national and district leaders who will be speaking to the men and women who are leading in our district at the conference. Check out the line-up, and then come join us for a time of sharpening!
Hope to hear from you and see you at conference!