Pastors confide that they are frustrated because people “just won’t come forward” for the “altar call.”
But what is the reason for that? What is the bigger picture?
I asked Warren Bird, the Director of Research and Intellectual Capital Development of the Leadership Network, if churches in general, and in particular megachurches, practice some form of an invitation. Here’s Warren’s response:
“I’ve visited literally hundreds of churches, and the clear pattern is that growing churches call for a response to their messages. The approach varies – some ask people to come forward in the traditional “altar call,” while others ask for a raised hand, a checkbox on a handout, or something specific to the Scripture of that day. For example, one church had a giant open door to walk through in response to the ‘open door’ reference from the Bible passage being taught.”
“Megachurches tend to do more altar calls and other invitations for a response than other churches. I suspect the reason is more because of outreach, which leads to growth, than due to size. Also, according to research, the larger the church, the more likely it is to have clarity of purpose – and an evangelistic purpose at that, which again would explain why larger churches expect, look for, and call for a response to God’s Word.”
An invitation of some kind, including the traditional altar call to come forward is still a relevant and effective practice.
So, the helpful question is – “How can we all do a better job with an invitation?”