Dan Reiland The Pastor's Coach – Developing Church Leaders

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?

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Labor Day is one of my favorite holidays to grill out. BBQ chicken — I’m ready! This is a great day to chill and enjoy some good family time.

Easy right?

Not always.

The truth is that for many of us going to work comes easier than staying home to play. Or perhaps it’s that work seems more pressing than a day off. There are many variables behind this truth, but the point here is that taking time off is essential for healthy living, and especially for busy leaders.

So, I’m writing to all of us today who need to take a day off but are tempted to work instead. My first thought is this post can’t be too long! I don’t want you to have to “work” to get through it.

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No one wants to be part of a chaotic organization.

Unaddressed organizational problems lead to unhealthy and unproductive reactions. Over time this results in a breakdown of your culture and loss of momentum.

On the other side, however, too many churches suffer unnecessary frustration because they pursue perfection and a kind of “peaceful easy feeling” that will simply never be part of organizational life and ministry. These churches play it safe and therefore lose the edge that stimulates growth, momentum, risk and taking new territory.

Living in the middle tension (between chaos and perfection) is difficult, but it’s a skill that needs to be developed and practiced.

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Do you follow a leader who is younger than you are?

This reality is becoming more and more common and will continue as the Xer’s and Millennials rise into positions of leadership.

Perhaps you are a volunteer leader, and your pastor is young. As an older and more experienced leader, you have a powerful opportunity to impact that young leader, your church and the Kingdom of God in a big way.

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