I believe that it is the goodness of God that brings man to repentance. When people understand the good news of the gospel and that the price has already been paid for them, they will want to receive this gift that has been offered to them.
By coming forward, in an altar call, it is making a public profession of their faith. It lets everyone know what they did. People have more of a grip on it when they come forward than just repeating a prayer in their seats. For me, it is a more personal environment where I can get close to them and lead them into salvation.
I realize that a lot of the “Church World” has moved away from doing altar calls during their services. Many people have questioned why I continue to use this method of evangelism.
Let me start off by stating a few things that I see that would cause leaders to shy away from this method:
- Just because someone comes forward during a service does not mean that a change has taken place in their lives
- Abuse in the past with high pressure of hell fire and brimstone.
- There is no biblical example of altar calls in the Bible and that it is a method that the modern church world has adapted for evangelism.
When I invite people to come to the front to receive Jesus, I am very specific about who I want to come forward.
I do not just tag an invitation on the end of each service as an afterthought. If I give an invitation to be born again, I spend time teaching about it. I believe that faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). If the Word is not taught on the subject, how can a person have faith to receive salvation?
I am not saying that everyone that has been born again truly understands everything about their salvation. God is much bigger than that. I was 6 years old when I was born again. I went forward on New Year’s Eve in my father’s church. No one even prayed with me, but I knew that I was changed that day. I went home and told my mother that I had become a Christian that night.
There is a new trend that teaches that it is the parent’s job to lead the children into the new birth. I do not disagree with this. Ultimately it should be the parent that prays with their children to be born again. I prayed with my son to be born again while driving in a car when he was just a child. But to be honest about this, a lot of parents do not have a firm grip on what being born again is, or are not comfortable discussing it with their children.
If we always put it in the parent’s ballpark and they drop the ball, or maybe they are not even born again themselves, or they do not go to church themselves, do we let these children creep through the cracks of our system? There must be a time where children have a chance to be born again while they are attending our services. It must be high on our priority list for children coming up through our churches.
I am in no means saying that this is the only way or even the best way to lead people to the Lord, but it is what works for me.
Jerry Moyer is a children’s evangelist with The Jubilee Gang in Springfield, Ohio.