Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Commitment and Altar Calls

We've been following up this week with the hundreds of people who either made first time commitments on Sunday, expressed a desire to have someone help them, or had some questions.  It really is a great movement of God to have so many folks moving along their faith journey in this way.  Several members of our staff are working with these folks, and it's clear that God is doing something in a lot of lives right now.

The way we help people take steps of faith always brings  up some questions.  The most common question I probably get asked at PCC is, "Why don't we have an altar call?" or "Why don't we do an invitation?"  People who come from protestant, evangelical church backgrounds are accustomed to a 'come forward' moment every Sunday, without exception.  To not have one would be scandalous and considered sinful.  I understand how folks feel.

But, as you can see, PCC is a different kind of church.  We care deeply about people's spiritual journey, but our rapidly changing culture requires that we also respect their journey as uniquely theirs.  They get to move at their pace, not ours.

We also know that people do not like being put on the spot or unduly manipulated.  This is not to say that I feel an altar call or invitation is bad or wrong.  Not at all.  But I do think that it can be counter to our goal of helping people make a genuine, thoughtful, prayerful commitment to God.  And the altar call is an all-too-easy moment for the preacher to pressure the people.  The temptation is there for me, and I assure you it's there for others, too.

I wrote an extensive position post on this some years ago that you can read by clicking here.  But I want you to know this:  About 500 people have publicly declared that Jesus is Lord through their believer's baptism at PCC in our first nine years.  That's a LOT of people.  What we do works, too.  And our commitment to what we do really matters.

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