Why have some churches stopped the altar call, ignoring those who would like assistance in the prayer of repentance and profession of faith in Jesus Christ?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 17 2020 Woman in rollers Penny G. Vera

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B8c746f3 63c7 43eb 9665 ef7fba8e191b Kelli Trujillo Supporter Minister, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher, Musician
I would have to say that if your experience is that your church or other churches you've visited aren't practicing altar calls, it's probably due to the type of church(es) you're attending, or the decision of the pastor/elders/leaders. I can't speak for a variety of churches, but my own experience is that the churches I've attended are still conducting altar calls, although not at every meeting.

If your church isn't conducting them, it could be due to many factors:

1) The service model doesn't allow for much wiggle room due to time constraints. This could be because there are multiple services and there is a need to make sure services end on time, or because the leadership is committed to a model that sticks to a very set agenda.

2) Altar calls are reserved for "special meetings" other than the regularly scheduled weekly meetings usually occurring on Sunday mornings. For example, my church has a monthly worship and prayer service the first Wednesday of every month, and it's in this service that we most often conduct altar calls.

3) The church has strayed from the core message of the gospel, which is that we are sinners in need of repentance. If a church no longer teaches that sin is real and that we are in desperate need of shedding our sin in order to be more like Jesus, then there would be no need for altar calls. Please note: I'm not at all saying that all churches that don't conduct altar calls have strayed from the gospel; I'm just presenting that as one possible reason.

4) The type of church or denomination is simply one that doesn't include altar calls as part of their usual worship service. Some of the more traditional churches, especially ones that rely on liturgy, tend to not include altar calls in their regular services. On the other hand, charismatic churches tend to include altar calls as part of their regular services, sometimes at every service.

July 21 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The pastors of Lutheran and Methodist congregations to which I have belonged over the years have always been readily available to talk with members (or potential members) of the congregation about spiritual concerns or questions, and have also conducted a course of doctrinal instruction (as needed) for potential members before they were admitted to full communicant membership. However, none of those congregations have practiced an "altar call" in the sense of asking or inviting such people to come forward during a worship service, similar to the call made as part of the late Billy Graham's crusades. But I would also say that that does not mean (in my opinion) that those congregations were in some way not being biblical. In my view, it would depend on the established practices of each particular denomination or congregation.

July 19 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Cropped1641148827 Anthony-Awi Shittu
As the question indicates, some churches still do make altar calls. Some churches that have stopped making altar calls may have done so out of expediency such as time and space constraints. In some others, however, it may be as a result of loss of focus which may have replaced sound teaching about the truth with health and wealth teachings, which hardly require making personal decisions. But when teachings are about what will make the congregation search the soul and answer that most important question, "Are you born again?", or about the need to renew their minds, making altar calls becomes inevitable.

July 19 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Grant Abbott Child of Father, Follower of Son, Student of Spirit
I believe altar calls became popular in some denominations because they were always used in the Billy Graham crusades for over half a century. I believe they were particularly popular in Baptist and Pentecostal denominations. 

Whenever the gospel is preached in the bible, people are always invited to respond. Jesus always said, "Come, follow me", a clear invitation to respond to his teaching by faithfully following him. The bible also tells us that the disciples baptised people, just like John the Baptist was doing, as a public profession of faith.

I think in a lot of denominations, water baptism is the way that people publicly declare their faith in Jesus, after they have been instructed in the fundamental teachings of the Christian faith.

In my local evangelical church, the pattern of practice has changed over time. Twenty years ago, whenever the gospel message was preached, people were asked to pray along with the pastor a "sinner's prayer" to accept Jesus as their saviour. If they had done so they were asked to stand or raise their hand, some visible indication of a response.

Today, in my church, the gospel message (in abbreviated form) is included in every weekend sermon message. People are invited to say "Yes, to Jesus" and are invited to come forward for prayer after the service, to pick up a bible from the information desk, and to drop by the "meeting place" to speak with a pastor or elder about the decision they made.

I think this change over time is due to the change in cultural views about the denominational church. I think scandals involving high profile Christian leaders, particularly TV evangelists, have jaded a lot of younger people about the "traditional church." I believe evangelical churches have responded by dropping "heavy handed" tactics like forcing people to make public responses in front of strangers. 

By and large, I think churches have tried to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, so newcomers will become regular attenders and hear more about the Christian faith, trusting that the Holy Spirit will lead each person to respond when they are ready.

Our church is quite large but still typically sees over 200 known professions of faith in any year (both adults and children). One of our biggest challenges is getting everyone to be baptised and into church membership.

July 25 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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