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Home » Archives » February 2004 » And while we're on the topic of altar calls

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02/11/2004: "And while we're on the topic of altar calls"

I've been to a few churches that use the altar call at every service. In some ways I think it is wonderful because they are consciously reaching out to the new people in the church that day. I often think to myself when at Mass, "There must be 10 - 20 new people here today amongst the 800 perishioners. How do I find them to reach out to them?" Mass isn't very condusive to this.

On the other hand, what I dislike about the altar call is how casually it is presented to those in the community who are being asked to come forward. There is a contradiction between how significant the believers view it (they talk about it being the moment they were Saved) and the way it is being presented (if you felt moved today by this service).

Just because someone was moved, doesn't mean they are really going to turn to Christ. In my opinion, if you're going to do an altar call, it should be after you've really come to understand what it means. I think when you ask them to come forward, you still pray over them, but ask them to come to a few hours of what we Catholics would call Inquiry before making an altar call in a week or two. That'll help ensure that the altar call is more sincere.

Also, if you had those making the "prepared altar call" come forward to do their altar call before you asked those who were new to come forward, I think it would make coming forward that much more appealing.

Anyone know churches that do it that way?



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