Q. I used to attend a church that gave an invitation (altar call) after the message was given. Where I now attend, the pastor just dismisses the congregation after the message, with no altar call. Personally, I preferred it the old way. Here’s my question. Is the altar call necessary or even scriptural? Should I consider this when searching for a new church?
A. Altar calls after a message are a matter of preference rather than doctrine. Some pastors view the Sunday Service as a time to evangelize and encourage their parishioners to invite guests to the service. They preach a salvation message in the hope that some of the visitors will be moved to receive the Lord. They see the altar call afterward as a logical conclusion to the message.
If a pastor doesn’t follow this model, he may feel that an altar call after the message is not as relevant and could even be awkward. Ask your pastor what his views on altar calls are. You’ll at least learn why he doesn’t include one at the end of his message, and by expressing your interest you just might encourage him to start doing so at least some of the time.
In my opinion a pastor who never gives an altar call is missing a great opportunity to welcome new people into the kingdom. And that’s a shame.
Paul said, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13) Then he said, “But how can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14).