“A theology student from England was sent by a professor to hear a noted preacher on the weekend. He came back with a kind of sophisticated disgust and said to his professor, ‘Why, that man didn’t do anything but say, ‘Come to Jesus.’
‘And did they come?’ his professor gently inquired.
‘Well, yes they did,’ the student grudgingly replied.
The professor then said, ‘I want you to go back and listen to that man preach again and again until you can say, ‘Come to Jesus’ as he did and people respond.’”
-Roy J. Fish, Coming to Jesus: Giving a Good Invitation; 2015.
The Public Invitation, or the Altar Call, is under attack by many Young, Restless, Reformed preachers today. Most of the criticism, however, seems to be of the improper, rather than proper use of the Invitation.
I grew up thinking everyone used a Public Invitation. I was saved during a Public Invitation, and have seen many others come to Christ in this part of the Worship Service. I strongly favor the use of the Invitation in every Sunday morning Worship Service, and where appropriate, in other services, especially when lost folks are present.
The Public Invitation is effective, biblical, even psychologically sound. Pastor, do you want to be a more effective evangelist? Do you want your church to be more evangelistic? Do you want to reach more people for Christ? One way to accomplish this is to learn the reasons for using the Invitation. Also, learn the proper use of the Invitation.
How do you learn how to give a good Public Invitation? Go hear and read good pastors and evangelists and see how they do it.
Also, read books that defend and explain the use of the Public Invitation.
Below are some excellent books on the Invitation or the Altar Call. Every young preacher should read at least one of these books. They will also serve as a great refresher course for seasoned pastors and evangelists. They will put a revival fire in your soul.
The EffectiveInvitation by R. Alan Streett
Coming to Jesus: Givinga Good Invitation by Roy Fish
Drawing the Net by O. S. Hawkins
R. Alan Streett is professor of evangelism at Criswell College and editor of the Criswell Theological Review.
Roy Fish was a long-time professor of evangelism at Southwestern BaptistTheological Seminary.
O. S. Hawkins is the former pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas and First Baptist Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is now the president of GuideStone Financial Resources.
Come to think of it, why not get all three books on the Invitation? They're worth every penney.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, March 6, AD 2017.
Other Articles in lower right margin.