Do you ever feel like alter calls can be kind of awkward?
In the student ministry I volunteer with, we have a commitment to sharing the gospel every week at every gathering. When the time comes to give an invitation for students to accept Christ there is this build up of expectancy of what God is going to do. That part is great. I’m not saying that expecting to see hands go up in response to the message of the gospel is awkward.
But what can be awkward sometimes is seeing no raised hands… The last thing you want to be doing as the speaker up in front is saying, “Anyone… anyone…. Bueller… Bueller…”
Now that’s kind of an exaggeration. But have you ever felt like that? I have. I think as youth leaders our deep desire to see students come to know Christ and be changed by the gospel causes us to have a distorted view of what should happen when we present an invitation in a traditional “alter call.”
This is not a commentary on how you should present the gospel to big groups, just that we should change our view of the outcome. I think we need to be okay with seeing no raised hands sometimes.
You see, I never raised my hand. You could’ve never counted my confession of faith in any alter call anywhere, but I accepted Christ at one. One Christmas Eve when I was thirteen years old, the pastor was talking about this gift that God was offering us and it was just up to us to dust it off and open it up. I believed in my heart and I was saved. I didn’t raise my hand that day, but I began my journey with Jesus. And it was the adult leaders and pastors that God put in my life after that moment that helped me grow and understand my decision.
So don’t be discouraged by no raised hands!
Keep sharing the gospel, keep inviting students to accept the gift of Jesus at every gathering, every chance you get. You never know what God is doing in the hearts of your students. And then follow up. Keep dialoging about their journey, keep encouraging, and keep leading by example.
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:8-9
Have you ever been discouraged by the response you received when you presented the gospel? How did you combat that?