At some point in March of 2004, a lot of churches decided to retire the “altar call.” (I believe the decision happened on a Tuesday.) For those that don’t know, an altar call is when a minister asks people if they want to come down and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior at the end of a service. I personally have nothing against altar calls and think that they can be a powerful, really cool thing. They have directly helped change lots and lots and lots of lives.
But a reader today, PJL in DE, reminded me of how much we love to wait for “one more person” to come down. Here’s what a minister usually says at about minute seven of the altar call:
“Thank you brothers and sisters. Thank you for heeding the Lord’s call this morning. We’re going to play one more chorus of ‘I could sing of your love forever,” and then we’re going to end the service. But there’s one more person that needs to come down today. One more person waiting for the right moment. Today is your right moment friend. Right now is your chance. Come home. We’ll wait for you.”
I have a few ideas about this issue:
1. What if the “one more person” was the same jerk in every church? What if some dude hated God so he went around to a bunch of churches just so he could set off the minister’s “spidey sense” and then not come down?
2. Have you ever been hungry for lunch and kind of looked around the crowd when you’re supposed to have your eyes closed and thought, “Come on one more person, let’s do this thing. It’s noon!”
3. Would I probably have a fold out couch bed waiting for me in hell if not for the grace of God because of the comment I just made on number 2?
Without a doubt.