Once you have proclaimed the message of Christ, do you call people to follow Him?
Preparing to preach the Word of God and presenting this prepared Word from God under the leadership of the Spirit is one of our greatest privileges as pastors.
I believe it is obvious in the New Testament that people were given some kind of opportunity to respond to God. Jesus called people to God. Peter called people to God. Paul called people to God. Each of these preachers was faithful to call people to God.
Pastor, are you calling people to God weekly? Once you have proclaimed the message of Christ to people, do you call them to God? Do you give them some kind of opportunity to come to Christ? Whether you do it through what we call a public invitation, by asking people to meet someone in a private room, or through the use of a card or some other means, do you call people to God? What does this mean? What should we consider weekly?
Call People to Follow Christ
The most important is calling people to respond by faith to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I have preached the gospel, shared about Christ’s death, His burial, and His resurrection, I believe as I declare that message, I should ask people to repent of their sin, turn in faith to Jesus Christ, and trust in Him alone for their personal salvation. Unquestionably, I am faithful to always extend this gospel call.
Pastor, are you doing this weekly? Are you praying and leading to this moment in your worship and preaching? Could it be that one of the major reasons we are experiencing a lack of evangelism in our churches is because we are minimizing this tremendous moment we have weekly? We should pray for this moment, preach toward this moment, prepare for this moment, and expect God to use us as He extends the ultimate call to salvation in Christ through the Holy Spirit.
Call People to Unite With Your Church Family
This may look very different in each of our churches. Yet, we believe the church is so important to our walk with Jesus Christ that each person needs a local church family. Therefore, unashamedly, we call people who know Christ to unite with our Cross Church Family. Whether they do so by joining our fellowship from another church or following Christ in believer’s baptism, we believe being part of a local family of believers is critical to spiritual health.
Pastor, do not minimize the value of church membership. Equally, do not dumb it down to try to gather more members. We need to hold our expectations high for those who want to be a part of Christ’s church. We are not asking them to join a club, but the triumphant Church of Jesus Christ that has been charged with the greatest assignment given to mankind: Presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and make disciples of all the nations.
Call People to Surrender Their Life to God’s Call
For years, I have made the appeal to surrender to God’s call to ministry or missions each week. As pastors and preachers of the Word, we need to encourage those whom God is calling to the ministry of the Gospel. Whether you preach to thirty people or three thousand people, always extend the call to ministry and missions. You never know whom God is working on and who is ready to abandon themselves to follow Him fully in gospel ministry.
I believe one of the reasons we have so many people who have surrendered their lives to ministry or missions at Cross Church is that we have been faithful to talk about this unique calling God places upon people. As a teenager, I attended a small church of thirty to forty people each week, as do many still; therefore, do not neglect to extend the call to ministry, no matter the size of your church.
Call People to Respond to God and His Message Today, or What God is Doing in Life This Week?
At Cross Church, we call people to come to the front of our church, to kneel or stand in prayer as God has convicted them through the message from His Word or through something going on in their life. We believe people need to respond to God, including challenges they face in their family, job, health, or walk with Christ. People come en masse at times, praying for themselves or over someone who has a need. Sometimes just a few may come, but the quantity is not the issue.
The issue is giving people an opportunity to respond to God. There is something healthy about this kind of atmosphere that is not legalistic, but allows the Spirit of God to work through the lives of people freely. Ultimately, their response is to God and no one else.
Renew Your Commitment to Extend These Calls
This week, I do hope you will renew your commitment to extend these calls to the people God has brought to your services. It is incumbent on us to do so. Regardless of theological persuasion, as a preacher of God’s Word and pastor of a local church, we must feel the need and urgency to call people to respond to God. Let’s renew our commitment to letting God use us to extend these calls.