Altar Ministry Awareness
We often go through life completely unaware of many things around us until some change causes us to notice what before had been ignored. For example, a friend of mine told me of a job he had many years ago. He was a setup man on a line producing the old twelve-inch long play record albums. No longer could he just put on a record and enjoy it. He now found himself looking at each record with an awareness never before experienced. Now he noticed the dents, the non-fill, the out-of-rounds and the torn labels. He had cultivated a new awareness.
In the same way, developing a sense of awareness during altar calls can also be cultivated. No longer does the altar call mean that the worship service is about to end. Instead, a whole new world opens up and the believer sees things that were not previously apparent. In addition, the Holy Spirit teaches us to be alert to its moving in the altar service.
Being alert for the altar service begins long before the altar call takes place. From the beginning of a worship service, the believer begins to focus on the unsaved. Worship time provides an opportunity to inconspicuously scan the congregation for the location of those who are unsaved. Watch for signs of positive response to the flow of the service. Such signs may include tears, smiles, nodding of the head in agreement or even a lowering of the head as God’s Spirit touches the visitor. When such signs appear, the altar worker becomes more aware of where to concentrate his or her efforts during altar call.
On the day of Pentecost, unity marked the group in the Upper Room. They pulled together and God did a marvelous work.
Likewise, today’s services need unity. As believers, we must “pull” with the preacher. Just as a preacher becomes anointed to preach, a congregation can become anointed in its response. Believers should respond vocally, as appropriate, with praises to the Lord. Attention should focus on the message, and disturbances must be kept to an absolute minimum. Unnecessary movement should be avoided.
We must strive to create the best atmosphere possible in which a person can be saved. Isaiah 10:27 states, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” When we support the ministry of the Word, we create an ebb and flow of the Holy Spirit. This anointing can break the yoke of sin in an unbeliever’s life.
When the actual altar call takes place, the believer should follow the leading of the Holy Ghost. If a member feels a prompting to go to someone under conviction, he or she should do so respectfully. Sometimes just a gentle offer to go to the altar with the guest will break down any resistance.
A word of caution needs to be given here. Don’t try to coerce an individual to the altar. If they say no, accept their response. Simply let them know you will be praying for them and move on. Undue pressure to go to the altar has caused many possible converts to not return.
As the altar call progresses, watch for those needing assistance in praying and go to them. Repentant sinners should never be left alone at the altar. Believers should move in and begin to help them pray. The support of people who care helps the seeker to go forward in prayer.
Anyone can develop altar ministry awareness. Part of it will come through practice and some through the leading of the Spirit of God. All God asks of us is to be available.
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