>Mark Batterson continues to be one of my very favorites. Here, posted today on his blog, is some sensible comments on altar calls:
“Just heard Dr. George Wood preach an amazing message on legacy at the AG General Council. I’ve never heard a message on Leah. It blessed me and challenged me. The main point? You can’t measure influence by its earthly time span. You need time and distance. Only eternity will tell. Leah had a tough life, but what a legacy she left in the form of a lineage that led all the way to Jesus.
There was an altar call at the end of the service and I went forward for a couple reasons.
1) I went forward because I need all the prayer I can get. For what it’s worth, I looked for the pastor with the grayest hair to pray for me. I wanted someone who’s talked to God for a long time.
2) I went forward because I want to keep humbling myself before the Lord. I saw this modeled in my father-in-law, Bob Schmidgall. He was so revered and so used by God, in part, because he never missed an opportunity to kneel before the Lord. If you stay humble there is nothing God can’t do in you and through you.
3) I went forward because I’m so grateful for what God has done. I feel like General Council is a dream benchmark. My first Council was 1989. I was a teenager. And God began birthing a dream in my spirit. In the last few years, a lot of dreams have become reality.
Long story short, I’m going to keep going to the altar until the day I die.
I don’t know what church tradition you come out of, but I grew up in a church that called people to the altar. I know there is nothing magical about an altar. And like anything else, it can become an empty ritual or spiritual game. But there are moments in life where you just need to go to an altar to get right with the Lord or seek the Lord or humble yourself before the Lord.
By the way, I asked Parker if he wanted to go with me to the altar. He did. And it blessed me big-time. Nothing is more important than teaching our kids to seek the Lord. And sometimes you need to simply extend an invitation.”