1- Begin by preaching the sermon, keeping a direct application of the biblical passage under study in mind (because if there is no direct application, what's the use?)
2- Be sure to keep plenty of personal stories that your audience can relate to; and remember to spice things up with some humour!
3- Time to get serious: with 5-10 minutes remaining to the allotted sermon time, cease all humour and take up a more grave and solemn tone. With this tone and demeanor, ask questions like:
-Brothers, are you like such and such in today's message?
4- Next, have the worship team come to lead the people in the singing of one of the following hymns:
-Just as I am
5- While the congregation is singing, in a passionate voice, make this appeal:
-If any soul here today does not know the love of God, or the salvation of God, please come forward that we may pray for you.
6- If no one comes forward (or if few people come forward), then make this appeal:
-If any soul here is going through a time of trial, or just doesn't "FEEL" like they are in favour with God, please come forward (this one will always yield results).
7- If the calls to come forward have been unsuccessful, then ask the congregation to remain silent for a few minutes, to bow their heads and close their eyes. During this time repeat, in order, the appeals in step 5 and 6, and ask the congregation to raise their hands if they FEEL they need the Lord, or need to get their act together.
8- The soul that has come forward or rose his/her hand for salvation should be prayed for as quickly as possible (preferably the soul, the pastor and a head deacon). The soul that has come forward or rose his/her hand for any other reason can be ignored, unless they remain in the church several minutes after the closing of the service.
9- All can then leave the church meeting with a good "spiritual" feeling and have a wonderful lunch.
* * *
In case some of you haven't figured it out yet, I am of course dealing with the Altar Call (A.C.); and if it looks like I'm mocking it...well...I am. The altar call is the epitome in emotionalism and drama. Yes, drama! The whole purpose of the altar call is to get a desired objective; whether it be the salvation of a soul, or the shaping up on some church members. It has nothing to do with "waiting and hoping for the salvation of the Lord" (Lamentation 3:26), and everything to do with acting out a scheme, playing a role to deceive someone into taking a favorable "decision". The problem is:
"And I, brethren, when I came to you, came NOT WITH EXCELLENCY OF SPEECH OR OF WISDOM, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And MY SPEECH AND MY PREACHING WAS NOT WITH ENTICING WORDS OF MAN'S, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
God doesn't need anyone's help to save sinners. He doesn't need elaborate, deceptive, emotionalistic schemes to bring His elect into the Kingdom of His Dear Son. Rather the Bible says:
"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1 Corinthians 1:21)
God will save His people from their sins by the preaching of the Gospel...plus NOTHING! If the altar call produces something that the simple preaching of the Good News of Christ couldn't, IT ISN'T OF GOD.
And what's up with this "heads bowed, closed eyes, rising hand" nonsense??? Does not the Bible say:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romands 10:9)
Confess!!! As in admitting, to one and all, that Christ is your Lord! If a person cannot confess Christ in a church service, he can raise his hand all he wants, HE HAS NOT RECEIVED THE GOSPEL.
It is a very grievous thing what is happening to the church in North America. Our church leaders orchestrate deceptive services to keep their pews full (as well as the collection plate), the entire church congregation plays along (like Hollywood actors) to get a fraudulent "spiritual" feeling, we wind up with large group of deceived sinners who believe that they were saved by the altar call experience, and nothing changes. The whole sorry thing just repeats itself every week, or every month, and the local churches grow in number, but withers away in spirit.
Don't play along dear saints, say "no" to the altar call scheme, say "yes" to the straight and honest preaching of the Word!