My philosophy on this has changed over the years, and even more over recent weeks… maybe. I still have some things to work out.
Earlier in my ministry I served in more traditional churches. They were churches that offered invitations every Sunday (at least almost every Sunday). As a children’s pastor I would do the same. Actually I’d typically offer some kind of invitation every 2-3 weeks. It’s just what we did.
However, as I began serving in churches that didn’t do traditional “alter calls,” I had to evaluate how I approached this with the kids. These churches that didn’t do “alter calls” understood there were many visitors that were still working out their faith. They were giving opportunities to fill out a card where someone could follow up face-to-face. I’m okay with that. Just because they did alter calls at the church I grew up at doesn’t mean they have to do it here. As long as people are coming to Christ, I’m on board.
I had to meet with my supervisor and ask what he expected. I understood that the ministry to kids needs to reflect ministry to adults… but we’re not going to have kids fill out decision cards… that’s just silly. We decided that we would give invitations on a regular basis. When a child made a decision, we’d celebrate that but then send information home with that child that day. We wanted parents to know of the decision right away so they could be involved in the next steps. After this, the child and the parents would either meet with a staff member or in a baptism class where they’d review this decision and explain what it meant as well was what baptism was all about.
This seemed to work pretty well, but it has it flaws. I’m not quite sure I’d do it exactly like this again… like I said, I’m still working this out.
More to come.
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