How to botch up your preaching…

(A few keys for those who don’t want people saved in their meetings)

1. Present an unbalanced message. Only let them see the heart-warming part of God’s character. Preach God’s love but leave out His holiness and justice. That way they’ll think He’ll let them into heaven no matter what.
Don’t mention repentance until they’re repeating a “sinner’s prayer.” Just get them to say, “I repent of all my sins” while they’re echoing you. They won’t know what they’re saying and they won’t count the cost.

2. Above all else, be dignified. Don’t get heart to heart with the people. They would get something out of what you said.

3. Skim over the gospel and push the prayer. Pretend the lost naturally understand what Christ has done for them.

4. Preach Jesus as a life enhancer not a life rescuer. Tell them how Jesus can improve their life but don’t show them Jesus as the only One who can save them from Hell. People will think if they reject Him they’re only losing out on a spiritual high.

5. Try to please the people instead of convert them. Tell them what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear.

6. Compromise the message to speed up the process. The Christians who have heard it a hundred times before will be pleased with that. The quicker they get out the quicker they can get to the restaurant.

7. Give them the impression that God is so good He won’t send anyone to hell. Don’t present the whole counsel of God or they might realize He is so good that He’ll see to it that justice is served and that all unrepentant sinners will be punished in the fire that is not quenched.

8. Speak to sinners as though they were saints. They’ll think they’re God’s children instead of the enemies of God they’ve made themselves into because of their sin. You’ll give them false assurance and mislead them.

9. Don’t mention sin or man’s guilt. Resist the urge to explain what Christ came to deliver us from. Don’t show them their need for the Savior. Otherwise it may all make sense.

10. Don’t look to the Bible for the substance of your altar call. Only mimic other preachers with large congregations.

11. Tell the lost not to feel bad about their sins. That way you will work against the Holy Spirit who’s convicting them

12. Whatever you do, never mention Judgment Day. Your audience might take spiritual matters seriously.

13. Tell them Jesus is the only way to heaven but don’t explain why. They may think it’s nothing more than fear tactics and leave offended instead of enlightened.

14. Confuse the call. This is a great way to botch up an altar call. Don’t let people know you’re asking them to commit their life to Christ. Be vague and general in what you’re saying. Neglect to mention following Christ in your evangelistic altar calls and say things like, “If you don’t feel you’re as close to God as possible raise your hand,” “If you feel lonely come to the front for prayer,” “If you want more of God this is your time,” and, “If you have struggles and need the answer come down.” Just get them to raise a hand. That way no one will be able to count the cost and you’ll even get saints to respond to salvation altar calls, making the results look more successful.

15. Only give them half the story. Tell them Jesus died to forgive everyone but overlook the fact that they must personally receive Him to partake of that forgiveness.

16. Present the truth as though it isn’t. Be so funny when you share Christ that you belittle the seriousness of the matter.

17. Preach forgiveness without repentance. That way no one will know how to be forgiven.

18. Be unbiblical. Present repentance and faith as an offer instead of how God does as a command (Acts 17:30).

19. Let them think next Sunday is the day of salvation. Don’t make them feel it’s urgent to respond today.

20. Never warn of hell. Dangle heaven in front of their nose but rarely mention hell, certainly not as much as Jesus did.

21. Only do altar calls inside the church. Never take the gospel where sinners congregate. The lost might get saved.

22. Use churchy terms. Use words like, “saved,” “repent,” and “born again,” without any explanation. That way your hearers won’t comprehend what you’re saying. If they can’t understand it, it’s probable they won’t be changed by it.

23. Give false assurance of salvation to unsaved Christians. Assure church folk that they are saved even if they bear no fruit. So that you don’t offend the unsaved pew warmers never quote 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” You could lose some financial supporters and have to depend on God.

24. Never mention the wrath of God. If you mention it, people might be awakened to flee to Jesus who “saves us from the wrath to come.” ( 1 Thess. 1:10)

25. Study how the apostles preached and witnessed and do the opposite. Don’t explain Jesus’ suffering death on the cross. Otherwise they may think of running to Him for forgiveness. Don’t speak of His burial or resurrection or they might realize He is God. Refrain from commenting about the hundreds of eyewitnesses who saw Jesus after He rose from the dead. That way they can go on thinking He’s a fairy tale. Overlook talk of the messianic prophecies Jesus fulfilled or they might realize that the Bible is true. If they see it’s the truth they may see that following Christ is the logical decision. And whatever you do, avoid what the apostles did when it came time to call people to obey the gospel. Don’t tell them to trust Christ and live for Him. That is too accurate. If they know how to get saved your altar call will be a success.

26. Put more emphasis on the “sinner’s prayer” then on repentance and faith. Satan will smile over your departure from Biblical instruction. We are never taught to use a ‘sinner’s prayer’ throughout the entire Bible. If you decide to use it and put more emphasis on the technique than on what we’re commanded to preach: faith and repentance you’ll certainly botch things up. A ‘sinner’s prayer’ doesn’t equal salvation, only faith in Christ and repentance toward God do.

27. Let Christians think you’re the only one who can do it right. Always leave the impression that they should only invite friends to church and never actually witness themselves. It will keep you in business and the lost unsaved.

28. Don’t let the lost know they are. Disregard subjects like Judgment Day, God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness and justice. That way the lost can continue to think they’re “good enough” to get into heaven.

29. Rely upon psychological techniques to manipulate people into responding to the altar call. Don’t rely upon the Holy Spirit or they may actually get saved.

30. Make sure you’re the main attraction. Remember the goal in botching up an altar call is for people to leave and say, “What a wonderful preacher,” instead of, “What a wonderful Savior.” Draw all possible attention to how great a speaker and person you are. Otherwise people might see Christ in your preaching and get saved.

31. Don’t focus upon Jesus.

32. Finally, the best way to botch up preaching is not to preach the gospel. Just get people to lift up a hand and pray a prayer with you. Resist the urge to speak of the only One who could save them.

Sometimes the best way to get a point across is to put it in a different light. You now know a few ways to botch up an altar call. Please do not employ them. Do the opposite. You may already do some of them. Don’t let pride keep you from changing and doing things in a Biblical fashion. The bottom line is how true we are to Christ and His word. Effectively reaching the lost is our purpose. Let nothing hold you back from that agenda. May God bless you as you seek to win people to Christ in Bible clubs, churches, conferences, on the street witnessing encounters, at your school, and at your workplace.

Adapted from Becoming an Emissary for God by Allen Atzbi

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De Re Me!

I’ve just been printing off the last two years worth of blogging to stick in my ‘Continuing Development Portfolio.’ For the first five years of officership, until you rFive Year Review (after which they keep you on or sack you) you have to have a personal development plan thingy. This blog is mix of theological reflection, missional reflection and random thoughts, propaganda and random stuff, so I’ve stuck it in.

It is fascinating to see two years of blogging sitting in front of you, all 171 A4 pages of it but even more fascinating to read the things that come out of your brain. I ask my self…have I changed?

Hmm…

Well, obviously you do…life shapes you, experiences shape you. My personal convictions have been affirmed, strengthened and a tiny bit more better articulated!

Today, though, the challenge I present myself is continuing to remember and flesh out deep grained convictions. Its easy to lose sight of what you are about. I started to remember this yesterday…

I was at a little backwater village near here speaking at an afternoon fellowship for older folks. Now, it may surprise some of you to know that those old folks think I’m the best thing since slice bread. I was informed that they were talking about my last talk for months! Anyway…I shared with them a couple of examples of the people we met and the things we did in Glasgow. It reminded me of some of my convictions about ministry to the poor and reminded me yet again of some of the issues I face trying to adapt to the culture I am in.

However, by far the most interesting thing about looking back in this blog is remembering the first impressions of Pill. Those initial feelings still ring true…I still believe our fellowship has huge potential to be a significant force for God in this community, I still believe the people here are ready for more of God. Of course, now I know a fuller story and its easy to be distracted by the deception and work of the enemy, but ultimately our war is against him.

He is not more powerful than God, he is not an equal power to God. The battle is won and we are on the winning side. Why then is the fight thick?

Easy…we are at a crucial stage of advance. He won’t accept defeat and will continue to try and decieve, divide, detract, denounce, denegrate, defeat, demoralise, depress, deny, disease.

Do you see those words? “De/Di” = subtraction. He tries to take away. But as I’ve said, God’s words are ‘Re’ = revival, renewal, revolution, reconcilliation, refreshing, regeneration, revitalise, rebirth, REJOICING! (even review!)

We have every second in the day to recommit to the war. Don’t let the enemy take you aside.

Andrew

Anonymous

Apologies to those friends who occassionally leave a comment under the anonymous setting because your aren’t registered with blogger, but I feel its best to block Anonymous comments after the comments of the second last post.

Why? There is an interesting phenomenon in ministry whereby you get those anonymous letters and notes by those loving people who feel it their duty to tell you exactly what they think :o) I don’t generally pay much attention to them…after all if people can’t be bothered to sign their name, why should I be bothered to read their letters?

However, there is something bigger at stake here. My hope is that on this occassion ‘anonymous’ is not a personal aquaintance nor someone I have spiritual responsibility for. Nevertheless, although knowing the comments were made without grace or possibly with out knowledge of the situation, I think removing the anonymous feature may be helpful in creating less opportunities for those sort of ‘rebellious’ comments. Rebellion, in scripture, is likened to witchcraft and I wouldn’t like to think that I was giving opportunity for any individual to be further embedded in a rebellious, bitter stronghold of the enemy.

Anyway…sorry for the inconvenience to others…its easy to register at blogger if you want to comment in the future. :o)

Our New Vision and Mission Statements

Just in case you are interested:

Pill Corp’s passion is to pilot our communities into the safe harbour of Jesus Christ

We will acheive our vision by:

– being fully devoted to God and obediently responsive to the Holy Spirit
– enabling God’s soldiers to walk free in Christ and become fully engaged in the fight
– stepping our fearlessly to proclaim salvation in Jesus Christ
– proactively impacting the life of our community.

Now, I might have got a couple of words wrong…that was from memory…but if we get working to that vision we’ll be doing well!

Andrew

So much going on

There has been so much going on its impossible to blog it all. We are still in a curious period of chaos at the corps as the implications of the review are hitting the proverbial fan. Also experiencing a the huge ‘Amen’ of God though, and really feeling that some of the things we’re embarking on are significant.

Firstly, Freedom in Christ Ministry material. It looks like it will be revolutionary. The leaders of the corps have agreed to have a ‘freedom appointment’ to deal with strongholds and stuff. We will then hopefully be able to lead others in the corps through the process.

Secondly, we’re going Ward wise! We’re launching out in cell stlye over the next few years. Wards are old Army prototypes of wards. We’ve kept the name because its marginally better than cells, but there are some added extras to the ward concept that cell doesn’t have…will expound on that later.

In other news:

Firstly, I’ve been doing a fair bit of personal study, books, CDs, internet, on what is called the Jezebel spirit. I (unpopularly) believe that this spirit is manifesting itself in the corps…I guess I notice it more because I’m the ‘Elijah’ it is manifesting against! So…we continue to try and live in the opposite spirit, submiting to God, resisting the devil and refusing to give it any excuse until I have the slightest idea how to deal with it more effectively.

Secondly, had a sudden recognition about an hour ago with regards to the fact that when we eventually move corps, we will have to start all over again in a lot of things! *Sigh*

Thirdly, the battle of personal obedience proves in so many ways, to be crucial in the fight of a leader. Some areas are more down than up, yet other areas are strong. God is gracious, but God forbid that I should ever purposely trample the blood of Christ underfoot. Pressing on deeper in holiness.

Fourthly, my gaelic is slowly improving and we’re looking forward to a trip to Barvas on the Isle of Lewis (Scotland) in October. Been feeling strangely interested in the Western Isles for a while now…looking forward to visiting. Haven’t got round to visiting Captains Matt and Debbie on Orkney yet, but you never know…we might make it before the get re-appointed elsewhere!

Fifthly….urm….also looking forward to a weekend in Devon coming up (we’ve told DHQ this time..and about our last holiday!!)

So…thats not even half of it!

Ahhh….holiday


Don’t tell DHQ yet, but we are just back from holiday! (Forgot to tell them…oops!) We had a lovely 5 days at a campsite at the foot of the Malvern Hills In Worcester…not far from home, but far enough to be anonymous! I only wore an Army T-shirt for one day on holiday but I did have a big flag stuck to our awning…just can’t help myself.

You will remember ‘Daisy’ the campers first appearance here as resplendant orange and rust with flowers…here she is set up for camp in her new coat.