There is nothing more exciting than seeing someone give their heart to Jesus. I have the privilege of leading a church that witnesses people giving their lives to Christ every single Sunday. It never gets old. It is so rewarding for me and for all who give of their time and talents to make the weekend services possible.
How do we see salvations every Sunday? Well, for one, we ask. Every single service, without exception, we provide an opportunity for people to make a decision for Christ.
I have interviewed pastors from all over the world on the GoCast podcast who are seeing regular salvations in their churches. In those interviews, I often ask what their single greatest secret is to seeing souls regularly saved in their churches.
The majority of them have told me that they are seeing souls saved simply because they are doing a salvation call in every single service.
I’d encourage every single pastor to do a simple salvation call in every service. It will do two things for your church:
- People will get saved, and when they do, the new believers will create momentum and excitement in the church.
- Your current members will begin inviting their unchurched friends and family members.
Two of the most prominent reasons pastors hesitate to do salvation calls in each service is because, firstly, they assume everyone attending is already saved. Secondly, they assume that they have to do an elaborate explanation of the Gospel before anyone is genuinely able to become a believer. These two reasons are not always true.
Here are some simple ideas that will increase the effectiveness of doing salvation calls weekly:
No. 1 Present the sermon in a way that makes it clear that Jesus is the solution.
A big concern for most pastors is that they can’t make the correlation between the message they have prepared and a salvation call. A great way to make this work is to clearly define a problem in the intro of your message that people want to be solved in their lives and then present Jesus as the solution or the Bible as the answer.
For example, one of the biggest responses to salvation I had in our church was right after I taught a message on tithing. To be honest, going into the message, I wasn’t sure how it would correlate to a salvation call. So I presented the problem of greed and how it is the great separator of relationships. It’s a hidden enemy of the heart that can create a lot of damage in people’s lives. I worked overtime on defining the problem. Then I offered the solution. God designed a system by which we can combat the hidden poison of greed in our hearts. He instructed us to give a percentage away immediately after receiving an increase. He even told us how much to give, ten percent, which is the definition of the word tithe.
When I gave the salvation call, I just added that some believe the Bible is a rule book with a bunch of dos and don’ts. Yes there are instructions in it, but it is more like a recipe book than a rule book. God’s rules always have a purpose. When He asks us to do something, it’s because it is for our benefit and we will like the outcome. It was easy to invite people then to begin a relationship with a good God who is looking out for our best.
No. 2 Present the simple Gospel.
I think sometimes, we as Christian leaders believe that we need to get people saved and discipled in one fell swoop. That is just not possible. We first need to get people saved, then the process of discipleship can begin. Paul told us that salvation comes when we “confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
Every time I lead people through the prayer of salvation, I quote this verse. I make it clear that salvation hinges on believing in the Resurrection and confessing Jesus as Lord. That’s why we pray a prayer. It’s the confession with our mouths.
No. 3 Pray the prayer.
My salvation prayer is based on Romans 10:9. It goes something like this:
I confess that you are God.
I believe that you rose from the dead.
I ask you now to become my God,
my Lord and Saviour,
and my friend.
Please forgive me of all my sins.
Thank you for accepting me and welcoming me, just as I am.
I give my heart to you,
in Jesus’ name, Amen.
No. 4 Have people make a public declaration.
After I have prayed the prayer, I ask everyone who prayed that prayer for the first time to raise their hand boldly. This is a public declaration of the decision they just made. I know other pastors ask people to raise their hand before they pray the prayer. Others invite the new believers forward or ask them to join them in a separate room after the service. I don’t think there is one right way to do this. Do whatever works best for you and your team. The purpose of this step is to encourage people to solidify the decision they just made with the next level of commitment.
No. 5 Follow-up.
Jesus never instructed his followers to go and make converts. He told them to go and make disciples. To effectively turn a new convert into a disciple, we need to follow-up with those who just decided to give their hearts to Christ. At our church, we don’t count the hands that go up in the room as salvations. We count those who we have been able to connect with and get their information so that we can begin the process of discipling them.
To effectively follow-up, we give our new converts a free New Believer’s Bible in exchange for their information. The majority of those who put their hands up will come to receive the Bible. We regularly have more people come for a Bible than hands that have gone up in a room.
No. 6 Give a clear next step.
When the new convert comes to receive their Bible, a kind host will record their information on a card and then invite them to our new believer’s small group called My Victory Starts Here. I know other churches have new believer’s classes as well. Regardless of your preference, make sure you have a clear next step for the new converts to join.
I believe the single most significant key to church growth and regular salvations is doing a salvation call at every single service.