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Leading People to Christ

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Presentation on theme: "Leading People to Christ"— Presentation transcript:

1 Leading People to Christ

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Let Glory Crown the Mercy Seat

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The Salvation Army An international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its ministry is based upon the Bible; Its ministry is motivated by love for God; Its mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in His Name without discrimination. The Army’s mission statement.

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John 1:45 NIV Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." The following slides deal with instances where disciples bring people to Jesus.

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John 1:41 NIV The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ).

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Acts 8:34 NIV The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?“ 35Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

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Matthew 4:19 NIV "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." The command to all who would seek Him

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Mercy-Seat Hebrew: kapporeth, a "covering;" the covering or lid of the ark of the covenant (q.v.). It was of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, or perhaps rather a plate of solid gold, 2 1/2 cubits long and 1 1/2 broad (Ex. 25:17; 30:6; 31:7). It is compared to the throne of grace (Heb. 9:5; Eph. 2:6). The Holy of Holies is called the "place of the mercy-seat" (1 Chr. 28:11: Lev. 16:2). The origin and justification for the mercy seat. In many churches people hve sought the Lord at a specific place.

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Upon that Mercy Seat, on the great Day of Atonement in the ritual of Israel's worship, the blood was sprinkled. Paul says that Christ was a Mercy Seat 'in His own blood.' The thing God was doing when Christ offered up His life on the Cross reveals the grounds on which in every age God has forgiven sinners. Those grounds are expressed in the single phrase, ‘a propitiation in His blood’. Christ came to fulfill the scriptures. He has become the way to God – the only way. Propitiation – The fear of the wrath of God which has been removed by Christ through the shedding of His blood on Calvary. We are delivered form the tyranny of death; the evil of the flesh has been has been crucified with Christ our lives are not in vain. Christ has overcome the world.

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The Mercy Seat, also known as the Penitent Form, is in every Army sanctuary. It is a place where thousands of boys and girls, men and women, have received God's pardon and strength to live right lives. William Booth always believed that it was good to confess one's surrender to God … in public. The public act of moving to the altar is not what saves a person. It is my personal belief that when someone rises to go to the altar the work has already begun. The significance is in the seeker having a specific event that can be remembered.

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There is no special value in the wood; nor is the Penitent Form merely a place in a building. A drum has often been placed in the center of an open air meeting ring to serve for the same purpose. Wherever anyone feels they must live as God wants them to live, that place can be their Penitent Form or Mercy Seat. We Salvationists do not ascribe significance to an place. Again the act and rising and then publicly kneeling can be beneficial in the life of the convert. Many are truly saved and yet may never have knelt at an Army penitent form. An observer once commented “ These Salvationists invite any who have good desires to kneel publicly at the penitent form … humiliating themselves and risking ridicule. And extraordinarily enough; this doctrine, these methods succeed!”

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General Point – 1 Good grooming Do not offend by being improperly dressed Allow nothing to come between the seeker and his commitments. The devil will not give up his prisoner easily. Ladies need to be careful not to wear clothing that cold be regarded as provocative. The aptness of Army uniform cannot be too strongly emphasized

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General Point – 2 Personal Hygene Be clean, well groomed and fresh of breath Be aware overpowering cologne may be just as offensive.

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General Point – 3 BE MANNERLY It may not be wise to touch the seeker especially if the person is of the opposite sex. Many are troubled by being touched. Do not pry – confessions are for God to hear

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There may be those who know the seeker who will be most qualified to help. Allow God to use these people.

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ARE YOU READY ?

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Preparing the way It is essential to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit when constrained to talk to someone about the claims of Christ. Your usefulness will be enhanced as you bring to your task …

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GOD’S WORD Know it, always carry it It is your ONLY authority This cannot be too strongly stressed

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FAITH as alive although as seemingly small as a mustard seed You cannot commend what you do have not experienced

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LOVE a burning, Christ-like love is the driving force behind soul-winning

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UNDERSTANDING no two people are alike in personality, problems or needs If you have taken the DiSC personality profiling you will be particularly aware of how different personalities react

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TACT be approachable never dogmatic, harsh or critical Be careful. A dear retired officer of my knowledge was the cause of many not going to the altar. She was a little deaf and inclined to speak very loudly at the mercy seat. Once crying out – “You did what?” Not the best way to go!

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SINCERITY Your life must match your profession. Shallowness and sham are soon detected. “How shall they hear if the preacher forbear or lack in compassionate zeal” General Albert Osborn’s song based on scripture.

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PRAYER Seeking God’s guidance is essential in soul-winning

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There is a calm, a sure retreat; 'Tis found beneath the mercy seat; SA Song Book 573

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COUNSELLING In finding a counsellor be aware of the age, sex and background of the seeker. If someone close to the seeker is qualified to act then make use of that relationship. In these sad litigious times it must be stressed that what may be intended as a caring gesture could be misunderstood and misinterpreted.

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COUNSELLING Kneel with the seeker Begin with a personal prayer for strength You are about to help in the greatest task of your life… Leading someone to Christ This personal preparation should preface all aspects of mercy seat counseling. You can only do this work with God’s help.

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COUNSELLING Avoid cliches such as … “look up” - “just believe” - hold on” “let go” or “plunge into the Blood” They may cause confusion or even offend We may know what these things mean but you are dealing with a seeker who is unaware of his theological jargon. Speaking in tongues should only occur when an interpreter is available. Such talk can also be mumbo-jumbo to the uninitiated.

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COUNSELLING Gently introduce yourself by name Encourage the seeker to tell you his/her name Then when you pray you can pray for that person by name Be careful here. You never get a second chance at a first impression. Do not force yourself on the seeker. Respect the request for privacy if that is what is wanted and offer prayer for the seeker.

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A needy sinner at thy feet, With broken heart I bow For pardon at thy mercy seat, SA Song Book # 282

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COUNSELLING FOR SALVATION Emphasize God’s Love John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

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COUNSELLING FOR SALVATION Emphasize God’s Love Testify to it Show how it is revealed in the Bible Again a personal experience of God and knowledge of His word is vital.

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COUNSELLING FOR SALVATION Outline the Way of Salvation God wants for man to live a full rich life John 10:10 I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

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COUNSELLING FOR SALVATION Outline the Way of Salvation Because man was created with free-will he chooses his own way which results in separation from God. Abundant life can only be found by living God’s way. Even when dealing with the sin issue remain positive with the offer of God’s abundant life

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COUNSELLING FOR SALVATION Outline the Way of Salvation No-one is exempt from this Romans 3:23 all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Refer later to separate notes concerning excuses and objections.

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COUNSELLING FOR SALVATION Point out God’s answer – Jesus Christ Romans 8:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We do not have to be good to get saved. “He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good”. (SA Song Book 133)

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COUNSELLING FOR SALVATION Point out God’s answer – Jesus Christ John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus is the only way to God. Any other ideas smack of apostasy

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COUNSELLING FOR SALVATION Stress the need to accept Christ personally He is a personal Savior and the individual seeker must accept him in that light. Revelation 3:20 I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in. Any talk of coming from a Christian family has no merit. The seeker may be a fifth generation Salvationist but must become a first generation Christian.

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COUNSELLING FOR SALVATION Encourage a Definite Decision Gently guide the seeker towards repentance Psalm 38:18 I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin Without repentance there can be no forgiveness. The seeker must admit and confess sins - to God. You need not know what is being confessed. But try to ensure that the seeker has truly confessed all to God.

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COUNSELLING FOR SALVATION Encourage a Definite Decision Encourage belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. The act of faith brings about a right relationship with God through Jesus. He becomes a living reality in the life of the seeker because of God’s grace. This is where it gets difficult – you must move the seeker to Salvation without forcing the issue. It would not be wise to allow the seeker to leave the altar without a full commitment to God having been made. The opportunity may never be repeated.

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COUNSELLING FOR SALVATION Consolidate through Prayer Salvation is God’s work in man’s life. It is natural for the new relationship to be established in prayer. A set of prayers will be studied later

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Approach, my soul, the mercy seat, Where Jesus answers prayer. SA Song Book 284

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COUNSELLING FOR HOLINESS Emphasize God’s Power Holiness is not an impossibly high standard; it is not impossible to attain. Emphasize God’s power, show its revelation in Scripture and speak from your own testimony. As has already been stated, the counselor must have a real experience of his or her own Salvation.

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COUNSELLING FOR HOLINESS Emphasize God’s Promise God has pledged that holiness is possible in the life of anyone fully receptive to the Holy Spirit. Man is made Holy through the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ. see Ephesians 3 :

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COUNSELLING FOR HOLINESS Ephesians 3 : 14 – 17 14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

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COUNSELLING FOR HOLINESS Ephesians 3 : 17 – 21 And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

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COUNSELLING FOR HOLINESS Ephesians 3 : 20 – 21 20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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COUNSELLING FOR HOLINESS Emphasize the Work of the Holy Spirit The Spirit convinces man of his need of a deeper work within his life. Many take a long time before realizing their need for what is sometimes called the “second blessing”

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The spirit-filled man reveals – The peace and poise of a Christ-controlled life, steady in all circumstances A ‘live’ prayer life Eagerness for God’s Word Readiness to witness A life marked by purity and power The immature Christian reveals – An unstable,unsatisfying experience, often being at the mercy of circumstances. A static or inconsistent prayer life Lack of eagerness for God’s Word Preference for the “Silent Witness” A life needing more purity and power

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COUNSELLING FOR HOLINESS Emphasize Consecration A positive commitment involving renunciation. There is a parallel with the discipline of the athlete or the musician - giving up trifles to attain true freedom. Often there will be things in the seeker’s life that are preventing spiritual growth. The seeker must honestly confront those issues – be they habits, possessions or relationships.

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COUNSELLING FOR HOLINESS Emphasize Consecration Hebrews 12:1 … let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, The Christian life is exiting. Ours is not a faith of “Thou shalt nots”

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COUNSELLING FOR HOLINESS Emphasize Consecration Clarify what must be consecrated and what must be given up. Encourage a Definite Decision. As well as dealing with what may need to be forsaken, stress the sense of freedom that will come as a result.

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COUNSELLING FOR HOLINESS Emphasize Consecration Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian. It is natural to establish this in prayer. A set of prayers can be studied at this point. (separate hand-outs)

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Come, at the mercy seat fervently kneel; Here bring your wounded hearts,

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COUNSELLING FOR RESTORATION Reasons for Backsliding Avoid too much pressure or probing. Confessions must be made but must also be treated in confidence. It might be necessary for the seeker to talk to the Corps Officer It is none of your business what the nature of the backsliding is. Avoid the pruriant tendency. If you find yourself out of your depth then seek a more experienced or better qualified person.

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COUNSELLING FOR RESTORATION Reasons for Backsliding Neglect of Bible reading and study Neglect of prayer Unresponsiveness the the KNOWN will of God Regardless of the symptoms of backsliding – these are the reasons.

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COUNSELLING FOR RESTORATION Reasons for Backsliding Decline in personal faith Slackness in attending God’s house Being too SELF- reliant Inviting temptation (“playing with fire”) Personal knowledge of the individual may help in centering in on these reasons.

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COUNSELLING FOR RESTORATION Avoid being shocked by what you hear Do not condemn The seeker is looking for a way back to God There is a need to be assured of man’s acceptance as well as God’s This may be hard. In preparing for the task of counseling you may discover that you are not gifted in this area. Don’t despair - God has another task for you.

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COUNSELLING FOR RESTORATION God is ready to Save and to Keep 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Again, the Word of god has the answer.

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COUNSELLING FOR RESTORATION God is ready to Save and to Keep Remember Jesus’ parable of the “Prodigal Son” This demonstrates God’s prodigious forgiveness of the backslider. If you do not know this story make sure you learn it. Avoid the tendency to be an “elder brother” as the restored one reenters the Corps family.

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COUNSELLING FOR RESTORATION God is ready to Save and to Keep Ephesians 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. This is a direct command to become a man or woman of God.

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COUNSELLING FOR RESTORATION Emphasize the Importance of Faith The Bible constantly repeats the truth that forgiveness of sin is possible, because of God’s grace and may be experienced through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior Assure the backslider that God does forgive and that they need to accept that fact. They may need to be encouraged to make restoration to those who have suffered as a result of the backslider’s fall from Grace. Such conduct may help in the process of restoration.

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COUNSELLING FOR RESTORATION Emphasize the Importance of Faith Man is saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ Man is kept through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ overcomes the world The Christian lives by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ It would be beneficial to go through these points with all types of seekers

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COUNSELLING FOR RESTORATION Emphasize the Importance of Faith The Salvation Army accepts the doctrine that it is possible for the believer to stray from God but that forgiveness is available to the truly penitent. Prayers should be made for forgiveness and for the gift of his keeping power. We do not accept “Once saved always saved” A set of prayers can be studied at this point. (separate hand-outs)

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So may we with willing feet Ever seek the mercy seat. SA Song Book 76

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COUNSELLING FOR REDEDICATION Identify the Need There could be a specific need which may be Personal Family related Work related Corps related This can be a personal moment for which no help need be given. You could perhaps offer silent prayer whilst kneeling, informing the seeker that this is what you are doing.

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COUNSELLING FOR REDEDICATION Identify the Need In each case you are dealing with matters of a deeply personal, even intimate nature. Before assisting such a seeker be sure that you are the right person to deal with the situations. Better to pass the seeker to someone more qualified than to be the cause of frustration or even backsliding.

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COUNSELLING FOR REDEDICATION Identify the Need As always stress the importance of communing with God through the Scriptures and prayer. Without a life of prayer and Bible study, any rededication will be based on shallow emotionalism.

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COUNSELLING FOR REDEDICATION Identify the Need Although there may be a specific need expressed it must be stressed that there is no such thing as selective consecration. The whole man must be dedicated to God “Not a fragment but the whole” One must be selective and careful. The motivation of the seeker has to be investigated. People have been known to come to the Altar because they want “Something in the Corps”. We Salvationists have often derided other churches of their abuse of the confessional but we too can be guilty of misusing the Mercy Seat.

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COUNSELLING FOR REDEDICATION Meeting the Need Attend Bible study and prayer meetings Get involved in evangelism and visitation Make a concerted effort to bring people to the Corps Take on the needed work of the Corps, being concerned with the work not a position We are very “position conscious” in the Army. Remember there are no small tasks in the kingdom but there are small people in all churches.

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DANGER If you become involved with a seeker who confesses to gross moral breakdowns or illegal activities it would be well to allow the Corps Officer to take over or to seek professional help. This cannot be too strongly stressed. Remember an ordained minister (an officer) has privileges than cannot be legally challenged. The writer is aware of a Salvationist, also a judge, who had to obtain an officer’s help for a seeker who was about to reveal criminal activity. Seeing a seeker cuffed and arrested at the altar could seriously hamper the work of the Corps!

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Come with happy faces to the place of prayer.

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The Young People’s War An old Army term for the ministry to children. In dealing with young people the counsellor will need to be gentle and very careful If you do not “get on” with kids then maybe you are not the person to lead them to Christ. Accept the responsibility of your personality. Youngsters can spot a phony who is trying to feign interest.

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Whoever welcomes a little child … in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 12:5 – 6 NIV

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Understand the child’s motive in taking this step The desire to be better The wish to be a follower of Jesus Guilt about some wrong doing, to an adult this may seem insignificant but to the child it will be a major problem To ease burdens or confusion An emotional response to the Altar Call Because friends have come forward Children can be worried about things which to us are of minor importance but to them are deeply troubling. Be aware than many of the young folk who come to us are from disfunctional or single parent families. They may be the subject on any kind of abuse. Unless you are professionally trained in these areas it would be wise to pass these problems to those who are. The authorities may need to be informed. Even if a child comes forward “with the others” a work can still be commenced.

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Understand … How the child feels about what is happening Do not rush the process Don’t assume understanding when in reality there is confusion Initially guide the child to a simple decision to be a follower of Jesus Many of us came to the mercy seat to get into the YP Band or Singing Company. It was wise counselling that allowed the work of God to begin. This was the case of the writer and many of his knowledge. Wise counseling can allow the work of God to begin.

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Understand … The hopes and needs of the child The need to talk and the need for a listener Work out what will happen next Honor the trust which has been placed in you. A child may misinterpret any conversation you may have that seems to be about the decision made or confidence shared A child will be very tender after this encounter. Do nothing that will cause them to feel that they are being mocked.

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Understand … That Jesus died for them, young as they are That sins are forgiven That Jesus can be trusted to help keep the child good and be the life’s pattern, guide and friend Knowing how he lived, through the Bible, can help the seeker to grow more like Him, day by day Make the message clear and plain, Christ receiveth sinful men (women and children) SA Song Book 262

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Pray … for the child’s understanding of the guidance offered for forgiveness for those near and dear to the child for strength to deal with temptation thanking God for the life of Jesus thanking Jesus for dying for us thanking Jesus for His friendship praising God and dedicating the child’s life to Jesus Use these bullet points to guide the youngster to make his or her own prayer.

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TEENS In dealing with teens you may need to initiate the conversation Be prepared to ask tough questions - they live in tough circumstances Move the teen on to making a Definite Decision For a teen to make this move demands especially great courage. Do not be afraid of what might appear to be a bad attitude. They are seekers, seeking. You must help them find.

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TEENS If the Teen makes a commitment to Christ with your guidance be prepared to be available for future help and support You may have become a spiritual parent. As with the physical kind it will not always be easy but the rewards are marvelous. The writer is still involved with one man who sought as a young person – 20 years ago.

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And Heaven comes down our souls to greet, And glory crowns the mercy seat.

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DISCIPLING You have been involved in one of the most significant events in the life of a human being. Your work is not over It may never be over

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DISCIPLING Even at the time of the decision you may feel that more counseling is needed immediately Find a quiet place where this can take place Sometimes it may not be wise, or comfortable, to spend to long at the mercy seat. Also remember the congregation, don’t impose on their patience for too long. If lengthy counseling is needed then move to another place. Maybe seek help in your task. Try to establish a recognized space in the Corps building that can be used and is known to all counselors.

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DISCIPLING Keep in touch By phone By visitation By letter or card By being available By greeting the new convert at the Corps No-one wants to be “left at the altar” but that ’s how we sometimes treat our converts.

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DISCIPLING The great commission calls on us to “Make Disciples” who will in turn make others . Be or provide a mentor to help the new convert to grow in grace Maybe your Corps needs to establish a mentoring or discipling program. We will be held in account for these people.

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DISCIPLING Encourage the convert in… Bible study Prayer meeting Attendance at worship The social life of the Corps The writer was never SENT to the Army but TAKE. Take the new Christian to events such as these or assure them that you will be there. Don’t let them down!

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It is one of the great mysteries that God allows us to be involved in His great redemptive work. It is a privilege and an awesome responsibility Be prepared for the greatest task of your life.

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