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following Jesus

Back in 1984, most churches still had a Sunday night service.  Preachers would use material they didn’t want to use on a Sunday morning and the worship leaders were usually young and gaining experience.

On this particular Sunday night, December 16, 1984, my buddies and I settled into the back row and hunkered down.  That’s the best way to describe it.  We had to endure the evening service in order to go to our youth devotional.  Hunkering down helped us endure.

In our church tradition, every service closed with an altar call, or what we called a “song of invitation.”  It was simply an invitation to walk to the front row, ask for prayers, or receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.

I took the walk on December 16, 1984, and was baptized at the age of 15.

Afterward, we gathered in a circle and sang a song that still holds special meaning for me, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”  It closes with these words: “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, I’ll follow Him.”

Several years ago I made the intentional decision to begin referring to believers in Jesus as “Christ-followers” and not just Christians.  I still use the term Christian.  I call myself a Christian.  But I’ll just as often use the term “Christ-follower” because I like what it communicates:

Christians are people who follow Christ.