We sometimes use the Song “What Can Wash Away My Sin?” as an invitation song following a sermon.  I suppose the intention of doing such is to encourage those who have never obeyed the Gospel and put on Christ to come forward and have their sins washed away.  That would make the most sense.  In my experience though, many people do not put those things together if they are genuinely in need of salvation.  


I remember my first time hearing an invitation following a sermon.  I recall having no idea what song they were singing (because I didn’t understand what it meant to “mark this song for the invitation”).  I also didn’t know why we were standing and why the preacher was facing all of us looking around like he was waiting for something.  It is funny to think about that now after offering so many invitations after my sermons.  And so that begs the question, is an invitation the most effective way to encourage responses? I have no issue with offering the plan of salvation and singing an invitation song, but from what I’ve seen it may be that most “responses” are silent and internal.  


I have heard from some that they appreciated the words that were said and it caused them to “respond from their seat”.  I don’t think the Lord would have a problem with that at all.  In fact when seeing the responses after many of the preaching occasions in scripture, the response is not public.  I say all of this not to cast doubt about our tradition of giving the invitation to the congregation, but to simply encourage all of us to respond to the message of the Word of God, publicly if needs be, or silently.  I have heard sermons (and given them) where I learned something valuable and tried my best to apply it from that day forward.  It did not require a public appeal, but instead a quiet mindset shift within me.  


However it is that you need to change and mold into a more Christ-like person, feel free.  If we as the church can comfort, encourage, support, or help you, I’ll be down at the front.  Otherwise, feel free to “respond from your seat”.