Published on October 1st, 2015 | by Tony Felich0
Pastor’s Corner October 2015
The following was published in our monthly newsletter, the Redeemer Report.
Why the big, central, pulpit and not a Plexiglas lectern and stool?
The various features of our church architecture and layout are based on things we see as Biblically important. Our building looks a certain way for a specific reason. Our choice of furnishings and the particular layout of the pulpit, baptismal, and communion table are purposeful.
It seems the big, central, wooden pulpit is rare in new church buildings. Many modern churches opt for a stool or chair in front of a Plexiglas lectern for their casually dressed pastor to sit and teach or “talk with” his congregation. I do something similar on Sunday nights and in other teaching venues. Certainly the Word of God can be taught or preached in different set ups. The Bible doesn’t prescribe the arrangement of furniture in a church worship setting. Whatever your set up, something is being communicated.
The sitting pastor with a small Plexiglas lectern on Sunday morning definitely communicates a casual, informal, personal interaction. It seems such a set up is intended to make the pastor come across as non-threatening, even a bit less authoritative. The stool/lectern approach is meant to put people at ease as they listen to a “message” from the Bible. The pastor’s choice of casual dress while teaching or preaching Sunday morning tells the congregation – “Hey, I’m one of you! Listen what I’ve learned this week.” I think much of the trend toward a casual set up for teaching/preaching Sunday morning has come from “millennial” pressure. Millennials are characterized as being skeptical or dismissive of authority. The traditional big, central pulpit with the pastor wearing a suit or robe is a bit offsetting to a generation that doesn’t acknowledge levels of authority readily.
Why the big, central, wooden pulpit at Redeemer? Our intention is to communicate importance and authority. The most important activities of the church are signified by the furnishings we have – the pulpit, the baptismal, and the communion table. The ministry of Christ’s church is the ministry of the Word and Sacraments. Our furnishings are meant to make a statement about the priorities of the church. A big, central, and strong pulpit is meant to promote the preaching of God’s inspired, inerrant, sufficient, and authoritative Word. The pulpit is bigger than the preacher. The pulpit requires the person who brings the Word to stand up and step into it. It demands the preacher consider the solemnity of the role he is exercising when preaching the Word. In our church, the pastors wear robes so the congregation’s attention is not on his clothes, but rather the role he is filling for that hour. The pulpit manned by a minister in a robe communicates importance and authority. The pulpit set up is a reminder to the pastor and the people about God’s authoritative Word. There’s a sense in which pastors come and go, but the big, solid pulpit from which the Word is preached, will remain for generations. A preacher “filling the pulpit” is a great way to describe what a faithful pastor should be doing. He should know what the pulpit is meant for (preaching the Word) and do the task.
2 Timothy 4:1-2 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
In the Lamb,
Pastor Tony Felich