In a majority of the churches I’ve attended, it’s become customary to have a separate seating for the pastor and ministers apart from the congregation.
The congregation usually sits together on ground level, while the pastor and ministers sit in the pulpit, which is a raised surface from where the service is usually conducted.
Most churches have special seating for the choir, and/or praise team, located directly behind the pulpit.
I’ve even been in some churches where they did not allow women in the pulpit at all. Their reasoning being, God did not call a woman to preach or to usurp authority over a man, therefore, because the pulpit is sacred, a woman should never be allowed to grace it, not even to read a Scripture, lest she defiles it. In these churches, it would be an absolute abomination for a woman to ever stand on the pulpit to give any type of exhortation.
No matter what side of this debate you are on, what I do know is that I would like to see us eventually do away with all special seating on the pulpit (or what I like to call the Elevated Platform) altogether. Here’s why:
1.—–> As people, sometimes because of our immaturity (and/or ignorance), we get in the habit of putting our pastors in God’s place. Having our pastors sit at the front of the church, on an elevated platform, while I understand is natural for some to do, could actually contribute to our elevation of the pastor.
If throughout the service, the congregation’s focus is always glued on the pastor, or ministers, who are so conveniently located directly in their line of vision, this could lead some to slip into idol worship of their pastor or minister.
People usually love their pastors and think highly of him, as they should. But the pastor should never take the place of God in your life.
This could also explain why some quickly call on the pastor when they have a problem, rather than falling on their knees and talking to God. In their subconscious minds, the pastor has been lifted to some sort of hero status, whom they naturally turn to first when they find themselves in a bind.
In their minds, the pastor can fix anything. He can certainly get a prayer through to God since the pastor has some sort of direct connection to Him that the regular congregant doesn’t have, by reason of him being a pastor.
This line of reasoning, however, changes once a person matures in his or her Christian faith, develops his or her own relationship with God, and becomes aware of the fact that because of Jesus, the average Christian has gained access to God — they no longer have to go through the pastor (or prophet) to get to God.
2.—-> I am also afraid that some aspire to become ministers because of the prestige we tend to place on the oral ministry. This causes them to begin to covet this position for themselves; they love how the preacher can stir up excitement in the congregation, and they too have a desire to one day sit on the elevated platform, and cross their legs along with the other ministers, while looking down upon the congregation.
They’ve come to idolize ministers and have probably imitated them since they were little boys. This goes back to the type of hero worship some ascribe to the pastor. He becomes like a superhero to these young boys, who can fight sin and single-handedly rescue people from the devil’s lair, while holding a microphone in one hand and a Bible in the other. The pastor then becomes their focus, rather than God.
Now, the pulpit in itself is not bad. It’s the attitudes of some of the people who sit on the pulpit. Some see themselves as more holier than the rest of the congregation because they have the title of pastor or minister before their name.
But of course, God is no respecter of persons. He who seeks to be great must be your servant. We must all come the same way — through Jesus Christ. And we all must humble ourselves and bow to God.
We place a certain value on these positions. We’ve become so fixated on title, position, notoriety; this is not just in the world, but it has unfortunately also made its way into the church. This is not the way of Christ, and therefore should never be named among His followers.
Man has a history of trying to elevate his status to be equal with God. Lucifer was kicked out of heaven because he became lifted up with pride.
Humility is the thing that pleases God. He is not as impressed with us as we are with ourselves. Title doesn’t move God, nor does position and fame. He looks at the condition of the heart. Is your heart right before Him? Are you pleasing in His eyes?
We are all equal in the eyes of God, and our churches should also reflect this. We are all servants of His, no matter our position or title; and we all must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Therefore, I say: Death to the Elevated Platform!!