Front and Center

Front and Center

-Pastor Erik Reed

Does it matter where you place your preaching podium/lectern when preaching? My thoughts on this have changed over the past several years. When we planted The Journey Church 7 years ago, I did not even use a podium/lectern. I had a stool, with my Bible in hand. I thought I was so cool. Then, as time went on, I started using a music stand to hold my Bible and notes. I would place the music stand off to the side and preach, via a combination of the stool, or standing. When our church finally moved out of a school and into a more permanent facility, we bought a real lectern, one that was moveable, more of a true preaching pulpit. I got rid of the music stand. However, I still preached with the lectern situated off to the side. Then, about a year and a half ago, I moved the lectern to a position in front of me, right in the center of the stage. I have immensely enjoyed preaching with the lectern in this position.

Why did I have this progression in where I placed the lectern? Does it really matter where you have your podium/lectern placed while preaching? Several years ago I would have answered, “No.” However, my answer today is a slightly different. While I do not believe that the placement of your podium/lectern is a defining issue about whether someone is a faithful pastor or not, I do believe that where a pastor places his podium/lectern does communicate a message. And because of this, I believe every pastor should consider what that message is.

As I got older and grew more mature, both as a believer and as a pastor, my view of the Scriptures has grown higher and higher. I have come to cherish God’s Word more and more, truly believing that, it is only the Word of God, rightly preached, that saves sinners and transforms the human heart. I would have told you when I first started preaching that I believed those things, but my reason for having no lectern, or having it placed to the side, was for the purpose of connecting with the people; to have no barriers in between us. My goal was to be relevant. And in that connection with the people, that the gospel would be heard. But my method for doing this was having a stool and a lectern off to the side. I believed, even if subconsciously, that it was my being an engaging communicator, unimpeded by a pulpit, free to roam the stage, that was going to move people toward Christ.

The higher my view of the Scriptures has grown, the more front and center I have wanted them to be. The moving of the pulpit to the front and center of the stage was a move to non-verbally communicate that it is the Bible that I stand behind. Prior, it was me, front and center, with my Bible off to the side. While it was never my intent, my non-verbal communication was that I was the one that needed to be heard. With my Bible on the pulpit, front and center, now IT becomes the centerpiece.

So pastors, here are my questions: where is your podium/lectern located while you preach? Why is it there? I do not believe it is sinful to have your podium/lectern placed on the side while you stand front and center, but I do believe it sends a non-verbal message, a message that most pastors do not want to communicate. Placing it front and center keeps me, and the congregation I have been blessed to pastor, looking to God’s Word to lead us, speak to us, and transform us. I am not infallible and inerrant enough to be front and center.

Your thoughts and opinions are invited. What do you think about this?

Erik Reed