As a full-time pastor I spend quite a bit of time at our church building by myself. I spend most of that time in my office, but I take frequent forays into other parts of the building. Most of the time the final destination of the forays is the sanctuary.
I have heard some people say that an empty sanctuary spooks them a little. I’ve never felt freaked out by an empty sanctuary. I have, however, felt a different emotion as I look at empty pew after empty pew.
The Truth of God’s Word is still the Truth even when no one is around to hear it proclaimed; about this I have no doubt. What causes a sense of sadness is the fact that it is only when the pews hold people who are being attentive to the Truth being proclaimed that it can cause people to be transformed more and more into the image of Christ.
An empty pew has the potential to be filled by a person who needs Jesus because all people need Jesus.
But for the preached Word to impact people who need Jesus other people must invite and encourage them to fill the empty pews.
While followers of Jesus can tell others about the Gospel and show evidence of the change in their life the Gospel has caused, it is the faithful preaching of Scripture that God has ordained as the main way to convict sinners of sin and edify saints toward sanctification.
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God,
it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1 Corinthians 1:21 (emphasis mine)
If you are a member of a local church, seek to fill the empty pews. First with yourself and then with those God has commissioned you to reach which includes everybody.
If you are not a member of a local church, consider finding one where Christ is honored and the Bible is faithfully proclaimed and join them in drawing near to the Savior.
Empty pews are a problem; seek to be part of the solution.
How are the pews in your church looking these days?
How can I pray for your church today?
*I know some churches use chairs instead of pews; I’m just old-school 🙂