The Problem of Empty Pews

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 🙂

15 thoughts on “The Problem of Empty Pews

  1. We have chairs. 🙂 We just moved back into our renovated auditorium and had our celebration this past Sunday. it was fun seeing full rows. You can pray for continued preaching/teaching of truth and transformed lives.

  2. We sadly have lots of empty pews. For some reason our congregation has all but disappeared an we are left with a handful of faithful worshipers. But I just know that God is allowing it for a reason. Maybe he’s just clearing room for the explosion of people he will soon save!

  3. We are struggling with some growing pains – they are tough but there are Sunday’s when we have open spaces. Just pray the the Holy Spirit moves in the Church and community as people hear the Word and take it too the community.

  4. We rent out space in another church’s building. It’s huge and we are not. We have a lot of empty chairs, but like you I’m encouraging people to invest in others and share the gospel with them.

  5. We are in flux right now–God is moving, but we’re having trouble finding a home church (although we are involved in an awesome home study). Appreciate your prayers there. Will be praying for you, too.

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