Ministry Etiquette

Pulpit Seating Etiquette
January 1, 2011 By

Pulpit Seating Etiquette
Pulpit Seating Etiquette
Have you ever been invited to speak at a ministry event and you were inivited up on to the pulpit, but were a little perplexed about where to sit?  Well, you are not alone. This is an issue that every woman in ministry probably has or will run in to during the course of her preaching ministry. However, don't fret, we are here to provide you with a few basic "universal" guidelines that should be sure to help you out!
Now, in case you were wondering, yes, there is a correct protocol when it comes to pulpit seating whether at your local church or at a major conference event. As a woman in ministry, you always want to be sure that you are submissive to the protocol as set forth by the highest ranking official at the ministry service or event. This includes being respectful of the customs and manners of the church or organization as to whether the ministry approves of women being in the pulpit. If you are unsure as to who the highest ranking official is or His/Her desires regarding your seating in the pulpit, ask the person who invited you to confirm your seating assignment with the highest ranking official before taking the pulpit. Or, take the gracious approach and sit on the front row or near the pulpit until further instructions are provided. Never enter a pulpit before the highest ranking official, or before you have been invited to do so by the highest ranking official or his proxy. Remember, just because you are in ministry or have been ordained does not necessarily mean you automatically sit in the pulpit.
With that being said, here are a few guidelines for your consideration:
  • When approaching the pulpit, always remember, the middle seat in the pulpit should be reserved for the highest ranking official of the service (i.e. Bishop, Sr. Pastor, Assistant Pastor, etc.)
  • According to how the pulpit is set up, the seat to the right of the highest ranking official should be reserved for the invited guest or person of the leader's choosing.
  • Following the middle seat and right seat, should chairs be situated on both sides, those remaining who require pulpit seating should populate those seats starting with the greatest ranking to the least ranking in terms of the order of the five fold ministry gifts or from the greatest to the least rank of the ecclesiastical order established by the organization or local church.
  • Should there not be enough seats, unless you are the invited guest of the leader, always defer your seat to the official that ranks higher than you, or to your male counterpart in the Gospel, should he need a seat.
  • Once seated, ensure that the length of your skirt cover at least two inches below the knee and that you have a modesty cloth to assist you.
  • Never cross your legs at the knee in the pulpit!!!! Always sit up straight with your knees together and your feet placed firmly on the floor. If you must cross your legs, do so with feet crossed at the ankles and pulled back closely to your chair. Do not stretch your legs out and crossed in the pulpit as to cause a distraction or someone to trip if they move suddenly.
  • Once the service is concluded, be mindful to exit the pulpit once the highest ranking official is no longer seated or in the pulpit.
These are just a few general guidelines that should help you while doing the Lord's work at any church that approves women to grace the pulpit.

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