05.15.15

Pulpit Ethics 101

Hey Folks,

Have you ever witnessed a preaching time when the message was okay, but the brother and his pulpit theatrics were kind of over the top? You ever seen a brother preaching and really wished that when he prayed “Lord hide me behind the cross,” it would have actually happened, or  that at least he could have been hidden behind something? Brothers, do you wonder if sometimes you might be guilty of maybe too much showmanship in the pulpit? If so I have a few helpful guidelines that should aid you in pulpit manners.

  1. I know you are tempted, but please resist the urge to lead out in a congregational hymn. Just because you can preach does not mean you can sing. Furthermore, everyone knows the last number by the choir was long enough.
  1. Go ahead and finish the reading of that text. I realize at one time the “pregnant pause” was fashionable in Black pulpits, but now it’s rather irritating. The three year olds in the congregation are reading faster than you. It should not take you five minutes to read two verses.
  2. Please leave that big white bath towel in your bathroom at home. If you perspire that much while preaching, you might want to seek medical attention.
  1. If you need to bring a reasonably sized handkerchief to the pulpit, you should bring more than one and designate them for restricted use. For example, the one for your nose should only be used for your nose. Each time you use the already used nose hanky for wiping perspiration from your forehead, the sister in the third row gets nauseated.
  1. Remember the arm’s length rule. If at any time you are more than an arm’s length from the podium, you are out of bounds. Don’t say another word until you have moved back into the proper preaching zone. Besides that DVD of an empty platform with your voice is quite annoying for the sick and shut in.
  1. Keep in mind that you are preaching to an entire congregation. Referencing an individual might be okay, but to turn and face someone and speak directly to them is bad manners. What about the rest of the congregation? Stay focused and always bear in mind that preaching is a congregational moment. Plus, the person you keep talking to is rather frustrated you keep waking him up.
  1. Along the same lines as number 6, please refrain from turning your back on the congregation. Turning around and facing the ministers (personal cheerleaders) on the “rostrum” or the choir would have gotten you a failing grade in any speech class. It also gets you an “F” in Pulpit Ethics 101.
  1. Do not beg for a response. If your call necessitates begging for a response, you might want to hang up that message and try dialing again. The next time use exegetical and expositional assistance. They will always get you connected.
  1. Remember point #1. This time apply it to the end of the sermon. I know you are in high gear as you come to a close and about to take your seat. Please my brother, just simply take your seat. A final song by you will prove counter-productive, especially if your solo is better than your sermon.
  1. Start a weekly workout routine. Everyone knows you are not beginning to start your whoop, and that you’re actually out of breath and in serious need of some oxygen. If you are going to be first in line at the fellowship meal, you ought to be the first in line at the gym.

Well my brothers, I hope these few tips will move us along in the work we have been called to do. Maybe you have some helpful pulpit insight. C’mon on the porch and help some brothers out.

Louis Love
Louis Love serves as the pastor of New Life Fellowship Church, which he planted in 1997. Joyfully married, Louis and his wife, Jamie, have three adult children and ten grandchildren.

C’mon Up!