The Empty PewAuthor: Josué Mora Peña
One day while I was praying at the church, I heard a noise. I looked around but I didnt see anyone, so I dismissed the thought and continued praying but then again, I heard that same noise. I looked around and saw nobody, it happened again for the third time. This time I realized it was one of the pews which wanted to talk with me. So I listened to it.
It told me that it and some others pews wanted to talk to me and to you, the congregation. It said that the only way to talk to you was through me, the Pastor of the church. I responded and said to it to go ahead and tell me what kind of message they wanted me to convey to you, the church.
This is what it told me, Even though I dont have any feelings, I feel sad, especially every Sunday morning because nobody uses me. No one sits on me. I envy the others which are always full of people and especially children and young people. I can always see those pews rejoicing because they are serving a purpose in church, but me, I feel lonely. Sometimes I wish I could be human to be able to go and fulfill the Great Commission and bring more people to church, but again, all I can do is sigh.
But because Im only a piece of wood, a pew, thats nothing I can do. If I could, I would cry aloud in desperation, I wish I could pray to God and ask Him to motivate each of you in the congregation but, since I dont have any feelings, theres nothing I can do. Year after year is the same old story, people are always too tired to go and visit someone from the parishioners, especially those who cannot attend church for several reasons. Sometimes not even a phone call is made. I think the novelas are more important than those who do not come to church.
I feel that Im not worth anything, because Im always empty. I cannot even invite someone to come to church and use me but your congregation can. Pastor Mora, I know you have been praying for revival, a good-old-time revival. And I know for a fact that the empty tomb is proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but, the empty pew, like me, denies it. I really feel ashamed, inferior, useless.
By then I was speechless, I did not know what to say to it. Tears were rolling down my cheeks. But then, the pew continued, The pews at the theaters are always full. Im glad that in some churches all the pews are full also. But Im concerned about this church, not the others. What is happening here in our church? Who is to blame? Every single day people die without Christ and they end up in Hell. Pastor Mora, you have preached here that the mission of the church is to rescue the perishing, those who do not know Christ. The only time when some people use me is in funerals, weddings and probably on special occasions.
Well, I said everything that was in my mind, I mean, my wood. I cannot pray for you and your congregation but you can pray for each other. When the pew finished talking to me, I did not know what to say. After all, it was right. How do we respond to the cry of the empty pew? I have four suggestions:
- Lets have a Prayer Team. Lets make a list of those who would pray at least 15 minutes every day. You choose the time and place where you will pray. Well make a list of requests related to the church and you will have it with you when you pray. Richard D. Hann said, I rather be a man of prayer than a man of the Word. He was a preacher. Matthew 18:19 says Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.
- Lets organized a Visitation Team. We need volunteers who will be able to visit the sick, the shut-ins, the ones who havent been coming to church. The Book of Acts 2:46 says, And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart. Every first Sunday of the month, we will give the list of people unable to come to church and the Visiting Team will go and take them Communion.
- We need to have a Callers Team. These people will call the absentees to make an appointment with them for the Visitation Team to go and take Communion to them, and pray for them, probably even make arrangements to have a Bible study in that home if they are shut-ins.
- We need a church Welcoming Team. They will serve as ushers and greeters. They will need to be in church on time. They will welcome the people and give them a bulletin and if they are first-time-visitors, to make sure that they give their names and address, including telephone number. And then, the empty pew will not feel so sad and our church will grow. We will not have anymore empty pews. Amen!