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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)

TITLE: A Space to Protect
By Sherry A. Jackman


A pulpit is understood to be the place at the church where the pastor or guest speaker preaches or teaches. The senior pastor of any given church is usually the person in charge of what happens or doesnít happen at the pulpit. One church I attended in Fairbanks changed pastors and the incoming pastor insisted the music minister resign, due to a fear that his loyalty to the former pastor would prevent a good working relationship with the new pastor.

The elder board who voted in the new man had not checked the ministerís background very well before inviting him to come and fill their pulpit. A couple years later, while going through some extremely hard times with my spouse, this particular pastor was so wrapped up in his daughterís bid for harvest queen at the local fair that he declined to pray with me over my distress. His wife was a budding concert pianist and was good at her craft, but her playing was not the style which adapted itself to choir accompaniment. She filled that position in spite of her lack of skill.

A few months later, my house caught on fire and I was bereft with 8 year old twin boys and a full-time job, trying to sort out the ashes, watch the kids and all the other details involved in cleaning up such a mess. No call came from this pastor asking if I needed help. A year or so later, the Holy Spirit informed me that I could have humbled myself and called the church asking for help watching my twins while my husband and I sifted through the ashes and soot and tried to put our lives back together.

A year after my house fire I felt the leading to move onto another church and forgot to resign my membership in the church with the unfeeling pastor in the pulpit. Since I was still on their membership roles, I was contacted when leadership finally woke up and determined this particular pastor was not what they wanted or needed in their church. I told them I was not in any position to help vote him out of there, and wrote my resignation letter to them.

I have since attended several good churches where the person in the pulpit was more receptive to needs of the membership and the leading of the Holy Spirit. However, one pastor had a guest speaker, who unbeknownst to him, was planning to serve communion. This guest chose French bread and a type of cola for the communion elements, much to pastorís despair. We had other guest speakers, such as a local police chaplain, but after the distressing impromptu communion, pastor was very cautious about who he let on the platform.

This even went so far as to who could perform a service for my own 25th Wedding Anniversary vow renewal ceremony in 1993. Pastor and his wife, who was also a licensed minister, were both going to be out of town as my anniversary coincided with the annual convention of the national fellowship our church was affiliated with. Even though we were not actually getting married, Pastor wanted a licensed minister performing the service. The Pastorís brother-in-law and I were very close as he had taught an overcomers class when I first began attending there, and I thought since we were already married and just renewing vows, that Ken could perform the ceremony. Evidently, Ken had been attempting to start a church on his own, or some other activity that caused his brother-in-law, the Pastor, to question his loyalties and Pastor refused to allow him to perform the ceremony for us. One of our church elders, Tom, was also a licensed minister and taught the Sunday School class I attended. So, even though I didnít know him as well as I knew Ken, he interviewed my husband and me for some background information on our 25 year marriage and the ceremony was performed by him. A co-worker/friend of mine who attended commented on the atmosphere at our ceremony, remarking how strongly the power of God was felt there.

The person in charge of the pulpit sets the atmosphere for anything that takes place, whether it is choir practice, vow renewals, or services where communion is held. Itís vital whoever is in charge of the pulpit in any church be led by the Holy Spirit so that whatever takes place there gives honor and glory to the Lord alone.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Josiah Kane11/23/07
A great message and a great story to house it. French bread in communion is a great idea. But I donít know if the start, with the house fire, is really vital to the story.
Laury Hubrich 11/25/07
It sounds like you've been burned by a minister. I've been down that path, too, but you can't let it hold you back. God is in ultimate control of that pulpit. I hope and pray you are in a good and loving church now. Keep on writing!