The Benefits of Sitting in a Different Pew

     Let me state the obvious at the beginning: where you sit during worship services is not a matter of salvation. You are not guilty of sin if you sit in the exact same pew every Sunday, (no matter where that pew is located in the auditorium). But does that mean you should always sit in the same place? Is your objective simply to avoid sin, or is your goal to get the most out of worship services while offering your best to the Lord?

     When is the last time you have given much thought to where you sit? In our men’s Bible study, we’re using a book titled Be Wise Small by Dee Bowman that encourages us to use wisdom even in the “small,” seemingly insignificant aspects of our life, with the thought that several small applications of wisdom yield compounding benefits over time. Think about your seat selection during worship services as an opportunity to “be wise small.” Could you and your family benefit from sitting in a different pew?

     A new pew could help you get out of a rut. It is easy to fall into a routine. Some routines can be good and helpful. Perhaps you have a child that needs routine, and sitting in the same pew each Lord’s day is comforting to him or her. On the other hand, sometimes our comfortable routines lead us to a place of complacency, (something warned against in Zephaniah 1:12). A complacent heart has little interest in spiritual growth. A change in scenery in the auditorium, while probably not a complete solution, could offer you a new perspective and help you be more attentive.

     Sitting somewhere different offers you an opportunity to engage with different members of your church family. We tend to talk with those we sit next to. When we sit next to the same people week-after-week, and we talk with those same people week-after-week, we can inadvertently go for weeks or months without talking to others in our spiritual family. Sitting in a different pew would allow you to build and strengthen relationships with others. We are told to “consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds,” in Hebrews 10:24. Be careful not to limit “one another” to just the people you prefer to sit next to. Try encouraging someone new this Lord’s day! Something as simple as occasionally sitting in a new seat might go a long way in improving the unity and inclusivity within our church family.

     Choosing to sit in a different pew could help cut out distractions. In any congregation, the closer you sit to the back, the more people there are between you and the one leading us in worship. Sitting closer to the front helps limit potential distractions. This is true for people of all ages, but especially for kids. It is typically easier to train children to focus on the worship service while sitting near the front of the auditorium rather than near the back.

     Sitting in a pew closer to the front has other benefits, too. It opens up space for guests to feel more welcome. Imagine visiting a church for the first time, walking into the auditorium to find all of the pews in the back full, and you have to walk halfway up the aisle in order to find a seat. Many would feel a bit awkward. Shouldn’t we want to do everything we can to make our guests feel welcome, and remove any unnecessary reason for them to feel uncomfortable? Perhaps leaving the back couple pews open for guests would help us be more welcoming to our guests. 

     Again, your choice of pew may not seem like a big deal. However, putting a little more thought and intentionality behind your seat selection may produce more benefits than you would imagine. We are creatures of habit, so it will take stepping out of your comfort zone, (especially the first time you try it). Maybe you decide changing pews is unnecessary. That’s perfectly fine if you come to that conclusion, but at least give some thought to sitting in a different pew. Those who try it may be pleasantly surprised by the benefits.