The congregation in the auditorium became silent as Rev. Smith approached the pulpit; it was as if there was a holy hush
in anticipation of the words of truth that would flow from their pastor. His countenance changed as he looked up from his
harsh and condemning spirit was unleashed upon those people that Sunday morning. How unfortunate. Rather than
hearing the good Word of God, the saints were subjected to a man’s rage and venting against certain elements in the
church that had risen up against him. I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes; it must have been something
terrible; nonetheless, the opportunity this pastor took to take revenge was most inappropriate. He had forgotten one of
the most fundamental truths about the pulpit, and that is its sacredness – it is the sacred desk.
I too have been faced with numerous opportunities over many years of ministry to utilize the pulpit for unholy purposes.
Each time the temptation arose to do so it seemed to me to be justifiable. An individual or group needed setting straight
or they needed to be chastised for wrong doings or bad attitudes, or whatever. One time I succumbed to the temptation.
The results were not good. We lost a lovely couple God had brought to us. Looking back on it, I would have left the
church too had I faced the same thing from the pulpit. No names were mentioned in my “correction” but the man knew it
was he to whom I referred. Yes, there was the need for correction; the man was displaying inappropriate attitudes toward
certain decisions made by the pastor and voicing those objections to others. But despite his wrongdoing, this was the
wrong pastoral approach to the needed rebuke. I misused the sacred desk. The Lord was displeased.
There are other misuses of the sacred desk we fivefold ministers must be aware of and that we must avoid at any cost.
One such misuse is to promote our own ambitions and dreams from the pulpit. The sacred desk is not your soap box to
use as you please. It is not a platform for personal use. In fact, such things are a flagrant violation of the stewardship
Jesus has delegated to you as His ambassador to that church or ministry. Several decades ago the pastor of a fairly large
church became involved in a multi-level marketing plan of some sort. He used his godly influence to persuade some of his
parishioners to invest in it. Even though the actual discussions of the investment were relegated to meetings outside the
sanctuary, his comments about the “wonderful opportunity” and his announcements of the meetings from the pulpit were
sufficient violation of the sacred desk. It is good to remind yourself from time to time that your pulpit is not really YOUR
pulpit. It belongs to Jesus who is the Head of the Church. Only what He wants to be said over that desk is appropriate;
anything else is a misuse of it.
Let’s discuss showmanship in the pulpit. If we take this word, as it is ordinarily defined, which is simply to show off in
order to impress or entertain, then showmanship has no place in the pulpit. Since the desk is sacred, such purposes
violate its sanctity. But let’s not throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater here. The reason we stand in the pulpit
is to deliver the good Word of God for the benefit of His Church. If you have served in ministry for very many years, you
realize that getting and keeping the attention of the congregation is sometimes quite a challenge. With this in mind, the
employment of various means to enliven the sermon is good and needful if the Word is to be received adequately. For
example, on one occasion I employed the use of 26 different hats of every shape, design, and color as props to help
deliver a message on “attitude.” It was funny and entertaining. The saints talked about the sermon for weeks. To some it
may have seemed like showmanship, but to God and me it enabled us to deliver the Word sufficiently through the use of
visual effects. The message was powerful and Jesus was glorified. So, you can see that through the use of such things as
visual effects, props, humor, video, lighting, drama, etc. the power of your message can be greatly enhanced. Do not be
afraid to use whatever means it takes to deliver the Word of God. It is always good counsel to seek the divine OK prior to
doing such things.
While we are on the subject of the sacred desk, I will address a question that has arisen several times over the years.
The question is: Can someone who is not ordained as a fivefold minister stand behind the pulpit to sing, read, give a
testimony, etc.? Of course this is a personal judgment call, but my response has always been to disarm the controversy
by reminding us all that the sanctity of the sacred desk is not the piece of furniture itself. What makes the pulpit sacred is
its use to deliver the pure Truth of God by His appointed men and women. The pulpit is not violated if an un-ordained
person uses it for purposes that enhance the worship service. It is my suggestion that you, nonetheless, carefully monitor
what happens in the pulpit so as to preserve its respect in the eyes of the saints.
Never use the pulpit to “try out your theological theory.” Nothing should ever be said from the pulpit that is not truth.
John 17:17 says the Word is truth; therefore, only the clear and pure Word is to flow from the sacred desk. Adequate
prayer, biblical research, church historical research, and godly counsel should always precede a sermon on a topic that is
not widely accepted by the historic Church. By the time you deliver the sermon, it is doctrinally correct and without flaw.
The integrity of the sacred desk is hereby preserved.
Jesus has given to you a holy stewardship over His sacred desk – guard it, love it, and use it for His glory.