The Common Good

Change Your Pew, Change Your Perspective

When my usual pew was filled, I was almost panic-stricken as the usher led me to a different section of the church. Little did I know, I needed a change in perspective.

Some years ago, I walked into my church late and could not find a seat in the house. Actually, I could not find "my" seat in the house because all of the seats in my usual section were taken.

I felt uneasy, as I followed the usher to an open seat on the other side of the church. I had been so used to sitting in "my" seat that the thought of parking in a different pew -- especially one on the complete opposite side of the church -- actually bothered me. It was as if I was in a foreign country.

But as the service progressed, I was suddenly aware of the new level of freedom that I had as I praised and worshiped God in this strange, new location.

At one point, I was the only one standing and worshiping God with my whole body and with the words of my mouth. As I continued to shout praises to His name, others in my new seating area began to worship the Lord with me. Soon, we were swept up in a spirit of worship that seemed to last forever.

After the service, a brother and sister in Christ told me that they were glad that I sat in "their" section because my praise was infectious and they were encouraged by it to forget about their inhibitions and worship God even more. I was inspired by their testimony, and grateful to God for using me to encourage them and others in that section to worship with their whole beings.

As I drove home, I realized the Lord had allowed these circumstances to get me to see how silly it was to have "my" seat in church anyway. It's not a restaurant, a theater, or a football stadium. It's the house of God, where all are welcome and urged to gather together to praise and worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. It is a place where there are no "Big I's" or "little you's" because God does not regard a person's status or outward appearance, but looks at the heart and a person's commitment. It is a place where the focus should be on exalting the Lord for who the Lord is and all that the Lord has done.

The very next Sunday, I intentionally found a different place to sit and have done so ever since. Sometimes I've thought about those people who were encouraged to praise the Lord because I changed my seat. Maybe they got a breakthrough on some problem they were having. Maybe that day ignited a flame in them that the world and troubles could not extinguish. Maybe they were inspired to seek a more meaningful relationship with God. Maybe that Sunday changed their lives in some way. I may never know. But I have wondered:What would've happened if I had sat in my old seat instead?

Do you have a favorite spot to sit in church? Are you upset when you can't sit in "your" seat? I encourage you to break that tradition. It may seem like a simple thing, but I've discovered that it's often the simple things that lead to my most profound moments of growth as a person -- as a Christian. Take a chance and let God move in you by moving yourself. When you walk into church this Sunday, make up your mind that you will Change Your Seat!

portrait-Genikwa-WilliamsGenikwa R. Williams is a writer and the owner of Jordan Media Group, a boutique public relations and marketing firm that serves the Christian community. A South Jersey resident, she is also a full-time divinity student at Palmer Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Genikwa is a columnist for UrbanFaith.com and can also be found blogging at Everyday Repartee, a devotional and inspirational blog. This article appears courtesy of a partnership with UrbanFaith.com.

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