To Stand Or Sit

English: 4th day of Evangelism training at Hun...

English: 4th day of Evangelism training at Huntington Beach provided by LivingWaters Ministry which encourages and equips Christians to share their faith biblically the way Jesus did by obeying Jesus command to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone.” Mark 16:15 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Burning Question:  Why do pastors stand preaching instead of sitting down teaching?  It appeared that was the norm for teachers such as Jesus.

What an interesting question!  Not sure that you will find any type of biblical admonition for standing over sitting while proclaiming the truth of God’s Word.  In fact, you will find a variety of examples in Scripture regarding how one communicated in those days.  For example, Jesus taught while sitting (Matthew 5:1-2), while sitting in a boat (Luke 5:3), while walking in the temple (Mark 11:27-33), while traveling on the road (Mark 8:27-33), while standing (John 7:37-38), and while reclining and eating with His disciples (Mark 14:18).  Other references to Jesus teaching and preaching simply do not say if He was standing or sitting (Luke 8:4-18).  In addition, this doesn’t even address how Paul and the early church leaders communicated as read in Acts (also showing a variety of ways to communicate).  So, I think it is safe to say that the manner in which we proclaim God’s truth is less of an issue than whether we choose to proclaim it at all.

Whether standing or sitting while communicating has a lot to do with the personal preference of the communicator and also the environment in which they are communicating.  For me personally, I have always been most comfortable while standing when I am preaching.  Even then, I usually don’t stay still in one place for long, since it’s harder for someone to hit a moving target!  There are other instances, usually in a small-group setting, where I am more comfortable sitting and engaging in conversation/dialogue as I teach. It’s really just a matter of preference and what best fits the environment.

The “norm” for an audience must be taken into consideration as it would be a distraction for a pastor to communicate in one way when an audience is accustomed to a different way of being taught.  Jesus reclined with his disciples while teaching and eating the Last Supper (reclining while eating was the Middle Eastern “norm” in the first century) but He did not use this method of communicating while teaching large crowds, for obvious reasons!

When the dust settles, the absolute most important ingredient when communicating the truth of God’s Word is not whether one is sitting, standing, reclining, leaning, or kneeling (I think I covered every possibility!), but whether or not the Holy Spirit is working through the message to drive it into the hearts of the hearers.  May our prayers be that every believer is bold to proclaim God’s life-changing truth and that God’s Spirit uses it to draw people to Himself.  Now, get out there and sit/stand/recline/lean/kneel while you tell others about the Truth that changed your life!

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