Pay-Per-Pew: What if we had to pay for church seats?

On the surface paying for a seat at church sounds outrageous, but outrageous is right up our alley! The Sistas weigh the pros and cons of pay-per-pew church seating.

PRO: If you pay for your seat you are more likely to show up for church. Church folk don’t like to waste money.

CON: People will use not being able to afford seating as an excuse not to attend church. We can see it now, people handpicking the Sundays they can “afford” to attend; Christmas, Mother’s Day, Easter.

PRO: No need to save seats. No more news stories about grown men fist fighting over church pews. Now hymn books, scriptures, jackets and diaper bags can be used for their intended purposes and not to reserve a row.

CON: Church ushers would be out of a job. No more folks in white gloves guiding you down the isle and to your seat.

CON: Church ushers would have a new job. Evicting people mid-service from their pew for missing the monthly payment. Getting your pew repoed would be mighty embarrassing.

PRO: Gets rid of the unassigned-assigned-seat-program. The one where families sit in the same seats each Sunday and regular congregation members instinctively agree to abide by the unofficially-official-chapel-seating-chart. Problems arise when instead of occupying Wall Street uniformed visitors occupy your seat.

CON: Chronically late churchgoers would no longer feel a sense of urgency to get to church if they don’t run the risk of not finding a seat.

PRO: That one kid who is tasked with getting to church earlier than everyone else to save a row for the entire family can sleep in a little later.

CON: People might start trying to run side hustles like; Pimp Your Pew, then we’d start seeing pews lined with Swarovski crystals. Or Pew Now Pay Later.

PRO: At churches where the air conditioning only blows at the front of the chapel to cool the preacher off when they start to sweat cause the Spirit of God like a fire is burning, you can reserve a cool seat near the front and not have to ferociously fan your face with your church fan.

CON: At the LDS church all the front pews will be vacant while bidding wars start for the cushioned seats at the back of the chapel.

PRO: No more need for church fundraisers.

CON: You will know if your preaching is not on point, because nobody is going pay for a seat to a bad sermon.

PRO: People don’t like to sleep through something they paid for.

CON: People start murmuring: If we have to pay for the pew tithing should only be 7%; My pew value went down when the Jones bought the pew next to us; Keep your cheerio crumbs in your own pew; They have no kids and bought that big ole pew in the middle row so the two of them could show off; Obviously the pastors/preachers/bishops wife should get a free pew!

Okay y’all, after careful consideration we’re gonna go ahead and state that pay-per-pew is probably not a good idea, at least not in our wards. But if the system gets implemented please don’t act shocked when you see us with a lil’ side hustle; for a small fee we will pre-place snacks in your pew so while your soul gets fed your stomach does too!

Is seat saving a problem in your congregation? Does your ward have unassigned-assigned-seating? Are the front pews at your chapel always available?

Feast upon the Word,
Sista Beehive & Sista Laurel


  1. LOL! Love it. My dad was always a front pew man because nobody else ever sat there and if he was a little late, he still had a seat. My mom was a back pew woman because if the babies started to cry, it was the shortest distance from pew to exit. Of course that meant she had to be to church a half hour early to get the pew she wanted. (My parents weren’t divorced or anything. When mom had a new baby, if the church schedule was during naptimes, she went inactive for that year. No way was she going to mess with a sleeping baby. She’d send Dad to take the rest of us to church. So if Dad took us without Mom, it was the front. If Mom came along, it was the back.)

  2. Hilarious! Love this! You are spot on! Almost every ward I’ve lived in has an unspoken seating arrangement for “select pews.”

    Another advantage to Pay-Per-Pew is that it would also tip off the men on the stand about insufficient seating problems. Hmm, here’s a payment, but nowhere to put them… What to do? In my last ward, I could come exactly on time and still have find myself without a chair (because all the ‘overflow’ chairs were already filled). Now if I was a new Sista, or it was my first time back at church after a few years, and I couldn’t find a seat, how welcoming is that?

    Still, I agree, Pay-Per-Pew wouldn’t be advisable, but it’s sure is a creative way to shake up the way you look at your weekly congregation.

  3. We sit in the cheap seats in the front. ;-)

  4. Getting your pew repo’d? ROTFL!!! :-)

  5. As a clerk, I have to ask if attendance would be based on people sitting in the pews or the number of places on pews sold. It matters.

  6. LOVE! I’m at my computer and my husband keeps asking me why I’m laughing. I’m new to your blog, so glad I stumbled across it though, too funny!!!

  7. Love you guys! Me, I’m usually running late so I steal the pew the sacrament boys were in!

  8. If you time it perfectly, you can get there to take the sacrament in the hallway and then have there will be two cushioned pews available once the deacons move. :)

    We’ve even been on time, but got a “bad” seat and then moved our whole family to the front once sacrament passed.

  9. Thanks for the love! Tell ya hubs the brothas are welcome too!

  10. Let’s do the number in attendance. We don’t want the brotha that counts heads during Sacrament meeting to lose his calling. What if they send him to the nursery…people lose testimonies there. ;-)

  11. You know it would only be a matter of time before it happened to somebody and ended up on Youtube. That’s why we can’t do Pay-per-pew LOL!

  12. Love the front! It feels so VIP, I don’t know why people like the back, I want front row tickets to Jesus.

  13. Preach! We’ve been telling folks for years that we need ushers at the LDS church. They ask people to scoot over in the pew and make room for people and keep an eye out during the service for where the empty spots are. How do we get church ushers added to the callings list!

  14. Your mom didn’t play when it came to nap time LOL! The back row is a hot spot for mamas with fussy kids.

  15. With 3 small kids, I would pay WHATEVER for the back pew… But as the ward pianist, we have to sit on the front …. But I’ll take the idea to the ward council ! ( who knows? I heard we are low in tithe….. )

    Be aware that if you hear about a wole ward in Brazil that in being under probation stage, is your fault …

  16. Can you imagine the chaos during missionary meetings and baby blessings? O.o Lol Maybe people could sublet their pews for a small profit during those special meetings. ;)

  17. Marie, you could definitely hang with us, you got a lil’ bit of hustler in you…lol!

  18. Yes! Simony, please go ahead and take one for the team. Let your ward be the test ward and if it works for y’all then we might try to do it in our wards.

  19. My family and I moved to Minnesota for 3 years and were pleased to see that they have the unassigned-assigned seating program in force there as well. Then when we moved back to Utah last year and visited our old ward, we were pleased to see that our pew was empty–the ward had saved it for us. ;-)

  20. Now that ward takes saving seats to a whole other level…lol! They saved your seats for 3 years. :)

  21. This is hilarious. Today for sacrament meeting we sat somewhere else on purpose and it threw people off.

  22. Great article…and comments too. I like the idea of ushers to help seat as well as folks to welcome at the chapel doors. The photo of “How to save a seat in church” is priceless. Is it OK to post it in FaceBook with a reference to your article?

  23. Yes, always feel free snag and share what we share on SiZ!

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