ASHLAND, Ky. (KT) – When Matt Shamblin stands up to preach at Rose Hill Baptist Church, he does so behind a pulpit that was custom built for him.
The beautifully carved pulpit, lovingly made by a church member, is a replica of the one Charles Spurgeon stood behind so it can also be humbling.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s intimidating,” Shamblin said. “You’re judged doubly for what you preach and standing behind a pulpit made like one the ‘Prince of Preachers’ used, only adds to the humbleness.”
The pulpit is custom-made to his height and the pastor was able to select the stain on the wood. There’s even a pitch where the Bible lays that is custom to him. It took months for the woodcrafter, who wishes to remain anonymous, to complete. Another church member, who is 90, hand-turned the spindle that’s across the bottom.
The idea of getting Shamblin the new pulpit came from Rose Hill doing upgrades throughout the sanctuary including stage lighting, new lights, painting and a new look behind the baptistry that includes a beautiful cross.
When looking at some video, Shamblin noticed the pulpit nearly dwarfed him. His predecessor at Rose Hill was a much taller man.
“I noticed watching one of my sermons I looked like a kid at the adult’s table,” he said. “That just evolved. I bought a table at Hobby Lobby, cut it apart myself and welded it together for my own height.”
The deacons decided that Shamblin should have his own pulpit and asked him about it. Having once been a trustee at Midwestern Seminary, he remembered two reproductions of the Spurgeon pulpit from the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
“I have so much respect for Spuergon and it’s a beautiful, simple pulpit but demonstrates the seriousness of the preached word,” Shamblin said.
They looked at purchasing one and the price tag was around $6,000. Shamblin said he wouldn’t allow the church to pay that much for it.
“Then one deacon said he will buy the wood, which came from Arizona, and another said, ‘I’ll make the pulpit,’” Shamblin said. “A friend of mine who took my place on the trustee board at Midwestern Seminary, where the Spurgeon library is, took some pictures and sent them. He made the pulpit from the pictures.”
The pulpit is hand-carved and contains much detail, Shamblin said.
“I have worked in wonderful churches and served with precious people,” he said. “I’ve never received a more meaningful gift. They could not have purchased me a thousand Spurgeon pulpits that would mean as much as this one.”
He was given the pulpit the last Sunday of September.
“After we installed it, I sat over there for hours looking at it,” he said. “It’s a treasured item for me.”