Mason City, IA – In light of surging demand, Immanuel Lutheran Church is raising the rates on its reserved pews initiative. The program, one of the first of its kind in the nation, auctions off pew seating each Sunday using an online auction format.
“Envision supply and demand similar to that of an airplane, but opposite,” said Pastor John Madison. “The most desired, and therefore, expensive, seats, are in the back of the church compared to the front of an airplane. The procedure for selection is very simple. Starting Monday morning at 12:01 AM, both members and visitors alike can begin bidding on their preferred seats. After making a selection, individuals are able to hold their reservation using any major credit card or by providing bank information. If another individual provides a higher bid, the reservation is transferred to the highest bidder and the previous seat-holder receives an email notification that their reservation has been lost. They then have the opportunity to make additional selections until midnight on Saturday evening.”
A visit to the church website reveals a polished and intuitive seat selection system. With the click of a mouse, individuals can bid on seats, entire pews, or even blocks of pew seating. Current pricing is displayed on each seat, while open seating remains blank. There are even visitor reserved seats located in the front row directly in front of the pulpit that are permanently kept available.
According to Thomas Richardson, the church treasurer, this program has been an unqualified success.
“For the first time last week, reserved pew fees exceeded regular plate offerings!” Richardson exclaimed. “This is truly a ministry changing opportunity. We may finally be able to stop relying on elderly member’s estates to keep the lights on.”
The pew reservation is not without controversy, however. Families with small children have been disproportionately affected by the change in seating.
“I can barely afford to pay my car insurance, and now I’m expected to shell out $350 a week to keep my spot in the back of church?” grated Jacob Ashburn, a married father of three. “Last Sunday we were forced to sit in two separate pews within three rows of the front…worst experience of my life!”
“Reserved seats are here to stay,” confirmed Pastor Madison. “Stay tuned for more initiatives as well. I just got out of a great council meeting. Everything is on the table: parking spots, bathroom stalls, the sky’s the limit!”Want the latest news? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter!