Select Page

Pulpit vs. Podium vs. Lectern

Ok, it’s easy to get these items confused.

In the church world, we often mean the same thing when we say “pulpit,” or “lectern” or “podium.”

But if you’d like more clarity, read on…


Definition: A pulpit is a raised, enclosed platform used for delivering sermons in religious services.

Design: Often larger and more ornate, typically made of wood, stone, or metal. They may have railings or sides.

Purpose: Specifically for preaching and conducting worship services.

Location: Found in the sanctuary of a church, positioned to symbolize authority.

Want examples? Here are some pulpit types we offer to churches.

Corinthian Pulpit - Custom Wooden Church Pulpit


Definition: A podium is a small platform or stand that a person stands on to be seen by an audience. It can also refer to a lectern, but more commonly refers to the platform itself.

Design: Generally simpler, lightweight, and portable, made from wood, metal, or acrylic.

Purpose: Used for speeches, lectures, announcements, and presentations in various settings.

Location: Found in diverse venues like churches, schools, conferences, and events.


Definition: A lectern is a stand with a slanted top used to hold books or notes for a speaker or reader. Often, these are commonly known as speaker stands.

Design: Usually simple and portable, often with a flat or angled surface for reading materials made from wood, metal, or acrylic.

Purpose: Supports materials during speeches, readings, or presentations, allowing the speaker to read comfortably.

Location: Used in a variety of settings, including churches, schools, lecture halls, and conference rooms.

speaker stand also known as a lectern (in ebony)

Key Differences


  • Pulpit: Primarily for religious sermons.
  • Podium: Versatile for multiple types of presentations.
  • Lectern: Specifically for holding reading materials during a speech or presentation.

Design Complexity:

  • Pulpit: Often more elaborate and substantial.
  • Podium: Typically functional and straightforward.
  • Lectern: Simple and portable with a focus on holding materials.


  • Pulpit: Exclusive to religious spaces.
  • Podium: Used in any public speaking environment.
  • Lectern: Suitable for various settings where reading or speaking occurs.

Understanding these distinctions helps in choosing the right furniture for church services, general presentations, or specific speaking engagements.

Have additional questions?

Feel free to contact us here or at the numbers below.

Call: 800-318-3833 or Text: 678-521-2403