Welcome to our series…Church Launch Must-Haves! We are breaking down our previous blog post “7 Things Your Church Location Must Have If You Want A Successful Launch” to bring you further insight into the possibilities of a portable church. Today, let’s talk about chairs!
Like parking, seating might seem like a small part of a church launch…but it has a huge impact on the growth opportunities for your church! We recommend that you take seating seriously as you prepare for launch. Consider everything from the number of chairs to the way they affect traffic flow in and out of the sanctuary. Chairs are a large detail piece people notice when entering your main worship space…so make sure they look great!
If your venue has seating…
Venues that have fixed seating are often a huge bonus. Chair costs can add up quickly and can take up a large amount of storage space (which can also add to the cost). For space and budget purposes, seeking a venue with seating is a good option. However, there are still things to consider such as:
- Make sure the seating is comfortable enough to be occupied for at least thirty minutes at a time. Choose to work remotely from a seat in the auditorium for an hour to get an idea of the long-term comfort level of the chairs.
- Be aware of the hindrances in the seating area (cup holders, pop-up desks, recliners) and decide if they will serve a purpose or become a hindrance or distraction.
- If you are meeting in a theater or school auditorium, be sure not to cover the handicap seating areas with your audio or lighting. Leave these spaces available for those that need them.
If your venue doesn’t have seating…
You will most likely need to purchase and store seats. There are a lot of options available! Here are some things to consider before you buy:
- Non-foldable padded chairs are pricey, heavy, and do not typically store or stack well. These chairs also require more storage space, adding further cost through ‘cubic volume.’
- It’s best to avoid metal folding chairs. While they don’t take up much space, they are very uncomfortable for long periods of time, and could potentially cause noise that can distract from a sermon.
- If you are meeting in a school, offer to let the school use your chairs whenever they are needed (except Sunday, of course) in exchange for having them stored on-site.
- Before buying chairs, test them out for comfort, stackability, and storability. A good way to test comfort is to replace your work chair for a day with the chair you are considering.
Logistics to consider…
- Be conscious of how the seating is placed in the sanctuary. The space between the seats and the stage affects the size screens you will need for easy viewing.
- When charting out your venue to find out how many seats you can fit in the space, be sure to factor in proper spacing between each row to allow easy flow even with people sitting in the chairs.
- If you cannot fill at least 50% of the created space during your first few weeks of launch, consider using a different part of the venue that will make the service feel more ‘full.’ For example, you could set up your church in the lobby space or gym when you start out. Or…
- Use large pieces of cloth to cover entire sections and rows of seats. This can serve two purposes… 1. It will force visitors to move towards the seating near the stage (And for this, cloth is more effective than rope. People will just step over the rope!) and 2. it will make your venue feel smaller and more full if you are not able to fill the room to capacity.
- If your church meets in a theater, go to the venue during show hours and observe the flow of traffic in and out of your desired rooms. This will prepare you to handle traffic flow issues before they arise.
- Have volunteers direct and seat visitors towards the front and middle rows. Fill in as many seats as possible to provide a more ‘full’ feeling in these areas and avoid having groups of people scattered across the auditorium.
We love talking ‘chairs’ because, as you know, a chair in your church is not simply a chair. Each chair represents a life that can be impacted by the work of your church. Remind your team to pray over your chairs as they become a part of your portable system…and continue to pray over them as your church grows and changes.
Now over to you… What are some creative ways you have solved any seating problems in your church? Let us know in the comments!
Want more tips and statistics on how to choose and use your church facility to its full potential? Download our FREE eBook, Choosing The Right Facility For Your Portable Church. Learn to avoid the mistakes that others have made and make your launch an enjoyable experience for everyone involved!