Most of the time, in both this blog and our free i3 webinars, we give you information we hope will help support your church building and remodeling projects. This time around, however, we’re going to switch things up and take instead of give—take your questions, that is.
Sources of Your Church Building Questions
In our i3 webinar series, we share a lot of useful information about the latest trends, as well as our ideas and suggestions for best practices in church design and construction. After the webinars are over, we frequently get questions.
Some of those questions are very specific—related to particular situations in which church leaders are ministering—but sometimes they’re general enough that the answers can be beneficial for everyone. In the spirit of getting the information out, read on for answers to two of your questions on recent topics we’ve covered both in our i3 webinars and here in our blog posts.
Can a Church Vision Be Too Broad?
The first question we’ll address relates to the scope of one’s church vision. It arose in response to our church vision series, where we discuss the importance of crafting the best vision for your ministry so that a church design can be created to specifically meet the needs of that vision.
The question reads as follows: “Is it important to define your vision as specifically as possible? Can it be too narrow, or too broad?”
We believe the best church visions are broad, not narrow. Also, there is a subtle, but very important, difference between being clear and concise about your vision versus being overly narrow and specific.
You don’t want to leave people out of your vision because you focused it too narrowly. The best way to find that sweet spot between broad and narrow is to try out your church vision message on the leaders in your church and see if it attracts interest, attention, and energy. If your vision resonates with your leaders and they get excited about it, you’ve got a right-sized church vision.
What Is the Trend in Church Design for Seating?
The second query we’ll address, generated by our discussion of church building trends, is about worship center seating. This is a complex issue in many churches, because a church’s history and tradition can challenge modern church design priorities.
Here’s the question: “We have pews and are thinking of changing to theater seating. What is the trend, and what are the advantages? I’ve also heard that, practically speaking, you can fit in more people with theater seating, since they’re willing to sit closer.”
Certainly this church leader is right about people being willing to sit closer with individual seats than with pews. With pews, people like to have space between each other, and often place a Bible or purse on the pew to ensure that space. With individual chairs—whether stackable or theater seating—people are willing to sit in one seat and be comfortable with someone sitting in the chair next to them.
There are important differences between theater seats and stackable seating. With either, you will gain about 15 to 20 percent in seating capacity compared to pews. However, theater seats are much more expensive: $250-$275 for theater seats versus $50-$100 for stackable seating (with wooden chairs being more expensive than metal ones).
If you have a flat floor in your church building, we recommend stackable seating for its flexibility. If your church design has a sloped floor, you will be locked into theater seating as a replacement for pews.
Answering Your Call
Our free i3 webinars are filled with practical, useful information like this. To learn the latest about church design trends and best practices in church building, visit our home page and register for any webinars that catch your interest. And keep those questions coming—we’re happy to help.