Last week we began a blog series on making a good first impression for visitors to your church, noting how the lobby generally is the first space a visitor encounters. One element that’s often included in or near a lobby is a café or other hospitality space. Today we want to talk specifically about the importance of cafés and hospitality for creating positive first impressions for visitors to your church buildings.
Grace Gathering has made its café an essential part of the lobby, giving visitors the chance to connect with church members in a casual, familiar type of setting. Opportunities for conversation are easy, with both diner-type counter seating and round tables for small group gatherings or meetings. For an even more relaxed fellowship opportunity, there are comfortable lounge chairs grouped around a nearby fireplace.
While some churches see the café as a way to help members meet and socialize, Crossview intentionally created its café to be an outreach to the community. Positioned right at the entrance to their lobby, the café is an inviting space for community members who use a walking path right next to the church. Crossview church leaders promote the café as a way to get members of the community to enter the church building and relax over coffee, giving church members a chance to reach out and witness to them for Christ.
Brooke Hills Free Methodist Church
Brooke Hills has a lovely lobby that is filled with natural light, but they really didn’t have enough room for a full-fledged café. Instead, they chose to go with a self-service hospitality bar, complete with high-top tables, which allow people to set down their coffee and have a conversation. They also have a small, separate hospitality area, tucked in a sunny nook near the doors, which gives people a comfortable place to sit for small meetings or casual conversations.
New Pointe Community Church
The café at New Pointe has been such a successful part of their ministry that they are actually planning to build a second one. They have two main entrances to their church building, and the café at their first entrance has provided such a great opportunity for fellowship that another is being constructed at the second entrance.
Does your own church building give visitors a feeling of hospitality and welcome? A café or hospitality bar gives everyone a chance to relax with casual conversation over a cup of coffee, giving church members a chance to connect with visitors and fellowship with each other. To learn more about how to make a café or hospitality space work for your church building, sign up for our free i3 webinar series, and stay tuned for next week’s blog, which will talk about creating a great first impression with your sanctuary and multi-use spaces.