We say it a lot: You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. This is why we believe the design of the entrance and foyer or lobby of your church building is a critically important part of your church vision and outreach. This article forms the beginning of a series that will take a closer look at important features of church buildings and how specific churches address those features—and for this one we won’t even get inside the church! We want to spend time talking about how first-time visitors approach your church building and what they need to see in order to find their way inside.
Finding the Main Entrance to Your Church Building
We often find that visitors actually have problems finding the front entrance to many church building complexes, especially if those buildings are older or have been remodeled a number of times. If you’ve been a member of the church for a while, you automatically head for the “front door,” but people who haven’t been there before might choose the door closest to their parking space and end up in a back stairwell and not have a clue how to find their way to the worship space.
Now, there are some clear ways that your church building itself can show the main entrance, such as Bethany Wesleyan in Cherryville, PA, which has a large covered entryway to allow families to be dropped off and stay dry in bad weather. Galloway, OH’s Cypress Wesleyan also uses a canopy to catch visitors’ attention, and Bridgetown Church of Christ in Cincinnati, a remodeled building, has a smaller, clear glass awning which also helps to guide visitors to the main entrance.
Giving Them a Sign
But if you don’t want to invest in such a major entryway renovation, one easy and affordable way to assist visitors is with clear and visible signage. If you have a large church building complex, provide helpful signs in each parking lot to direct visitors toward your main entrance. As you can see with Bethany Wesleyan church, they’ve clearly marked the South Entrance to their church building as another place where you can also enter the church building complex.
Giving Them a Glimpse Inside
Another way to bring visitors into your church building is to give them a glimpse inside the lobby or foyer. If your entryway includes a lot of tall glass windows, passersby can clearly see into your lobby, where church members are talking with each other in groups, sharing coffee and conversation. This is a great way to help them imagine what they could experience if they came inside themselves.
With Bridgetown COC, you can see that we actually opened up the wall on the side of the lobby. This serves two purposes: it lets more light into the lobby, and also helps passersby to see the people, not just the wall of the church building. The front windows at Cypress Wesleyan actually perform three functions: Let the light get in, let people see in, and let the windows become signs, advertising the church’s current vision for ministry.
To learn about important features of the lobby itself, watch for Part Two of Foyers and Entrances next week. Meanwhile, sign up for our free i3 webinar series to learn more about other important features of your church building.