Church Building

Making the Right First Impression with Worship Space in Your Church Building

We’ve been focusing on the various areas of your church design that matter when making a good first impression. We started with some logical areas, like the lobby and café, then reminded you about the importance of restrooms. Now we’re turning our attention to the space in your church building that is definitely very important: your worship space.

First Church Design Question: Multi-ministry or Dedicated Worship Space?

Before we start diving into details, it’s important to determine whether you intend your worship center to be a multi-ministry space or dedicated only to worship. That will determine the finishes you will use for the space. For example, in this first photo, from Wayne Street Methodist Church, you can easily see that they have a traditional church vision. Guests’ first impression makes that clear with the use of pews and stained-glass windows, which were brought over from their prior church building.

In contrast, this photo, of Crossview Church, shows a multi-ministry space. You can see that there’s a transition in the carpeting, from the carpet that’s also in the lobby, to a lighter, but more practical, multi-use carpeting that allows them to use this space for athletics during the week. (If you look up at the ceiling, you can see the retracted basketball goal.)

Making a Good First Impression with Different Seating Selections

You might also notice that the chairs in the Crossview Church building have finished upholstery on the backs, which makes a better first impression than seeing hardware on the back of every chair. Other seating options include the color variations in this photo from the worship center at Cypress Wesleyan. The psychology behind this seemingly random selection of two colors is that it helps to break up a long row of chairs, making it and more inviting to the eyes of both guests and attendees.

Another option is theater-style fixed seating, as you can see in this image from First Church of God in Columbus. These theater style chairs are bolted to the floor and were chosen for their comfort and ease of use. In contrast with pews (the fixed seating option used by Wayne Street Church above), the armrests make it easier for older people to get in and out of the seats, while also breaking up the sense of a long row. Fully upholstered seats are also more comfortable than padded pews. Church leaders at First Church of God did choose to have movable upholstered chairs in the back half of this worship space, giving them a mix of fixed and movable seating for increased flexibility.

Other Finishing Options in Your Church Building

Beyond chairs and carpeting, notice the stone wall behind the platform in the First Church of God photo. It naturally draws the eye to the front of the church building space. To the left is another area of stone, behind the baptistry, which is one way to make an elegant first impression while also emphasizing the importance of baptism for people who worship in your church building.

There are many elements to making a good first impression with the worship space in your church building. Usually, these finishes are chosen with an eye toward supporting your church vision for ministry in your community. To learn more about all that we take into consideration when working on your church design, sign up for our next free i3 webinar.

2021-10-12T19:50:00+00:00 October 12th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Don’t Forget the Restrooms on Your Church Building “Good First Impressions” Checklist

Some spaces in your church design may seem obvious for making a good first impression, such as the carpet tile in your lobby. There are other interior spaces you might overlook that still impact first impressions. One such place is restrooms. 

Putting Cleanliness Front and Center in Your Church Design

When guests visit a church building and enter the restroom, they want a place that feels clean and safe to use. This is even more true with the pandemic. All of us have become more aware of the importance of a clean look, and fortunately you don’t have to break the bank to get it.

As you can see in this photo from Dayspring Wesleyan, neutral walls, laminate countertops, and bright lighting help the restroom look clean and neat. The flooring looks like stone, but it’s actually luxury vinyl tile (LVT), which is more affordable than porcelain tile, but still easy to keep clean.

One important element of cleanliness is to avoid clutter. It can be tempting to add décor in an effort to make a restroom look homey, but that might not align with your church vision for ministry—for example, if you wish to attract younger families. In this image from Garfield Memorial, you can see that they’ve chosen a bold color, but kept the look clean with minimalist photographic artwork.

Garfield Memorial also invested in porcelain tile for the flooring, which is a common choice for the main or primary restrooms in a church building because of its durability. You can also see that they’ve included white tile around the sinks to provide some wall protection in that area.

Additional Options for the Restrooms of Your Church Building

Here are two final photographs of potential finishes for your church building restrooms. Summit Church chose to go with flooring in a woodgrain pattern, while also adding tile around the sinks.

Finally, Bluegrass United Methodist Church chose to invest in a very classy look, with porcelain floor tiles, decorative porcelain tiles all the way up the walls, and glass insets to add shine and sparkle. The countertops are also upgraded to granite, which helps create an overall feel of elegance that’s in line with their church vision for ministry to their community.

As these very different examples demonstrate, the primary restrooms in your church building can give a variety of first impressions. You don’t always have to break the bank and invest in the top of the line (quartz and solid-surface countertops are also classy and durable), but it’s important to remember that the restroom is a critical part of giving a first impression for your church design.

These images come from one of our recent free i3 webinars, where we discussed the importance of making a good first impression in many areas of your church design. To get the big picture and think holistically about the message your church building gives to guests, we invite you to sign up for each of our i3 webinars.

2021-10-05T20:20:12+00:00 October 5th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Making a Good First Impression with Flooring in Your Church Building Café

Not every church has one, but for those that do, the café of your church building can be one of the most important places to make a good first impression. However, with all the food and drink being served, it’s reasonable for church leaders to worry about spills and stains ruining that first impression. It’s why good flooring matters in café areas. Here is some flooring wisdom that will also translate to any high-traffic areas where spills could happen.

Considering Luxury Vinyl Tile

One of the most popular and flexible flooring options for your church building today is luxury vinyl tile (LVT). This vinyl product is made with three layers.  The center layer is a printed image that gives a highly realistic look of visuals.  The most common are wood and stone in an abundance of colors that fit any church vision or decorating style.  It’s also an excellent choice from a budgetary standpoint. While it may cost less than porcelain tile (which we’ll address below), many restaurants and retail settings use LVT to create an excellent first impression.

With LVT, spills are easy to clean up and there is no grout to discolor or stain. Walking on LVT is quieter than porcelain tile or stone, yet it can mimic the same colors and effects. Our one cautionary reminder is that LVT is vinyl, so it is softer than porcelain or stone, and can be gouged if someone drags a chair (without glides or other flooring protection) across the floor.

LVT Examples for Your Church Building

Here we have two LVT examples which show some of the range available in these tiles. This first image, of the café in Belmont Church, shows the woodgrain look that’s very popular in LVT, installed in “planks” that enhance the impression of wood flooring. In this second image, of the Berachah Church café, shows how LVT with a stone pattern could look in your church design.

Porcelain Tile and Polished Concrete Options for Your Church Design

If you do want to go with a more traditional tile look, porcelain tile is a durable and elegant way to make a good first impression with your café flooring. As you can see in this image from the Global Café at Bethany Church, we combined two related colors of tiles to provide some visual variety in this large open space. This adds interest to the floor and helps to create a welcoming space.

Finally, polished concrete is another budget-friendly way to create a sleek first impression, Color can be added to create even more interest.  Although is it a hard surface, it can be subject to stains, so it is important that spills be cleaned up.  We have also found it to be a popular option for youth spaces, which tend to get some hard use over time. 

In these examples, making a good impression balances the durability and design of materials to meet the needs of the space. With your church building café or other fellowship areas, it’s important to use flooring that will be attractive and resilient, making cleanup easy and straight forward maintenance. Stay tuned to learn more about other ways to make a good first impression with your church building in our next post. While you wait, sign up for our next free i3 webinar, where we keep you up to date with all the latest in every church design element, from floor to ceiling, inside and out.

2021-09-28T19:52:09+00:00 September 28th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Make a Good First Impression with Carpet Tile in Your Church Building Lobby

Your church building should be an effective tool for ministry in your community. It’s one reason why The McKnight Group shares our decades of church design wisdom in free i3 webinars every year, and why we post these articles. In this series, we’ve been looking at how your church building can make a good first impression. One way is to pay attention to the flooring under guests’ feet.

Understanding Carpet Tile

A type of floor covering that’s become increasingly popular in recent years is carpet tile. It was originally created as a solution for large office spaces that needed to quickly be able to replace carpet. Over time, however, manufacturers have embraced this product and developed many different patterns, styles, and installation methods.

The Types and Advantages of Carpet Tile for Your Church Design

There are different types of commercial grade carpet tile, and it’s important to understand that not all will hold up to the heavy traffic of your church building lobby. “Tenant improvement” carpet tiles may be less expensive, but they’re designed to last just five years, which is the average lifespan for a business office lease. Good stewardship includes making wise decisions on the quality of your flooring in such important areas of your church design. For this reason, while you don’t have to go with the top of the line, you do need to invest in carpet tile that will withstand many feet over many years.

One obvious advantage of carpet tile is that it’s installed in pieces. This means it’s easy to replace just one or two tiles if they get badly damaged, without having to reinstall an entire lobby’s worth of broadloom carpet. Carpet tiles also stand up better to spills because they have a vinyl backing which keeps liquids from getting underneath the carpet and damaging adhesives or causing buckling. Keeping spills on the surface level also makes for easier cleaning.

Church Building Lobby Examples of Carpet Tile

Here are three images of carpet tile in church building lobbies. In the first, at Bridgetown, you can see how the tiles form a pleasing overall pattern that isn’t clearly tile-based. Guests and attendees may notice the pattern, but they’re not likely to be focused on individual tiles or left wondering how the flooring was installed. This second photo is from Summit Church. Here, your mind might think there’s a plank style of pattern in the carpet, but they aren’t likely to realize that it’s composed of 24”x24” tiles. In this final image, from Fearless Church in Centerville, Ohio, we have another carpet tile pattern that is meant to appear less rustic, which supports their church vision for ministry in their community.

These examples demonstrate how carpet tiles that may not consciously be noticed can still make a good first impression. In this case, carpet tiles also make for easier cleaning and spot replacement, which is good stewardship of the resources you’ve invested in your church building. Carpet tile now comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Square tiles may be 18”x18” or 24”x24”.  Planks could be 9”x36” or 18”x39”.  You can even find hexagon shaped carpet tile.

To learn more about how to develop the best church design for your ministry needs, sign up for each of our forthcoming free i3 webinars.

2021-09-21T17:14:49+00:00 September 21st, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Four Important Areas of Your Church Building for Making a Great First Impression

Getting one chance to make a great first impression isn’t just an adage, it’s something we’ve seen in action during our half century of helping church leaders make the most of their church building.  However, there are actually four opportunities to make a good first impression with your church design.

Key Area #1: Lobby

The first interior areas of your church building that most guests and attendees see will be your lobby and café (if you have one). The interior design of these welcoming spaces will set the tone for someone’s visit. In fact, it can take as little as two minutes for guests to form an opinion of your church based on what they see in your lobby. Is it well-lit? Does it feel inviting? Are people clearly comfortable and interacting in the space, or are they afraid to sit on the fancy furniture or allow their kids to wander around and touch the elegant lamps on spindly side tables? The tone you set with your interior church design will have a big impact on whether people want to come back to your church building.

Key Area #2: Restrooms

The second area of your church building that should be a priority are your restrooms, especially those closest to the lobby and café. Think about it this way: If you go to a nice restaurant, but their restroom is messy, dirty, dark, or outdated, you’re left with a bad impression of the entire establishment. The same is true for any building. People are going to feel much more comfortable returning to spend time in your church building if your restrooms are clean, bright, and safe to use. These days, that’s especially true in light of COVID-19. It may be well worth the investment to upgrade your interior church design to include touchless fixtures in your busiest restrooms.

Key Area #3: Children’s Area

If you want families to return with their children to your church building, you need to make children’s spaces inviting for them. Parents will feel safer if you’ve clearly given thought to keeping their children secure with check-in desks, well-placed windows, and other security features. Children will want to come back if the interior design of your children’s area includes bright and colorful paint and images, and right-sized furniture and furnishings. Youth will feel welcome if you’ve dedicated space for them in your church building and filled it with cool and comfortable furnishings to make them feel like hanging around.

Key Area #4: Worship Center

The fourth and final important focus area for your interior church design should be your worship center. Attendees will hopefully spend a lot of time in that space, so it should be comfortable (seating, flooring, HVAC system, etc.) and easy to worship in (good lighting and sound systems, sight lines, etc.).

Are you getting the picture? These four key areas of your church design can make or break that important first impression. In our upcoming posts, we’ll focus on each key area in more depth and give you some ideas about prioritizing each key area of your church building. Meanwhile, sign up for our next free i3 webinar, where we’ll share more of our half-century of wisdom on good church building practices.

2021-09-14T20:42:20+00:00 September 14th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design|

The McKnight Group Announces Construction Completion | New Albany, OH

PRESS RELEASE – New Albany United Methodist Church

The McKnight Group has completed work for New Albany United Methodist Church in New Albany, Ohio.  Exterior improvements included; new driveways, parking areas, a bell stand in front of the new drive-under canopy, sidewalks, landscaping, and a 30-foot steeple including a cupola. Interior improvements included; a new 12,120 +/- square feet addition with a 330-seat chapel, foyer, kitchen/café, an unfinished lower level of 10,832 +/- square feet for future youth space, classrooms, and restrooms.






Owner: New Albany UMC, New Albany, OH
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH

2021-09-03T14:19:56+00:00 September 3rd, 2021|Church Addition, Church Building, Church Design, Press Release|

Children’s Area Church Safety Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly

It’s easy to presume that church safety is going to look like a fortress, but that doesn’t have to be true. Security doesn’t have to be ugly. Here are some examples of how attractive the check-in desk for the children’s area in your church building can be, while keeping children safe and happy in a space that’s clearly designed for them.

Choosing Thematic Check-in Desks

One option, as you can see here, is to deck out the desk with a dramatic and colorful theme, such as Noah’s Ark, the Reign Forest (get it? Rain/Reign Forest), or the Sea of Galilee. With the Sea of Galilee, the check-in desk itself has become a ship, while the setting is laid out in colorful artwork that extends up the walls, which show the sea itself. Kids and parents are standing on the deck of a ship when they check in, enhancing the sense of adventure while providing security.

With the Reign Forest, a fountain and set of tropical trees behind the check-in desk do the same job of drawing kids into the experience of entering a rain forest, while the check-in desk itself serves as a visual barrier. You know you’re not supposed to go beyond the desk unless you’ve checked in, so it’s an effective design that is still user-friendly as well.

A Check-in Church Design with Bright Colors and Clear Views

In this photo, the bright colors clearly indicate this is the children’s area of the church building, without any need for a theme. The check-in desk curves around, creating a visual block to prevent anyone from proceeding further without checking in. Another advantage to this design is that all the classroom doors are visible from the check-in area, and that the doors have windows, which keeps everyone inside the rooms accountable and easily visible from outside.

Creating a Hard Barrier to Keep Children Safe in Your Church Building

If you want to create a hard barrier, rather than a visual barrier, you can choose a check-in desk design like this one. There is no way to gain access to the classrooms beyond without being granted access by staff at the check-in desk. This is for a preschool area, which means all the children will fit through these small doors—and probably love that the doors are sized just for them.

As with the last example, the doors to all classrooms are visible from the check-in counter, and there are windows in the wall of each classroom as well, which improves visibility, and therefore security. This increased level of church safety can increase parents’ peace of mind.

Church safety doesn’t have to be obvious, or ugly. Whether it’s the children’s area of your church building or the foyer and café area of your church design, creative, colorful, and attractive options are available to make your church building appealing to children and comforting to their parents. We think carefully about every aspect of your church design, which is why we regularly share free i3 webinars that help you see what’s possible in today’s church building environment. To learn more, register for our next webinar today!

2021-08-31T19:02:13+00:00 August 31st, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Safety|

Options for External Security of Your Church Building

Making the exterior areas of a church building safe and secure should be a priority in a church design, but that doesn’t mean making the church exterior look like a fortress instead of a welcoming place to worship. It’s very possible to incorporate many security elements into a modern church design in ways that are both seamless and effective. Here are some suggestions and photo examples from a new church building project.

Let There Be Light

Of course, one of the most important considerations for the outside of your church building is good lighting. All parking areas should be well-lit, and there should be no dark spaces around the perimeter of your church building where someone could hide. If you’re concerned about the cost of electricity, we recommend installing motion detectors, and you can also use timers for lights in certain parts of the property when you know meetings or evening events will be taking place.

Keeping an Eye on Everything Around Your Church Building

Cameras are another obvious element in a modern church safety system. At a minimum, we recommend installing security cameras at each entrance to your church building, as well as covering all outdoor areas such as parking lots, playgrounds, and athletic fields. We also recommend placing windows in strategic locations of your church design to allow receptionists and security staff to have a clear view of who is coming and going from your church building.

In the top photo of this recent church design, you can see a series of windows which face out into the parking lot. These windows are for staff offices and the last one, closest to the doors, is by the reception desk. This allows staff clear sightlines to the entire parking lot and the approach area to the front doors of the building. The receptionist can also electronically unlock the front door from their desk once they’ve identified the visitor.

Having a Clear View on Church Safety

The other thing you can see from these pictures of the façade of this church design is that there is a lot of transparency around the church foyer. This allows guests to easily see what’s happening inside and feel more comfortable about entering your church building. It also allows the security team to keep an eye on who is heading toward the doors, so they can respond if something doesn’t look right.

In another post, we have discussed the idea of “building hardening,” which uses bulletproof glass, blast resistance, and decorative physical barriers to prevent someone from shooting or driving a vehicle into your church building. While we haven’t included those in a church design, they are an option that could be considered if exterior church safety concerns are a priority for your community.

While we don’t specialize in security system design, there are basic elements that can effectively be included in your exterior church design to maximize security without taking on the appearance of a fortress. To learn all of our latest ideas about church design, sign up for our free i3 webinars. We also address your questions live when you attend a webinar, so register today.

2021-08-24T20:19:51+00:00 August 24th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Safety, Security|

The McKnight Group Announces Construction Completion | Centerville, OH

Press Release – Living Water Lutheran Church

The McKnight Group has recently completed the construction of a new building to serve as the multi-ministry center at Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, OH. The 7,668 sf multi-ministry center includes a large, open space to accommodate a variety of community events and sports, and a full-service kitchen and pantry, foyer, main restroom, and storage areas.

In phase one of the master plan, the new facility stands across from the current sanctuary with a covered walkway. The next phase will connect the two buildings with an addition to house classrooms and offices.

Owner: Living Water Lutheran Church, Centerville, OH
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH

2021-08-30T13:54:31+00:00 August 24th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Press Release, Remodeling|

Controlling Access to Your Church Building: Another Element of Safety and Security

Controlling building access is another key element of church safety. It’s important to limit and even track who has entry to which parts of your church building and at what times.

The good news is that changes in recent years have made the process much easier. Security used to be handled by humans responding to push-button audio-only greetings, tracking entrances and exits with paper logs. Now, much more refined and useful options are available. Here are some church safety best practices for controlling access to your church building.

Beginning with RFID

One of the cornerstone elements to new church safety technology is RFID. This acronym stands for radio-frequency identification. With this technology, digital data is programmed into RFID tags that can be scanned by a reader via radio waves. Each unique tag transmits data that can be stored in a database for later retrieval and reporting. Also, unlike older barcode scanning, there’s no need for a perfect alignment, which makes it easy for anyone to use an RFID tag.

Why Use RFID to Improve Church Safety?

RFID can be specifically programmed for each individual user. This means you can arrange to allow someone into your church building at only certain times of the day and/or particular days of the week. This allows you to prevent Sunday morning nursery volunteers from entering the children’s areas during the week, when you have a preschool program running with paid teachers and different church safety rules and regulations in place.

You can also separate your overall church design into different zones and implement RFID locking systems on interior doors. This allows you to limit access to certain areas of your church building. In this way, it’s easy to prevent band leaders from entering your children’s area, while still allowing them to enter the church building and access the worship space early on Sunday to set up, or to come over for a midweek rehearsal while that preschool program is happening in another part of your church complex.

Another advantage of RFID is having a built-in record of everyone who comes and goes from each area of your church building. This way, you can track who actually uses your church building, and be able to confirm who was in the building if there’s a church safety incident, such as a theft or vandalism.

Thinking Beyond RFID in Your Church Building

Of course, there’s more to church safety access than just RFID. Guests need to gain access to your church building as well. Instead of relying on those voice-only doorbells, you can now use the same kind of sophisticated video doorbell systems that so many of us use in our homes. Since these are set up on a wi-fi system, they’re easy to install at any stage in your church design or long after construction is finished.

You can also integrate a wired camera system in your church building during the church design phase. Everything can be monitored and controlled from a central security office. We also integrate magnetic lock systems into many church designs these days. They can be programmed to automatically release when they sense motion detection (allowing for quick escape should a fire erupt) or engaged to prevent entry to unauthorized parts of your church building.

As you can see, there are some excellent options for controlling access to your church building today. To keep up with the latest smart ideas for your church design, sign up today for our forthcoming free i3 webinars, where we discuss the latest innovations and answer your questions.

2021-08-17T19:32:36+00:00 August 17th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Safety|