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|

Best Church Safety Practices for the Public Areas in Your Church Design

Church leaders may recognize the need to focus on church safety when designing the public areas of a new church building. But being able to imagine how that might work can be hard. That’s why we are sharing a specific church design schematic that can help you to see and understand how church safety can fit seamlessly into the public areas of your church building.

An Example of Safety in Church Design

This church design drawing shows the entrance and public-facing areas of one of our recent projects. The entrance to the building is at the top of this closeup from their overall church design. You can see there are multiple doors and plenty of glass, both for transparency about what’s happening inside the rooms, and easy viewing from both exterior and interior. It’s easy for guests to see that there are already other people in the building, which can help them feel safer as they walk in.

Another very helpful safety element is the location of the restrooms. When guests walk in, the doors to those restrooms are straight ahead of them and easily visible. This will feel safer for guests than having to walk around a corner or down a hallway into another part of the building. Finally, the doors to the worship center (which is directly below the bottom of this portion of the church design) are right next to the restrooms, again making it easy for guests to figure out where they need to go.

Visibility of Welcome Counter and Church Safety Team and Office

You can also see in the schematic that we’ve placed the information and welcome center directly in front of those restroom and worship center doors. This also directs guests’ eyes toward these important elements in your church design, while also providing a subtle hint that there are people keeping watch as well as answering questions. People stationed at this welcome center also can easily see down both side corridors, which lead to the restricted children’s area. This makes it easy to keep an eye on anyone who might be going where they don’t belong.

The security office is also strategically located to support church safety concerns. It’s located on the right, just below the bookstore and next to the nursery. The big window on the side of the office faces the foyer, so security team members can see everything from the entrance doors and foyer area to the worship center doors, welcome center, and children’s area corridors. They can even see out into the parking lot from that vantage point.

Limiting Access to Other Areas of Your Church Building

Finally, these various church safety aspects quietly but clearly make it more difficult for anyone to move beyond the public areas of this church building without being seen by welcome center and security team members. This goes a long way to discourage unwanted security events in your church building.

Notice how all of these elements help to do two things. First, they make it clear to guests and attendees that church safety matters. The presence of security team members is easy to see, especially if they are identified with a lanyard or name badge. Second, the security team doesn’t detract from the overall welcoming feel of the open foyer, with its café, bookstore, seating areas, and well-thought-out church design.

To learn more about well-designed church building options, register for our upcoming free i3 webinars, which we offer to help make it easier to see and understand all the important elements of your new church building.

2021-08-10T12:31:00+00:00 August 10th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Safety|

Why Your Church Needs a Comprehensive Church Safety and Security Plan

As we continue with some posts on the elements of church safety, it should be clear that your church building plays a role in any safety and security plan. But simply following the International Building Code with your church design isn’t enough.

Your church building can only go so far in protecting people. You need more. For example, you need security teams. You need trained staff and volunteers who know what to do when security issues arise, or parents raise church safety questions about their children’s health and safety. You also need a comprehensive plan.

How Many Churches Have an Active Church Safety and Security Ministry?

It probably seems like a no-brainer that a church should have a thorough and well-documented plan for church safety and security, but not that many do. Here are some statistics.

According to data published by SurveyUSA in 2019, it turns out that only one in four churches today has an active security ministry. That’s just 25%. Yet 86% of regular church attendees feel it’s important that their church leaders and volunteers are professionally trained to prepare for an active threat. Furthermore, 73% of these faithful people say that their place of worship is completely unprepared to handle an active security threat.

Why Does This Matter?

Here’s another surprising statistic. 45% of people would go to worship services more often if they knew church safety and security systems were in place. This means almost half of the people in your community would be more likely to show up at your church building if they could be confident that they would be safe and secure while they are there. That’s a lot of people that could be joining you on Sunday mornings, if you invest in making church safety a priority.

How Can You Improve the Church Safety Ministry in Your Church Building?

Here’s one last statistical finding that provides some hope for church leaders who wonder about the costs involved in setting up a church safety and security ministry in your church building. The good news is that 63% of survey respondents would be willing to donate to help cover the costs associated with putting a security program in place. This means that almost two-thirds of the people worshipping with you each Sunday are likely willing to make an investment in keeping your church building, and everyone in it, safe and secure.

We encourage church leaders to have conversations about church safety and security. When you make it a priority, you are more likely to get that financial assistance. Once you have a comprehensive plan in place, word will spread in the community and more people are likely to feel comfortable coming to your church building on Sunday mornings.

So, how do you go about putting together an effective church safety and security team? We’re so glad you asked! We will cover that in our next article on this topic. Meanwhile, we suggest you check out our upcoming free i3 webinars, where not only do we address church safety issues like this, but also provide other important information about church building and design issues.

2021-08-03T18:24:14+00:00 August 3rd, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Safety|

Church Building Security Guidelines for Keeping Children and Youth Safe

While we are not safety and security experts, or ministry and programming professionals, we know how important it is to keep people of all ages safe and secure while they’re in your church building. And when it comes to children and youth, there are some church safety considerations to make. Here are some important security guidelines for children and youth ministries in—and beyond—your church building.

Have and Use Proven Policies for Children and Youth Ministry

First and foremost, it’s critical to have current and proven children and youth security policies in place and to use them. Those policies should include elements like background checks for all staff and volunteers who work with children and youth, as well as zero tolerance for inappropriate touching and other issues, social media guidelines for communicating with youth or posting and identifying photos of children, and so forth. Fortunately, many insurance companies and denominational bodies have model policy templates that church leaders can use to craft wise policies for their own children and youth ministries.

Maintain Appropriate Adult Presence at All Times

Many of the important security protocols for children and youth ministry involve the presence of adults. Children and youth should never be left alone in your church building—or anywhere on your property. There should be a minimum of two approved adults always present at every event involving youth or children. Remember that visits by children to other areas of your church building, such as the restrooms, should also be carefully monitored.

Also, whenever a group leaves your church building for an approved or official church event, make sure an appropriate number (two or more) of chaperones are in attendance. It’s important to note that half of all church security and safety incidents involving youth and children take place off church property, and only a quarter take place within the church building itself. This is one reason why approved chaperones are so important to keep your youngest attendees safe.

Concentrate on Visibility and Awareness in Your Church Building

Another way to keep youth and children safe is by having the right mindset. Visibility is important, whether it’s volunteers who are sitting at the children’s ministry check-in desk, or roaming security team members who remind everyone to be on their best and safest behavior. For the same reason, unannounced drop-ins to youth and children’s events are another way to make certain that all is well and security procedures are being followed appropriately.

Also, train all staff and volunteers to recognize signs of abuse and tell them to keep an eye out for anything that doesn’t look right. (Remember that it’s not your job to investigate any suspicions, but rather to report them to authorities so that they can be investigated by professionals.)

There’s much that goes on in your church building that needs your careful attention. Whether for safety and security or the latest trends in church design, to learn more about what we recommend in terms of your church building needs, sign up for our next free i3 webinar today.

2021-07-27T21:40:07+00:00 July 27th, 2021|Church Building, Church Design, Safety|