Now is a great time to do some renovations in your church. With school back in session, there is often an attendance lull while families are getting back into the swing of their school-year schedules. Whether you are planning a large construction effort or just some freshening up, this is a good time to do it. Also, there are no major religious holidays.
Often, when churches renovate these days, they choose to make their sanctuaries more open and inviting to parishioners and visitors. There are many ways to do this.
Clear Signage and Entrance Points
Good signage is important so that people know where to enter and exit. Also, make sure that once people are in the sanctuary, they know where to go, even if there are no ushers immediately available to direct them. Signage is important for other areas of the church, like meeting rooms and Sunday School classrooms as well.
It is best to limit the number of entrances and exits in use for regular services. This creates more of a sense of community and gives the parishioners a chance to visit while waiting to enter or leave the sanctuary. It also minimizes confusion for visitors and new congregants.
Flexible Worship Space
This is important for creating a feeling of community and allowing participation. Many churches have replaced pews with moveable church chairs. Some churches have a mixture of curved pews and chairs. An additional idea is to place chairs around a communion table. This avoids the traditional communion line.
The same goes for the choir. Choir chairs can be used to help position the members in a variety of configurations wherever you choose. Some churches place their choir close to the congregation where they can see the pastor rather than face the back of his or her head.
Some pastors have easily-moveable pulpit furniture that allows them to stand anywhere in the sanctuary or conduct their services in the round. Who says that sanctuaries have to be set up so that parishioners are all facing forward listening to the pastor at the front?
Of course, it is important to know your audience. An older congregation may feel more comfortable with a traditional arrangement. However, if you have a younger membership, or hold special services for young people, they are more likely to welcome a less conventional set-up. Sometimes for special services, or those held after a tragedy, people crave a sense of closeness and participation that flexible seating can provide.
Let There be Light
If you are seeking to create a more joyful, energetic mood among your congregants, add more light to your sanctuary. You can do this whether you are putting on a new coat of paint or completely redesigning the sanctuary. Many churches install skylights and white ceiling panels to allow light to hit the cross and communion area. The effect can be very powerful.
Even relatively minor changes can lighten your assembly spaces. Consider a new color scheme. By changing the paint, carpeting, and chairs or pew cushions, you can also create a fresh new look. If you order chairs or cushions from an online retailer, be sure to ask them to send you swatches so that you can see how the color and fabric will look with the rest of your décor before you make the purchase.
Spruce up Meeting Rooms, Classrooms, and Social Spaces
It is important not to neglect your meeting rooms, classrooms, and areas where people socialize at the church. An open, comfortable atmosphere can help increase attendance at your events and classes. There is no reason why people who participate in Bible study and new members’ courses have to sit in uncomfortable metal folding chairs.
Companies that carry church furniture carry many different kinds of church chairs and banquet chairs in a variety of colors. They also carry banquet tables and folding tables for just about every church size and budget. Find one that will give you a good deal if you buy in bulk. When you order chairs, do not forget the caddies for easy moving and storage.
If you are doing an extensive renovation, be sure that the decision-makers in the church meet with a few companies that specialize in church renovations. Find one that will handle the job, large or small, on a budget you can afford, and on a schedule that will minimize disruption to the church and the congregation.
Don’t forget to build excitement among the congregation about the changes. They will likely forgive a bit of inconvenience if they know they can look forward to a spruced-up, beautiful church when it is completed!