We recently came across a statistic that claimed that nine out of ten the christ today, when faced with the decision of whether to place pews or chairs into their new worship environments, are choosing chairs. While we cannot vouch for the accuracy of that statistic, we can certainly believe it. Based on our experience, it is accurate. Here are the main three reasons we hear from churches today for choosing chairs over pews for their new facilities. If you are building or considering building as well, these will be of interest to you.
- PRICE: Is there any surprise this is the number one reason churches choose chairs over pews? Church chairs can be constructed with a wood frame just as church pews are. When that is the case, then the price difference between pews and chairs is not huge. However, when church chairs have metal frames, which the great majority do in our day, then the reality is a church can purchase two-three metal frame chairs for every one wood frame chair or equivalent pew space. When a seating budget can be cut more than in half, it is easy to understand why churches are overwhelmingly choosing church chairs over church pews.
- FLEXIBILITY: Many churches today are no longer able to or desire to build dedicated worship spaces. They prefer instead to build multi-purpose spaces that can be used for worship as well as other activities. Spending unnecessary dollars on “brick and mortar” is seen more and more by upcoming generations as wasteful and unwise. Utilizing church chairs for seating in a multi-purpose space allows for easy reconfiguration. Chairs can be placed in rows, in circles, around tables, etc. Church pews of course are installed once and then are very static and an impediment to a variety of activities in that same space.
- Atmosphere: Your decision regarding church chairs or church pews will also greatly affect the atmosphere of your worship environment. Most obviously of course church pews will carry with them a little more traditional feeling. Church chairs on the other hand will in most cases provide a little more contemporary feeling. But perhaps more telling is that church chairs can help a room feel “full” which can increase the sense of excitement. For example, a church could purchase 400 new chairs for their new worship area, but only set up 250 of the chairs because that is all they really need presently. With strategic spacing the room can feel almost crowded, even though it will hold another 150 chairs when needed. As the church grows it can continue to add chairs to their set-up all the while valuing the excitement of a full room.