Permanent, Flexible or Transitional Seating?

Church Chairs / Worship Seating

I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of churches across the country over the years.   Every setting is unique and each ministry facility has different applications and needs for its main worship seating area.  I have found though that even with tens of thousands of churches in this nation, there are really three primary categories of worship seating.  Let’s take a quick look at these three.

Permanent Seating:  This style of seating has become very popular over past two decades and is often referred to as “pew-style” seating.  The chairs are wide and comfortable, they fit seamlessly next to each other and they are more on the “formal” side of the spectrum.  While they are technically “portable”, their weight and size (along with the space needed for their storage) better fit the definition of permanent.

Flexible Seating:  With the growing popularity of multi-purpose areas for worship, the need for flexible seating has increased as well.  The best “flexible” seating provides close to the comfort of permanent seating, while having the ability to be used in both rows and around tables.  These chairs are a bit narrower, a little lighter, and store more easily than permanent seating.  They also cost a bit less because overall there are less raw materials needed in its construction.

Transitional Seating:  With many settings today, the room may need to be configured several times during the week.  When this is the case, seating that is easy to handle, easy to store, and very stackable becomes desirable.  Some transitional seating can be stored in a fourth of the space it would take to store a comparable amount of permanent seating.  Some models are also amazingly strong and yet weigh half of what permanent and flexible seating chairs may weigh.  These will often cost more at purchase time, but can  be a great investment when all factors are considered in the purchase.

For a visual overview of these three types of worship seating, check out this presentation from