A few months ago a long-term church customer contacted us about purchasing chairs for his church. Fifteen years ago they constructed their current sanctuary and furnished it with pews for seating. Since the construction of their sanctuary they have been blessed with substantial growth as a church. Currently they hold six worship services per weekend and really do not want to add an additional service. Someone had suggested to them they might be able to increase their worship seating capacity if they replaced their pews with worship chairs. They contacted Church Furniture Partner with the hope we could provide an assessment for their specific situation.
One of our staff was able to visit this church on a Sunday and obtain both some specific measurements as well as empirical data from that Sunday. The room was packed with almost 500 people present. When we calculated the total number of seating inches available in the room the result was about 12,000 inches. This meant that each person in the room was using on average 24 inches. The average worship chair is 20 inches wide. Thus by converting to sanctuary chairs from pews, an increase of 100 people, or 20%, would be realized in a similarly congested worship service.
Some pew manufacturers use 18 inches when calculating seating capacity. Our experience is that 24 inches is a more realistic number when it comes to actual use. Attendees simply will take more room than what they actually need. However, when a church utilizes chairs, attendees will limit themselves to the width of the chair itself.
In a few weeks 600 plus church chairs will be delivered to this church and the pews will be removed. The church is thrilled with the upcoming increase in worship seating capacity through simply furnishing the room in a different manner. Their church staff is delighted to not be starting a seventh worship service. And we are pleased to have partnered with this congregation once again.