Choosing Chairs over Pews for Your Church

Church Chairs / Worship Seating

Church Chairs or PewsChurch chairs have not only become the choice of the majority of churches purchasing seating for their worship environments, they have actually overwhelmingly supplanted church pews in this regard. Only a couple of decades ago church pews were the choice for the majority of churches building new worship environments. Today though it is estimated that more than 90% of the time, churches will choose church chairs over church pews and other comparable types of fixed seating. Our own extensive experience would be in line with that percentage. It would appear there are three primary factors that have driven this paradigm shift for churches.

  • The First is COST: Since churches rely on volitional giving for their income, wise stewardship is important and practiced by most churches. Quality church chairs with metal frames can provide seating for about three people for the cost of every one seat provided by the purchase of church pews. It is not uncommon for us to see church seating quotes for church pews that are 300% of that for an equivalent amount of church chairs. When a church seating committee or decision-making group is faced with that level of cost disparity, it is rare for such a group to decide to purchase such an extremely expensive option. The pricing advantage of church chairs over church pews are so dramatic that very few churches do not utilize them.
  • The Second is VERSATILITY: While many churches are still building dedicated worship environments, an ever-increasing number of churches are gravitating toward environments that can be used for a number of other functions besides worship. One significant cultural fact is that younger generations are more and more resistant and even repelled by what they see as unnecessary spending on buildings. Churches that can demonstrate and articulate a desire to limit brick and mortar costs to what is absolutely necessary often will align themselves with this growing affection. A huge advantage that church chairs possess over church pews is they can be easily reconfigured for different events and activities as they have multi-function capacity. Church chairs can be used in rows for auditorium seating, used around tables for dining functions, taken up and stored for athletic events, etc. Church pews on the other hand really have one use and one use only, as once in place and anchored, other activities requiring a different configuration are no longer possible.
  • The Third is AMBIANCE: When your church makes a decision between church chairs and church pews, you are also making a major statement about the “feel” of your worship environment. Church pews will inevitably produce a more traditional, reverent and stately ambiance in your worship area. Church chairs on the other hand will likely produce just the opposite providing a more contemporary and casual ambiance. Also, church pews will always have a fixed seating capacity for your worship environment that can make it seem quite empty at lower-attended services. Church chairs though can assist a room in feeling much fuller because not all your chairs need to be set up for every service. A church that purchases 500 church chairs for their worship area might choose to set up only 300 chairs for a period of months allowing growth patterns to determine the need for setting up more of their chairs. When properly spaced the room can be made to feel full even when it is really not at capacity. The excitement that a full room generates can be enjoyed regularly.

Our conclusion is that through our own observation and experience, we expect church chairs will continue to be the overwhelming choice of churches needing worship seating over the years ahead.