i3 Seminar Notes

Worship Seating in Your Church Design, Part Two: All about Chairs

church-design-seating-chairsIn Part One of this series, we discussed the three types of seating options to consider when you’re working on a church design or remodeling project. Pews are the traditional choice, but they have a number of drawbacks, including the cost of refinishing old pews and the fact that you can’t rearrange them to use your worship space for a dinner or other type of event.

Another seating option that’s very comfortable, but also very expensive and not movable, is theater seating. Theater-style seats require a sloped floor or risers, and are usually only used in a large, dedicated worship space.

By far the most popular seating choice among our clients is chair seating, which is why this second part of our two-part series provides an in-depth focus specifically on this option.

Integrate Chair Size and Style into Your Church Design

When opting for chair seating, the first thing you need to decide on is the width of your chairs. The standard chair seat is 20 inches wide, but we encourage our clients to choose a 22-inch chair because it’s more comfortable and helps people feel like they’re sitting next to each other rather than on top of one another.

Naturally, those extra two inches add up, meaning that you only get 10 chairs in a space that otherwise could hold 11. So you’ll need to carefully manage your church design concept to make sure you can fit everyone into the space!

Details matter when it comes to choosing chairs, and there are a lot of elements to consider. Do you need a book rack, or a cup holder? Do you want arms on any chairs, to help people who might need some assistance standing? Do you want to pay a slightly higher price in order to have fully upholstered backs? Those will look nicer when you enter the worship space.

Another important consideration is finish—do you want wood or metal? Wood can look nicer, but it’s more expensive, although it is a good option if you’re transitioning from pews or mixing chairs and pews in the same space.

You will also want to consider going with a heavy-duty fabric for your chairs—the patterns may not be as attractive but they will have a long life, which is important to your investment.

Dare to Compare

Sitting on those chairs is a very important part of integrating the right one into your church design. Manufacturers will typically send you a sample chair for free or for a nominal charge that can be credited toward a future purchase. Get those sample chairs and try them out in a well-used meeting or class room so that your leadership gets to try them out for an hour at a time, not just a few seconds in each chair.

Don’t just compare how each chair feels. Take a good look at how well they are put together. Does the fabric fit well? Is there any warping? Are the glides on the bottom of the chair legs strong enough to protect your flooring? Are there air holes underneath the seats that allow the foam to breathe? This will increase the life of the foam.

Also, consider asking for large swatches of each fabric you’re considering, rather than the typical one-inch squares, so you can drape them over the seats to see what each option will look like.

And don’t forget to compare warranties. The frame and structure should have a 25-year warranty, and the foam a 10-year warranty. The warranty should be in writing.

Pre-Planning and Delivery

It’s a good idea to be doing all of this early in the church design and building process. To get the fabric and finish you want, you may have to order them rather than selecting from a limited in-stock inventory. Be sure you know the lead-time of your order and where the chairs are manufactured and assembled. Some companies get parts oversees, so be aware of potential delays.

You also want to double-check whether delivery includes unloading. (It would be tough for whoever’s at church on delivery day to have a truckload of chairs suddenly arrive, only to have the truck driver say, “It’s not my responsibility to unload them!”) On the other hand, if a fee is charged for unloading, you could assemble a crew of volunteers on delivery day and save yourself that cost.

As you can tell, we’ve had the seating discussion quite a few times with our clients. If you’d like to learn more from our experience, visit our website today and sign up for our i3 webinar series. It’s free!

2015-04-01T08:17:30+00:00 April 1st, 2015|Advice, i3 Seminar Notes, Uncategorized|

Announcing The McKnight Group’s 2015 Church Building i3 Webinars!

i3-webinars-2015It’s a new year, full of new possibilities. If you’re like a lot of growing churches, some big decisions and hard choices are ahead of you—especially if your church building complex can’t handle all the new people and activities planned for 2015.

This is where we’d really like to lend a hand. We’ve created a fabulous series of six webinars for 2015. We believe these will help any church that’s considering, or already undergoing, a church renovation or new building project. Each of these i3 webinars is completely free; all you need to do is visit our website and sign up. By the way, i3 stands for Ideas, Insights & Innovations. We believe you’ll get all three from these six webinars!

Interested? Here are the details on all six of our 2015 free i3 webinars:

January 15, 2015: “How to Fund Your Project in Today’s Economy”

A lot of pundits are saying that our economy is improving, but perhaps you can’t tell that from your church’s budget. Food, clothing, and shelter have to come first for your church attendees, and a lot of people are still afraid. As church leaders, you don’t want to focus on that fear—but you also worry about how you’re going to fund your church building project.

This webinar gives you some good, solid, specific assistance with this difficult topic. You will learn the particular strategies used by many churches to fund their building projects. This includes both the tried-and-true, and some innovative approaches. You’ll learn how to craft a realistic budget that your church can afford. We’ll also give you some insights on what steps you can take now to be ready, financially, to take on a church building project in the future.

February 19, 2015: “Creating Effective Children’s Spaces”

Reaching children in a family is a great way to bring in and keep new church members. How do you attract children to church, and make it an exciting place, as well as inspirational, where they can learn and grow in the Lord?

We’ve got answers for you. This webinar will help you understand how to redeem existing space so that it’s irresistible to children, and to their anxious parents as well. We’ll also give you the most important things to consider if you’re building children’s spaces from the ground up. And finally, we will also share with you a number of pitfalls to avoid.

March 19, 2015: “Steps to a Successful Church Interior Design Project”

Is it hard for you to envision what a new church building would look like? Do you have a difficult time thinking beyond what’s right in front of your eyes? Are you concerned that your church will end up with a church building that already looks outdated, before you even open the doors?

There’s a lot more to a successful remodeling or building project than just getting the walls in the right place. Completing a successful church design means you need to make the right decisions from the very beginning. In this webinar, we’ll give you the specific steps that you need to take, including a first step that may surprise you.

April 16, 2015: “What Makes a Great Multisite Facility?”

Are you wanting to get on the multisite bandwagon and join over 8,000 others across the country that already have multisite facilities? Have you ever considered the possibility that multisite locations have different needs than a traditional, single-site church building?

We have. This is why we’ve created a webinar that gives you practical information to help refine your search for the perfect multisite building—or create one yourself, with the help of a design-build company like The McKnight Group. There are a number of particular considerations that you need to know about, and we will share those in this informative webinar.

May 21, 2015: “Principles for a Successful Church Building Project”

As we’ve said above, there’s more to a successful church project than just getting the walls in the right place. In May’s free webinar, we’ll discuss some principles that must form a firm foundation for your church design or building project. These include gathering the right leadership team, developing an appropriate and specific vision, understanding your church’s real financial potential, and making sure that you create a functional building. Regardless of where you are in your building plans, this webinar will give important insights and help steer you clear of potential trouble spots in the church building process.

June 18, 2015: “How to Transform the Building You Have into the Building You Need”

Does your church building feel like a ball and chain, dragging you back as you try to pull your church community forward into the future? Older church buildings were just not designed with today’s worship in mind. How can you convert your current church complex from a liability into an asset?

In this year’s final webinar of our series, we will discuss in detail a number of specific ball-and-chain buildings and the solutions we’ve created. These examples are dilemmas faced by real churches, and in this webinar you will watch and see how their buildings were transformed, creating ministry opportunities that they also never dreamed were possible.

Are you ready to face your church’s future with confidence? Sign up now for this year’s series of free i3 webinars and get 2015 off to a great start!

2015-01-06T08:53:21+00:00 January 6th, 2015|i3 Seminar Notes, Uncategorized|

Share Your Church Building Topic Suggestions for Our 2015 i3 Webinar Series

improve-stewardship-webinarThe most successful organizations are those that listen to their customers and potential clients. This is something The McKnight Group has done since its beginning in 1970. It’s a big reason why we set up our free i3 webinar series—to address the church design, building and renovation issues that you, our friends and clients, have been talking about with us.

Those three i’s in the series name stand for ideas, insights and innovations, and over the years we’ve been able to share a number of exciting ideas, convey the insights that we have discovered while constructing church buildings, and reveal innovations in the industry that have helped improve the church building process.

Our Successful 2014 Church Building i3 Webinar Series

In 2014 we had five different webinars in our series, and we showed each of them twice during the course of the year because we understand that scheduling conflicts arise. Our topics ranged widely, from effective children’s spaces to funding your church building project in a challenging economy. We talked about how to redeem existing space, and how to use interior design for outreach to the community.

Our free i3 webinar series was very successful in 2014. We had over 400 people register for them, representing 20 states from around the nation. We hope to continue that success in 2015.

Help Us Plan Our 2015 Church Building i3 Webinar Series

Now we need your help. Is there topic you’d like covered in 2015? What are the issues that your church is struggling to address? What design dilemmas do you have? What building shortcomings are you looking to overcome? What are the problems you’re having in getting your members on board with your vision for the future?

You see, we want these webinars to be relevant to what’s going on in churches today. Church leaders like yourself need support, and we’re here to provide it when you have questions about church building, design and renovation issues. We are experts in that field and are happy to freely share our expertise, because we understand that a supportive relationship with you and your church can make all the difference in a successful building or renovation project.

What Other Feedback Do You Have for Us?

Because we value relationships, we also want to know how we can improve as a business. In what other ways, besides our i3 webinars, can we be of assistance to church leaders? What do you need from us, and what can we do better?

We’d also, naturally, love to hear how we have helped you in the past. If you’ve had a great experience with The McKnight Group through our webinars, a conversation (perhaps at Catalyst) or one of our church building projects, we’d like to hear about it.

So give us your feedback. You can email us at request@mcknightgroup.com, call us at 800-625-6448, or send us a letter via fax (614-875-7006) or mail (P.O. Box 370, Grove City, OH 43123). Your input makes us a better company, and helps strengthen those relationships which impact people’s lives for Christ.

2014-11-11T09:32:47+00:00 November 11th, 2014|i3 Seminar Notes, Uncategorized|

i3 Webinar Series: Share Your Ideas With Us!

Would businesses thrive if they didn’t pay attention to customer feedback? Not likely. It makes no difference if that business is a traditional one, a church or even a church builder. We all need feedback to meet the needs of the people we serve. Recently, The McKnight Group sent out a survey to a number of church leaders, asking for feedback on what they want to see in our free i3 webinar series. We took their comments and created five new i3 webinars for 2014. We’re excited about these new webinars and hope you make plans to participate. In addition to the topics below, we would love to hear your ideas and thoughts for even more topics.

Save the Date

Our first webinar in the series, From Box Buildings to Old Churches: Redeeming Space for Ministry will take place on January 16 and will take a close look at the various factors involved in determining whether a building renovation is your answer. Whether you are concerned about the financial cost of starting from scratch, or the cost in your leaders’ time and energy, you will hear the wisdom you need to make the right decision about whether to redeem your existing church space for future needs.

On February 20, the topic will be How to Fund Your Project in Today’s Economy and will lay out both the specific methods used by most churches to fund their building projects and some more creative approaches. Budget tools and step-by-step guidance will also be provided.

Other topics this year include The Advantages of Design-Build Partnerships for Churches; Creating Effective Children’s Spaces; and Interior Design: Using Your Church to Connect with Your Community.

You can learn more about each of these topics on our website as well as easily sign up for any (or all) of these webinars. If your church has building or remodeling plans in 2014, we hope you will join us for these new, educational and interactive webinars.

New Topics? New Ideas?

If you participated in our survey, thank you. If you didn’t, we’d love to hear your ideas too. Is there a different topic that you would like to learn more about? Please let us know!  We invite you to contact us, either by phone (800-625-6448 or 614-875-1689), email (request@mcknightgroup.com), or through our website. We look forward to connecting with you and helping your church meet its building needs.


2014-01-07T14:07:26+00:00 January 7th, 2014|i3 Seminar Notes, Uncategorized|

Announcing The McKnight Group’s 2014 Free i3 Webinar Series

If plans for the coming New Year include a church remodeling or building project, The McKnight Group has great news for you: a series of new and free i3 webinars that will make the task much easier for everyone who is involved with your church building or renovation project. With the help of these exciting new webinars, your building process will be both more streamlined and more successful in bringing your church’s project to life.

Here is more information about each of these five valuable i3 webinars coming in 2014:

From Box Buildings to Old Churches: Redeeming Space for Ministry

Many churches have existing space that no longer meets their needs. The good news is that there’s often no need to start from scratch; instead, it might make sense to remodel your current facility to fit today’s ministries—and tomorrow’s as well. This webinar will take a close look at the various factors involved in determining whether a renovation is your answer. Whether you are concerned about the financial cost of starting from scratch, or the cost in your leaders’ time and energy, you will hear the wisdom you need to make the right decision about whether to redeem your existing church space for future needs. Sign up now for From Box Buildings to Old Churches: Redeeming Space for Ministry webinar to be offered January 16th, 2014.

How to Fund Your Project in Today’s Economy

Every church’s vision for its building project must be wisely harnessed to a reasonable budget, and any responsible leadership team is bound to be concerned about the continued sloth in the economy. This doesn’t mean you need to abandon your vision; instead, you need to get creative about funding. This webinar, to be offered February 20, 2014, will lay out both the specific methods used by most churches to fund their building projects and some more creative approaches. Budget tools and step-by-step guidance will also be provided.

The Advantages of Design-Build Partnerships for Churches

Many people are familiar with the challenges inherent in the bidding process. This webinar, available live on March 20, 2014, will present the advantages of eliminating the bidding process altogether and working instead with one single team for the entire church building project. From streamlining communication to eliminating the conflict between different contractors, this partnership allows church leaders to focus on the church’s vision and trust one strategic partner to oversee the entire building or renovating process.

Creating Effective Children’s Spaces

There is no question that children are the future of the church. What is your church doing to attract its future leaders? This practical webinar outlines a number of elements that will invite, engage and support children. From the question of whether to redeem existing space or start from scratch, to how best to make a good first impression on parents as well as children, this webinar will teach you both how to prepare an exciting children’s space and avoid the pitfalls other churches have experienced. You can be a part of the Creating Effective Children’s Spaces webinar on April 24, 2014.

Interior Design: Using Your Church to Connect with Your Community

Does your church building reach out to the community, or does it seem to stand back, with closed doors, and make visitors wonder if they are really welcome? With this webinar, May 15, 2014, learn how to use some straightforward information about finishes for your church building as a way to communicate the relevance, friendliness and openness of your church, and the benefits of your church’s ministries to your community.

So give yourself and your church leadership team some valuable help in 2014 and sign up on our website for any or all of these free i3 webinars today!

2013-12-17T09:04:09+00:00 December 17th, 2013|i3 Seminar Notes, Uncategorized|

i3 Seminar Update!

Pastor Ken Murphy Leads Tour

What is i3?
Not just another church building seminar!  i3 stands for “Ideas, Insights & Innovations” – all of which are required for church building and expansion in the ever-changing dynamic of growing the church community. In this short, one-day seminar, attendees had the opportunity to learn valuable ideas, insights and innovations from experienced church leaders and visionaries who have built or expanded church communities.

This year’s April 4th event was hosted by Cypress Wesleyan Church and her great staff.   Senior Pastor, Ken Murphy, was instrumental in bringing to light the success stories of the church through multiple projects conducted by The McKnight Group.  After conducting a tour of the campus for all attendees, Ken led a main session entitled “Building … People”. 

Mark Brooks of The Charis Group

Informative workshops were presented by The McKnight Group Staff including how to “Make a Lasting Impression With Your Church Interior Design” by Church Interior Designer Jennifer Snider, “Principles for Designing and Building Effective Ministry Tools” by Head of Architecture Philip Tipton, and “What Can A Church Do In Tough Economic Times” by McKnight Group Representative Eric Simmons.

The Charis Group’s Mark Brooks discussed “The New Normal – How Capital Funds Must Be Raised in the 21st Century”, bringing us up to speed on how the current economy has changed the landscape of giving towards capital projects. 

What people are saying:

Thank you for an excellent seminar!! It was first class and really dealt with the issues! You certainly had my attention! May God richly bless you for your labor of love.  Gratefully, Cliff & Lindal Reynolds

Thank you for hosting a great seminar and providing such a nice lunch … the morning sessions were VERY helpful. I got lots of good stuff to help us. Thank you.

Just to let you know, we really enjoyed the seminar, and appreciated all the information that I’m eager to pass on to our congregation.

Overall, a very informative day provided free by The McKnight Group!   Need more information about Church Design and Church Building? Please give us a call: 800-625-6448.  You may also join us for our next i3 Webinar by clicking here!


2013-05-29T10:59:38+00:00 May 29th, 2013|i3 Seminar Notes, Press Release, Promotions, Uncategorized|