In our previous article, we took a closer look at the important features of a church building, examining the exterior of some churches and explaining how they help to bring visitors inside. In part two, we’ll move inside to talk about important aspects of the lobby or foyer.
More than Just a Coatroom: The Function of Lobbies
So why do you need a lobby in the first place? Older churches usually had a very small foyer, because all it was used for was closing up umbrellas and maybe hanging up one’s coat before heading in for worship.
Today, however, the lobby has become a much more important space. It’s a central hub for meeting and conversation, perhaps over a cup of coffee. It helps direct visitors toward children’s and youth areas as well as the worship space. It also needs to have good signage so that visitors know where to find areas like the restrooms and classrooms.
Lobbies now frequently have a welcome center with greeters who can help visitors find their way around. You can clearly see the welcome center the first picture from Crossview Church in Grabill, IN, and in the next picture you can see that the children’s check-in is definitely geared toward kids! Crossview Church also installed a moving wall that’s used to create a children’s church during services, cleverly generating even more use from their lobby space.
Rise of the Incredible Growing Lobby
In order for a foyer or lobby to fulfill all these functions, these spaces have gotten a lot bigger in recent years. If you want people to hang around before and after worship to get to know each other and learn how your church can become part of their lives, you’ve got to have room for everyone to mingle, and the lobby is the obvious place for this to happen.
As you can see from the photo of NewPointe Community Church in Dover, OH, they’ve got some great seating areas as well as space for people to move around, in and out of the café, to have their conversations.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need a huge church building to create room for a meaningful lobby space. Bridgetown Church of Christ in Cincinnati, didn’t have room for a full-blown café, but they’ve got a coffee bar and information center, seating areas, and lots of glass to let in light, which helps make everyone feel more welcome.
Move Over Starbucks: The Importance of a Café in Your Church Building
For churches with sufficient room, a full café offers a great way to help visitors feel at home. Some churches even keep their cafés open during the week.
If your church is in a central part of town or the church building is used regularly for meetings and community events during the week, keeping the café open is an excellent way to encourage visitors to stop by and learn more about your church. Even if you can only afford to keep it open on Sundays and after your midweek service, it still presents a great opportunity to invite visitors to stick around and talk.
As you can see here, Bethany Wesleyan in Cherryville, PA’s café is very visible and central in the lobby space, and the café tables are grouped close to windows, which helps make the space look inviting to people driving by outside. You can also see the clear signage, helping guests know where to register for children’s church and where first-time visitors can find assistance.
But Wait, There’s More…
To learn more great ideas about maximizing your foyer or lobby space, you should explore our i3 webinar series. Simply visit our website and sign up today. They’re absolutely free.