Have you defined your worship style?

October 26th, 2012 millbrookindustries


In the past, seating in churches was, typically, a basic pew that accommodated lots of people; was strong, unmovable and to some extent uncomfortable. This is no longer the case. Churches have evolved, the form in which congregations worship have changed as well.


Nowadays, churches are far more broad and reflective of personal styles and individual preferences. How a congregation assembles on a Sunday morning can look a great deal different in another church only a few blocks away.


As you embark on your search for seating options, you need to consider what your church is truly trying to accomplish? Who are you? Have you defined your worship style? (a) permanent, (b) flexible or (c) transitional

In permanent worship styles, the congregation gathers on a weekly basis for services in a sanctuary that is considered to some degree to be holy and set apart. There is little movement from week-to-week in seating configurations that form pew-like or seamless rows.


When considering seating in a permanent style of worship, committees will consider seating that helps to build a strong sense of community while contributing to a respectful atmosphere.


Preferred features of seating for churches with a permanent worship style:

  • Preferably chairs should have a frame width of 20-22 inches, seamless plush foam cushioning and oversized backs that give a pew-like or continuous seating appearance.
  • Portability is appreciated in chairs, however is not the determining factor.


In flexible worship styles, the congregation normally gathers in multi-purpose auditoriums. Places like large warehouses or commercial spaces are converted and do not resemble anything like what has traditionally been considered a “church.” Chairs are placed in rows for worship, or apart in small group settings and for more intimate settings conversing around tables to helping guests form relationships through socialization. Often chairs are used in combination with food and coffee.


Churches in this style are typically less concerned about tradition and formality. Flexible worship style, aim to create spaces that is inviting and friendly. By identifying a worship-style as flexible committee members encourage a variety of seating that gives a sense of personal space, at the same time as still being able to change things up quickly and with ease.

Preferred features of seating for churches with a flexible worship style:

  • Preferably chairs would include a frame width of 18-19 inches, rolled seat cushions, a more upright back angle and weigh 15-17 pounds.
  • Overall weight of each chair is a factor, because the chairs will be moved often for a variety intended uses.
  • Storage is normally not a large problem, but chairs must be able to stack and move easily. Traditional wooden pews would not be an option.
  • Although comfort remains a factor, chairs are narrower than those in a permanent worship style because they are often used around tables.


In transitional worship styles, the congregation may assemble in a shared multi-purpose facility like a school gym or community center. Spa

ces will be used for one function, only to be transformed into something else very quickly. In efforts to utilize space and stretch budgets, a church’s main meeting area is reconfigured frequently on a weekly basis, sometimes even daily.

Churches using a transitional worship style encourage a selection committee to consider seating that is very functional, light weight, portable and stackable, while still providing comfort for those coming to worship services and other church functions.
Preferred features of seating for churches with a transitional worship style:
  • Preferably chairs should be lightweight (15 pounds or less) and feature an ergonomic design for comfort.
  • Since these chairs are stored frequently, it is imperative that they can be set up and stacked quickly with ease, taking up nominal storage space.

After all the work that comes with making a considerate assessment, church chairs are something that should actually fade into the backdrop. Well-made and purposely chosen seating should simply support and enhance the church and its ministry.


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