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Selecting the ideal chairs for your church is more than just a matter of comfort; it’s a decision that profoundly influences your worship space’s functionality, aesthetics, and overall atmosphere. The right chairs can enhance congregational engagement, complement your church’s architectural style, and reflect your community’s values.

Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we will cover the key factors that should guide your decision, from understanding the specific needs of your congregation to ensuring compliance with local regulations. Our aim is to equip you with the insights needed to make an informed choice that aligns with both the practical and spiritual aspects of your church environment.

Assessing Your Church’s Needs

Purpose and Usage

Before selecting chairs, consider their primary function. Are they for stationary or flexible seating arrangements? For example, stackable chairs are ideal for dynamic settings. However, they require careful weight consideration, as moving many heavy chairs can be laborious and cause wear and tear.

Storage and Mobility

Efficient storage and mobility are vital. Determine how many chairs you can stack together and the amount of space they occupy when stored. Evaluate if you have adequate material handling equipment, like chair carts, to facilitate easy movement.

Key Features and Accessories To Think Of

Essential Features

The choice of chair features depends on your church’s specific needs. Some chairs come with hymnal holders, communion cup holders, guest card holders, or storage racks. Additionally, the robustness of the ganging mechanism, which clips chairs together, is an important factor to consider.

Comfort vs. Practicality

It’s important to balance comfort with practicality. While thickly padded chairs offer comfort, they may not be necessary for short seating durations. Lighter, more practical options might be more suitable for your needs. In addition, the size and width of the chair will play a significant factor in comfort and how many chairs you can fit in a room.

Durability and Maintenance

Durability and ease of maintenance are key. Consider whether the chairs allow for easy replacement of seat pads or covers in case of damage. Also, assess the ease of cleaning, especially for chairs that will be used frequently and are prone to spills and stains.

Legal and Safety Compliance

Understanding Local Regulations

Compliance with local regulations is a fundamental aspect of selecting church chairs. It’s not just about aesthetics or comfort; it’s about adhering to legal and safety standards that can significantly impact your church’s operations.

Implications of Seating Changes

Switching from fixed seating like pews to flexible seating options like chairs can alter your building’s occupancy calculations. Most municipalities in the United States calculate occupancy based on seating arrangements.

For instance, if your church was initially designed with pews, the occupancy permit is likely based on an 18-inch pew per person calculation. If you utilize theater-style seats, the calculation is one person per seat. These figures determine the number of people allowed in the space and influence other requirements like parking spaces, toilet facilities, and air conditioning capacity.

Adjustments for Flexible Seating

When you opt for flexible seating, the calculation changes. Typically, flexible seating is based on seven square feet per person. This could increase your room’s occupancy limit significantly. For example, a room that accommodates 300 people with pews might be able to hold nearly 500 with chairs. Such an increase has a domino effect, necessitating more parking, additional toilets, more exit doors, and enhanced air conditioning capacity.

Legal Compliance and Safety

Your municipality will also guide you on whether the chairs need to be ganged together and, if so, the specifics of this requirement. This might include how many chairs should be connected in a row or if they need to be bolted to the floor. It’s crucial to understand these details before making a decision, as non-compliance can lead to serious legal and safety repercussions.

In case of an emergency, such as a fire, non-compliance with these regulations can lead to severe consequences. If an incident occurs and the church did not adhere to the legal seating arrangements, it could result in liabilities for injuries or worse. Moreover, such non-compliance can lead to insurance issues, where your insurance company may deny coverage due to illegal modifications.

Making the Right Choice

Customizing to Your Church’s Needs

Your church’s specific goals, whether they are increasing seating capacity or enhancing flexibility for different events, should guide your choice. The post-COVID era has also changed seating preferences, shifting towards creating a sense of fullness even in less crowded spaces.

Series Seating: A Recommended Supplier

For a wide range of options and quality, Series Seating is highly recommended. Their chairs are known for their durability, customization options, and suitability for various church environments.

Easily Manage Chair/Table Inventory

When managing church chair inventory, eSPACE is an invaluable tool for facility managers. This robust software simplifies the inventory process, seamlessly integrating with event requests to ensure efficient event planning. With eSPACE, you can easily track the number of chairs available, helping to determine if your current supply meets the needs of upcoming events. This level of organization is crucial in preventing last-minute panics for your facilities and set-up teams, who otherwise might find themselves scrambling to address resource shortages at the eleventh hour.

In addition, eSPACE is particularly adept at monitoring the usage of chairs and other resources for offsite events. For instance, if chairs are borrowed for an external function, eSPACE helps track their whereabouts, significantly reducing the risk of losing valuable assets and incurring high replacement costs. To sum it up, eSPACE empowers church facility managers with the tools to maintain accurate inventory records, ensuring smooth operation and resource availability for all events.

Easily Manage Chair/Table Inventory with Espace
In eSPACE, chairs can be easily inventoried and tracked with Event requests which allows for better event planning to determine if the supply on hand is adequate to cover the event.

Easily Manage Chair/Table Inventory with espace


Church Chairs: The Bottom Line

Selecting the right chairs for your church requires careful consideration of usage, features, maintenance, legal compliance, and your congregation’s specific needs. By considering these factors, you can choose chairs that enhance the worship experience and meet the functional requirements of your church.

Bonus: Chair Recommendations

To help you choose the right chairs for your church, we have compiled a list of recommendations.

Patrick Hart
Patrick Hart has served in Church Facilities Ministry roles for the past 18 years in the Pacific Northwest. He is an active member of the NACFM and has served on their Board as Executive Director and more recently as Director of Development. Previously, Pat was in ministry as a Director of Christian Education in the Lutheran Church, worked as National Account Manager for a large telecom company, and has owned his own business.