“But that chair isn’t a CHURCH CHAIR, is it?”
That question was asked of me recently by a pastor we were working with. He had contacted us regarding the worship seating needs of his church, he was operating with a very tight budget, and he wanted a church chair that featured a high degree of quality. As we conversed, I suggested one chair solution that we have placed in several churches that performs very well, possesses great quality and is easy on the budget. The pastor though, even though he loved the price and was pleased with the specifications of the chair, uttered the words above…
As I reflected on this pastor’s statement, a couple of thoughts came to my mind. One is that his statement was a very personal one that indicated a preference that was important to him and was a value I needed to honor. An additional thought though was about what actually makes a chair a “church chair”. Here is an expansion on those thoughts with three observations as to what really is needed for a chair to be labeled a “church chair”.
A church chair is a chair
that provides those in attendance at a worship service the ability to focus on the service itself versus continually dealing with discomfort because of the chairs they are sitting on. The reality is that when people attend a church service they want to be able to see what is going on, hear what is going on, and be able to choose to participate in what is taking place. But when the chair they are sitting on is uncomfortable, all of the above are affected negatively and will become a distraction for them throughout the worship service, versus something that enhances their overall experience. Please know the above truth is not related to the appearance of the chair. Instead it has everything to do with the comfort the chair provides.
A church chair is secondly a chair that is in compliance with any and all legal requirements that are in force in the particular jurisdiction where your church is located. We find that many churches are unaware that when a room reaches a specific number of people occupying it (you will have to contact your local officials to determine this limit for your area) rules can go into effect for your seating. For example, in some areas your chairs may be required to be “affixed” the floor. In other areas, the ability to effectively connect your chairs to each other may be non-negotiable. The fire-retardant requirements for the fabric and foam that make up a part your chairs may be stricter in some localities than others. The simple truth is that your chairs should be in compliance with those codes in force in your location. Please know again that this truth is not related to the appearance of your church chair. Instead it has everything to do with honoring authority.
A church chair is then finally a chair that works for your church in the worship space it is placed in. For example, there are churches that because of a limited amount of square footage in their worship area desire to squeeze as many chairs as possible into that area. It may be that a worship chair a bit narrower than the standard 20″ wide chair is the one that works for them. Another church that may be holding their worship service in a room that also serves as a space for other purposes throughout the week has a need to stack their chairs at least once each week. It may be that a worship chair that is lighter in weight, handles easier and stores compactly is the chair that works for them. And yet another church needs chairs that will work both in auditorium style seating in rows and around tables. It may be that a “hybrid” chair is the chair that needs to be purchased. Please know the reality once again is this has little with the appearance of your church chair. Instead it simply has to do with what chair can serve multiple purposes for your church.
So, why is not any chair a church chair? As you have seen it is not related to appearance. The simple truth is a chair is not a church chair when it cannot really be used to its potential for your unique church!