Christmas and Easter Sunday services usually bring in extra visitors for worship. With people traveling to visit loved ones, your church may very well be overflowing on these holidays! For new churches or church plants, this can be especially challenging, as they are often not equipped with enough seating to handle it.
If you’re anticipating visitors for Christmas or Easter, or just want to provide parishioners with additional space, use this guide to plan and purchase your extra seating. Learn how to prepare your worship space with overflow seating and make your guests feel welcome.
Plan the Overflow Seating Layout
Plan out ahead of time how you will arrange the extra chairs. Many congregations set up “overflow” seating in a narthex or lobby. You could also put extra chairs in the main worship area. Try adding them at the end of rows or in the aisleways, or rearranging your seating layout to accommodate more people.
You could alternatively use classrooms or other rooms in your building to hold overflow seating. Ask your tech team for help setting up audio and video equipment so that the service can be broadcast to these rooms.
Make sure you plan a space to store the chairs after the service. If the church doesn’t have any spare storage rooms, you may need to rent a storage unit nearby, or perhaps build a storage space right on the premise.
Related Post: Creating a Multipurpose Space in Your Church
Get an Idea of How Many Chairs You’ll Need
After you’ve found a space to put the overflow seating, measure the room so you know how many extra chairs can reasonably fit. See our guide to calculating seating capacity for help with this.
If you are a small, relatively new church, you could survey your members to see if they are bringing guests to Christmas services. Keep in mind that this must be done far in advance, so allow yourself a few months before Christmas to complete the survey. Although this may seem like a lot of work, it will help you to get a more accurate idea of how many chairs to buy. Otherwise, you will just be guessing.
When it comes time to purchase the chairs, buy a few extra – you never know when last-minute visitors will arrive.
Choose the Right Chair Model
When you are shopping for seating for the main worship area, you want to go with high-quality chairs that will hold up for many years. It’s worth the investment to spend a little more and get the best components. For overflow seating, you may not spend as much, but you still want to pay attention to quality. These seats will make a first impression on new visitors to your church! Most chair manufacturers have product consultants who can help you choose the best option for your budget.
At ChurchPlaza, we have over 35 years of experience in church seating. Here is a brief guide from our product specialists about the types of chairs that would be perfect for your overflow seating needs:
Folding chairs are a popular choice since they take up less storage space and are easy to set up quickly. These chairs come in a variety of materials, from plastic to steel, with or without padding or cushions. Some even come with fabric upholstering for extra comfort. If you’re interested in a light weight model, choose a plastic chair. If sturdiness is a bigger concern, opt for steel.
Like folding chairs, stackable chairs are available in plastic, steel, or even wood, and with or without cushions, pads, or upholstery. They are usually lightweight to allow stacks of 10 or more chairs. At ChurchPlaza, we developed our Best Value Stacker to give churches the best of both portability and comfort!
Multifunction chairs can be either stacking or folding. They are specially developed with versatility in mind, and are usually more expensive. These chairs are usually worth the investment if you plan to use them for many other events.
Hand Carts and Caddies
Hand carts and caddies make setting up and cleaning up much easier! Be sure to order several hand carts or caddies for your chairs.
At ChurchPlaza, we have two- and three-wheeled hand carts. We also have caddies and folding chairs available for immediate shipment for churches in need of extra chairs fast!
Find Other Uses for the Additional Seating
You will get more use out of your chairs, and better justify the cost, if you find other purposes for them throughout the year. Of course, there is always Easter, another big holiday for churches. Beyond that, there are plenty of uses for extra seating. Those chairs will come in handy for any events you host at the church, whether indoors or outdoors. Consider renting out your extra chairs as well.
Create a Welcoming Environment in Your Overflow Space
You’ve put a lot of thought and planning into overflow seating, but don’t forget to focus on the experience for guests and members. It is common for visitors to sit in your overflow space, and therefore it’s important to create an environment that’s just as welcoming as your main worship area.
Invite members of your congregation to sit in the overflow space or have a “host” to make visitors feel welcome. Make sure any audio or video is working properly so that your members have a quality worship experience.
Remember, some of these visitors could become regular worshippers. Your overflow space and seating should feel like an extension of your sanctuary.
If you’re looking to buy extra seating for Christmas, Easter, or other events at your church, we invite you to browse our various chair models. We have folding and stackable chairs in a variety of prices. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced product consultants. We’re happy to advise you on the best option for your church!