Recently, I spoke with the pastor of a large urban church that was simultaneously renovating its worship facility and also building a satellite church in a nearby community. They were looking to purchase about 1,000 new worship chairs and his committee was deadlocked among those wanting to save money by buying the least expensive chairs available, those interested in investing in a quality long-lasting seating solution, and those concerned about reports of unhealthy emissions of formaldehyde from some worship seating.
His solution was to speak directly with someone that knew about these topics. So he called me. After all, ChurchPlaza has been serving America’s churches for decades and has received endorsements from 47 national denominations and/or their publishing houses. So here’s what I told him: “The fact is, this issue is about stewardship.”
What Does the Bible Say About Stewardship?
There are many Bible verses that emphasize financial stewardship: Proverbs 3:9, Luke 12:48, and Deuteronomy 16:17 just to name a few. The Bible teaches that everything we have is a gift from God and we ought to carefully manage our resources.
Churches in particular have an obligation to practice good stewardship with all of their resources. This includes church furniture and seating.
Many churches today are uninformed about what to look for when buying church seating. Unfortunately, some church chair providers will use this lack of information and focus their advertising on low prices and quick sales. There ARE real dangers, health wise and financially, in buying the wrong church seating.
How to Be a Good Steward When Buying Church Chairs
It’s imperative to practice good stewardship when making any major purchase for your church. So here’s a set of guidelines that will help you know what to look for when buying church seating. After all, it’s God’s money for His glory.
Avoid the Dangers of Cheap, Low-Quality Seating
Recall the committee members who wanted to save the church money by buying chairs at the lowest price. Although these members were well-intentioned, their desire to save money in the short term could actually cost their church money in the long-term.
The cheap chair models on the market today are not built to sufficient standards of quality. The manufacturers couldn’t possibly make a high-quality product at those low price points. So what you end up getting is a low-quality chair with components that break and wear out faster. Your church will need to replace seating more often. Your members won’t even get to enjoy the seating experience if the chair is not designed with comfort in mind.
Learn more about the risks of cheap church seating.
Be Mindful of the Health and Environmental Risks
Those members who raised the issue about formaldehyde emissions were right to be concerned. There are real dangers from uncertified chair materials. Besides cancer-causing formaldehyde emissions, you also need to watch out for TDCPP, a flame retardant often used in the furniture industry. TDCPP is a known irritant and carcinogen.
Only buy church chairs that are manufactured in compliance with applicable state and national laws regarding chemical emissions. You can learn more about chemical emissions and safety regulations by consulting our resource guide.
Look for Quality and an Established Reputation
The members of the church committee who wanted to invest in a quality, long-lasting seating solution had the right idea. Stewardship means not only taking care of the goods you have, but being prudent with the money you receive. Ensure your church makes a wise seating purchase by following these guidelines:
- Only buy from an established and reputable church chair provider. Find out how long they’ve been in business, obtain multiple references, find out if they have ever filed for bankruptcy, failed to deliver paid for product, or been sued.
- Only buy from a company that will certify in writing that the church chair’s components are high-quality and manufactured in accordance with applicable safety standards.
- Only buy from a company that will send you a sample of the exact chair you are considering.
- Make sure the warranty is clearly written and covers all elements of the chair.
Then compare the “cheap” chairs with a quality chair from a reputable provider and ask yourself, “Is a couple of dollars per chair worth not having quality components that will last?” It’s all about stewardship!
Our extensive Guide to Buying Church Chairs will give you all the information you need to make an informed purchase. Please take the time to educate your committee on the importance of buying quality church seating that will last.
Dr. Thomas McElheny