What your church lobby says about you and your leadership

Steve Law writes: Your church lobby tells new people in about 3 seconds the kind of people that your church wants to have. Okay, maybe just 2 seconds. It is really, really, really fast and most churches do not even know what they’re doing.

I walked into one church and this is what I saw:

Faded, worn out mauve carpet that “died” several years ago

Furniture that I last saw in my 80 year old aunt’s house – and she died 25 years ago

Bare walls on one side and pictures of old stuff on the wall

A chandelier

I looked around to see if it was a church or funeral home – everything told me I was in a funeral parlor or at least a place that my great Aunt Clara (born circa 1900) would enjoy. It was like a museum – okay, you get the picture. It was not a drawing card for 20- and 30-somethings. It was not even attractive to anyone under 60 – but most people had seen it for so long that they felt it was just part of the church. But anyone who was new to the church and walked in there was immediately turned off by what they saw.

Take time on this Monday morning – walk into your church lobby and look at it as you never have before. Look at the lighting, the walls and what is hanging on the walls. Talk with people about the furniture and ask them if that is something they would see in a home of a young family (presuming that family had some money to buy furniture they like).

//Read more here: Church Financial Leadership.

What did you find today in your church lobby?

Does your church lobby do a good job at representing your church to new eyes?



  • James December 11, 2012 Reply

    Funny I know this is true and that is what is sad. People judge the church on everything, except if they are teaching the word of God. I know churches who have to use hand me down items like furniture and really do not care what art work is on the walls. they just want to preach the gospel and reach the lost through Jesus. The sad thing is that people who go into a church looking at worldly items and decor are more than likely church shoppers, you know the ones who are looking for the kind of music they like, the kind of preaching they like, in other words church is about them and what they can get out of it not about worshiping Jesus. The average 20-30 something is not looking for another fad, they are looking for authenticity. I believe the first thing you should see when you walk in our the people of Jesus who love and let the Holy Spirit worry about attracting them.

    • RLH December 11, 2012 Reply

      I think the first thing people should see is a person who is genuinely glad they are there. Not glad the visitor is there but the welcomer is glad he or she is there. Then they should see that the people of that church care about their guest and are interested in them not just one less empty seat. Finally I think they should see a plate of cookies and a cookie being personally offered to them. Come on, cookies make everyone feel better!

  • Brian December 11, 2012 Reply

    I think it is an eye-opener to try to see your building from the perspective of a non- saved visitor. They do not see the spiritual aspect when they first. They look for excellence in the natural realm first. Why can churches not be excellent in both realms!

  • Jan December 13, 2012 Reply

    Hmmm… maybe we need to GET a lobby.

    Not discounting the need to update. But there are a few assumptions here. It’s like the time I was told we needed to start a golf cart ministry, where we picked up visitors in a golf cart and drove them to the front door. This was supposed to make them feel special and our evangelism program would take off.

    Too bad he didn’t ask if we even had a parking lot!

    I believe it’s important to update, look like you care etc. but more and more I believe even if we have a crapo building, if God is moving, people will be there.

    Tired of paradigms, programs, plans, keys to success and thriving on faithfulness, worship, the word, real fellowship and moving with a mighty God. And yes, our building looks nice. But it’s not so important anymore.

  • Roger Hicks December 17, 2012 Reply

    Perhaps the importance of how our lobby looks….or how any part of our church campus looks….depends on who we are trying to attract. If it’s the upper middle class we need to be concerned perhaps. The appearance of a church campus has been one of my pet peaves for many years…..HOWEVER, I’ve also been in church facilities that do not have a “lobby” and somewhat shabby facilities….but the presence of the Holy Spirit was alive and well and people were coming to Christ.

  • Phillip December 19, 2012 Reply

    No question that God’s clear and invited presence to lead is primary. And that aspect being the focus of the personal lives and the corporate worship of a church will be the only thing that makes a lasting difference in the lives of anyone who arrives at the church any given week.

    But… Like Brian said, paying attention to what the building, greeters, artwork, seating, etc. communicates DOES matter IF you care for those who are not yet Christians or have nominal spiritual interest (so far) in the life.

    They may come to know the joy of a passion for God.
    But they may NOT if we don’t account for where they are in their perceptions of life (and our building) when they are first arriving.

    If it LOOKS good, they are more likely NOT to focus on the looks, put that in the back of their mind, and focus on the content of the people and the worship.
    If it looks DRAB or poor, they may (in their natural, current state at the time) be distracted by those elements so much that they fail to hear the heart and message the church desires to communicate.

    ‘Become all things…’ to reach people can include becoming smart designers of our spaces/environments. Then… with their attention given… We can BE the church and preach the gospel to people who need to hear it.

    If they are shoppers/consumers – our efforts may not matter. That should not preclude good spaces to study and worship in.

    If they are genuine believers, it won’t matter what the place looks like (within reason). That should not preclude good spaces…

    If they really need Christ or restoration to Him, is it so hard to design/restore/update our space so it doesn’t distract?

    This is a parallel to worship/musician preparation. We want to practice so we remove as many errors as possible. NOT so we are seen as good musicians. But… so that no mistake has the chance to become someone’s focus! We want them not to notice us, but to notice Jesus Christ.
    Same with decor/setting/place.

    a 26 year ministry guy who is just seeing the fruit of undistracted guests!

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  • Gwyn May 28, 2013 Reply

    What if your church IS in fact in a former funeral home (ours is) We bought an old Victorian Mansion that is on 6.11 acres. We have a lot of work to do, but we remodeled what was originally a carriage house on the property, and then became the place where the bodies were embalmed after a Funeral Home bought it. It’s not a large space but presently we are working on the lobby.

  • Graham March 24, 2015 Reply

    we meet each Sunday in a school
    House groups meet during week
    We also connect with community
    We purchase a new build an old social club now is a coffee shop food bank
    Music huo,bible school and conferance venue

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