Your church and toilet paper

I have this theory.

The nicer the toilet paper, the better the church.

It works for hotels.

Ever use the bathroom in a Motel 6?  It’s a different experience than in a Ritz Carlton.

Which brings me to the subject of church bathrooms.

Is it possible that church bathrooms tell more about the church than we think?

Yeah, I think so… sometimes.

I know of one church that decks out their ladies room, and they swear that it has made a difference.  (It’s a sure fire way to win the ladies over).

I’ve been in other church bathrooms that are like using the bathroom at the BP station.

Is there a correlation?

The short answer: yes.

If your church bathroom looks like 1973 (and smells like a 12 day old rain forest), then I will guarantee that other things in your church are amiss.

Take a moment now.  Go visit your church’s bathroom.

What does it say about your church?



  • Jeff Ruble July 23, 2013 Reply

    I never thought about all that much but I reckon there is some truth to that. I will run that by our pastor. All I know is the bathroom is better than in the Army. I don’t have to take a shovel to dig a hole and not have to use John Wayne toilet. paper. Rough and tough and takes nothing off of nobody. lol

  • Jeff Ruble July 23, 2013 Reply

    I never thought of it in that way. I will have to let my pastor know about this. All I know is the accomdations are better than the army. I don’t need a shovel to dig a hole and use John Wayne TP. You know rough and tough and takes nothing off of nobody. lol

  • pietrosquared July 23, 2013 Reply

    YES! I’ve been saying this for years, but you say it way better than I do.

  • Yep. When I do a secret shopper consultation visit, I always check the bathrooms. It says a lot and communicates far more than we realize.

  • Jeorge July 23, 2013 Reply

    Some where long ago I read an article and the premise was the wife decides which church the family usually joins. And the restrooms were often the deciding factor in the decision making process.
    Andy Anderson was before his death a representative of the SBC Sunday School Board (now Lifeway). I once heard him say that in building a church building you needed to build the restrooms first and then the rest of the complex around them.

  • Trapper July 23, 2013 Reply

    Okay, and here’s the application…..

    We can all agree Charmin’s premium options — Ultra Soft and Ultra Strong — are the best choices, right? I mean, seriously, if you don’t, you just haven’t put any effort into it and don’t know what you’re talking about.

    But those are the priciest…if you’re buying off-the-shelf, that’s your most expensive option. HOWEVER, it’s STILL your BEST option!

    With many years of research under my belt (cough), I will testify that the user of either (soft or strong) is likely to use LESS of it, so much so that the less-expensive alternatives actually wind up costing more!


    Quilted Northern — even waiting for sales and using coupons for Northern and/or the Charmin, Charmin is approximately 30-33% more than Northern; HOWEVER, you’ll use about 40% MORE Northern, making Northern more expensive in the long run.

    Angel Soft — same as above, with price difference of 35-40% but usage difference of 50+%!

    Now, if, even with those “clinical studies,” you’re still wanting to pay less, know that store-brand knockoffs of the two premium Charmins have entered the market. In the case of the grocery / hypermart I frequent most, I can tell you that these store brands are ABSOLUTE WINNERS.

    So there ya go….stop screwin’ around…..go make your TP a settled issue and get on with the rest!

  • Steve Miller July 23, 2013 Reply

    I know one church which decks the guys’ bathroom our like a hunting lodge or a hot rod car showroom. It is crazy cool. I drink lots of water at that church just so I have an excuse to revisit the john.

    When I asked my wife about the lady’s room she said they had some flowers but nothing special.

    I so wish we had the budget to redo the bathroom at our current church. It is 1970’s era ancient.

  • Rick July 23, 2013 Reply

    Brother, Amen and amen. You are so right!

  • Chris July 23, 2013 Reply

    I’m sorry to be this person but when did church become more about bathrooms then about God? Back in the early Christian Church they didn’t have great bathrooms, they might not of had bathrooms at all, but they went to church not for the bathrooms but to Praise and Worship God with a community that loves God the same way! you should want to go to church for the same reason not for what the bathroom looks like. I’m sorry but this story doesn’t sit well with me.

    • Rachael H July 23, 2013 Reply

      Thank you!! I totally agree with you! Glad to know I’m not the only one who feels like this too!

    • Todd Rhoades July 23, 2013 Reply

      Well, crap.

    • Steve Miller July 23, 2013 Reply

      I think the point being is love of God isn’t just an emotional or intellectual exercise it is what we do, if you love God it will filter down into everything you touch. God is an extravagant God who lavishes us with grace and we respond with admiration and worship. Believe it or not, but not being cheap with toilet paper does say a lot about a churches love of people. God cared enough to send his best to save us, we can spend a few extra cents to show people we care enough to take into consideration their comfort.

      • Terry Fulk July 23, 2013 Reply

        I agree with your thinking, Steve. Sometimes “we get so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.” We ought to be our best to reach the rest.
        The Lord’s business IS the most important business in the world and we should do our best to make it shine in everyway.

    • Trapper July 23, 2013 Reply

      If God is real, how is it even theologically possible that those who say they love Him become disconnected from reality? Wouldn’t and doesn’t knowing God make one *more* aware of reality? Reality is that our God-designed brains are horribly confused and frustrated by — and try desperately to reconcile — inconsistencies between expectation and experience.

      Todd’s right — bad toilet paper makes people wonder what other bad stuff they’re not noticing …where else you’ve gone cheap and what other shortcuts you’re taking…whether you want me because you love me or because you need my money for TP….why you say you care but don’t even care enough to prevent me from exacerbating whatever I might have goin’ on in that region…. (“Hey…yesterday, on Saturday, I just did ‘x’ miles on my bike, and, now, here on Sunday morning,…we just got up, rushed to get everybody ready, and came straight to church….I’ll just slip in here and….oh, no…..O…M….Goodness….don’t scream…..don’t make a sound…(squints hard)….” Later: “Um, honey, aren’t there other churches we could check out….or aren’t there even some we could watch over the internet?”)

      Those obsessed with emulating the first-century church as if the gospels and Acts were 100% prescription and 0% description generally fail to note all the instances of hospitality and taking care of people’s physical needs while they were coming to hear the teaching….always fascinating…..

      • Terry Fulk July 23, 2013 Reply

        love it Trapper

    • Jeorge July 23, 2013 Reply

      Just a thought. Yes the early church didn’t have modern bathrooms, air conditioners, multimedia systems, organs or any thong we have today. But it had what its culture had, and if we are to reach a culture we need to be able to actually enumerate those cultural distinctives.
      Do yourself a favor some day read the building of the tabernacle and look at all the wildly expensive details God instructed Moses to have built and publically placed. I bet it modern restrooms had been an option then we would have great details written how God would want it done.
      I’m probably wrong but I like restrooms that appear as if someone cared. Air conditioners and heater that work, and lighting that allows for the saints to see and be seen.

  • Robin July 23, 2013 Reply

    My wife and I have lived this in every church we have been in since 1995. It seems that we become the ones to redo and change bathrooms. We are just starting the Reno’s on our new assignment and will install new water efficient toilets, granite counter tops with under mount sinks and laminate flooring on the one wall, slate on the floors, and cut stone tiling on the other wall and motion sensitive taps and lights. Go to any fancy restaurant and you will know where our inspiration comes from.

  • Paul Redding July 23, 2013 Reply

    It’s best to have a restroom like a Lowes home improvement store. This keeps out the people who think that church should be like going to a ritzy hotel where they are pampered like good little customers.

  • Melody July 23, 2013 Reply

    To worry about the fanciness of a church’s bathroom while people all around the town and world are in need is pretty disgusting. People who become offended because the TOILET PAPER doesn’t meet their standards have their priorities all out of whack! We go to church to worship God, not have our needs catered to. Money can be better spent on feeding and clothing the needy.

    • Chuck August 5, 2013 Reply

      I think the issue should be both/and not either/or when it comes to how resources are used.

      • Jeorge August 5, 2013 Reply

        Thanks Chuck.

  • davepatchin July 23, 2013 Reply

    As one who is building a facility now, and had the “near” finished ladies room described as a “truck stop” facsimile, I ripped out the sinks, upgraded the counter and faucets. Ie. I paid the plumber to do the work twice and for double the number of sinks and faucets (first ones will be sold on craigslist).


    Cause I believe that the message of the bathroom creates the first impression and is high on the “do I want to come back” list for guests. If the bathroom is poor, you know many other important but not “on stage” items are likely poor.

    Why did I let it be built wrong in the first place? That’s another story involving concerns for ADA compliance and total cost of project…but we got it right in the end. I hope.

    Anyone wanna test out our bathroom?

  • L. Jones July 23, 2013 Reply

    I don’t know. When I go into a church and I see over the top accommodations, it triggers a questions of “Could there be anything unhealthy this church is trying to cover up / overcompensate for?” Example: name brand coffee bar in the foyer, bulletins with that are in the form of books, an actual gym facility , or even the most expensive type of toilet paper. This question comes to mind because I want to know if this church has all of these things because they working towards encouraging their flock in a doctrinal sound manor or are all of these things hype for bragging rights for the lead pastor or so on. We are called as believers to fellowship among each other in order to glorify GOD and to encourage each other in our walks with God. This is why we should be going to church. Yes the bathrooms should be sanitary, and as long as there is plenty of toilet paper available to the guests then that is really all that is necessary. Let’s go to church to be with God and with each other and not focus on these earthly things folks.

  • stevedlongSteve Long July 24, 2013 Reply

    The tabernacle and the bathroom have nothing in common. When Israel was on the move bathroom ‘stuff’ was taken outside the camp (Charmin and all). Tabernacle stuff was a blueprint for future things and it stood at the center of camp as the focal point..If you are going to make something significant in the future you need the best set of blueprints (types and shadows of things to come) that you can get.
    There was no bathroom in the Tabernacle or on the Temple precincts. I am not suggesting that Church buildings go without bathrooms, just that a Church bathroom is a place to meet with toilet paper and the Tabernacle was the place to meet with God.

    It is fair to ask if a fancy bathroom represents good aim at the mission that we have been given. I don’t think that is being too heavenly minded. Perhaps we convey the message that we are a full service congregation at the expense of the truth of the matter being that we are a fully serving church, I recall Jesus’s admonition that there was some sacrifice in following Him and that the Son of Man did not even have a stone for a pillow. Bathrooms should not have a ‘gas station’ appearance. Beyond that may be excess.

    Big picture: As long as people are finding Jesus bathroom fixtures whether fancy or plain are a non-issue. God has let me waste money without complaining to me about it. He knows that I will figure out my carelessness later when crunch time comes.

    • Terry Fulk July 31, 2013 Reply

      Steve – you may want to take into consideration that Jesus allowed a very expensive ointment to be broken and used on his feet. he obviously was concerned about costs and inpressions as well as the souls of men and women. – Terry

  • Ezra July 24, 2013 Reply

    i see what you did there. crap….TP…..

  • Bonnie Smith July 25, 2013 Reply

    Since when do all these MEN know what a Woman needs when it comes to toilet paper? A clean, fresh smelling, attractive environment should not leave ecstasy or disgust after a visit. Comfort and satisfaction will lead to a feeling of acceptance in the visitor.

  • Bob July 31, 2013 Reply

    Only in America

  • stevedlongSteve Long July 31, 2013 Reply

    I am not sure how the act of a woman who saw Jesus as a great good man in her life is an argument for turning a bathroom into a vacation destination.

  • Lynn August 8, 2013 Reply

    I think it would be safe to assume that a church could not be considered “guest friendly” with single ply. Just sayin’…

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