Pews vs. Chairs
Considering whether to purchase pews or chairs for your sanctuary?
1. Fellow church goers can’t sit comfortably and fellowship with one another in chairs like the people are doing in the photograph above. But on the other hand you can seat 10 people on the same pew if needed.
2. Pews are better for prayer! Sure, you can pray seated in a chair, but body language does matter; how we place our bodies influences the way we think and feel, and communicates to others as well. With nice, solid wooden or padded pews, you can rest your hands or arms on the back of the pew in front of you while you pray – not like with chairs, where you have to stay seated (I wouldn’t want to take the risk of accidentally tipping over or bumping someone, by resting my hands on the chair in front of me while I’m praying.)
3. There’s more room – for your stuff. The space between people is perfect for setting down hymnals, bulletins, hymn inserts, and the liturgical booklet to have within easy reach during the service. Plus, it’s really cute to see the little kids sitting on the floor, using the pew seats as tables while they work on the activities in the kids’ worship bulletins. (Also, sleepy little kids can lie down on them.)
4. But most importantly, the biggest reason why pews are much better than chairs is: You can squish more people in. With pews, you can make room – you can scootch over to let one more person in, or two… and with cooperation from the rest of the people in the pew, you can squeeze in an additional three, or four, especially if some of them are little kids. Pews encourage people to share space, but you can’t do that with chairs – a chair is either mine, or it’s not. Sorry, you can’t sit with me! We’re so used to sterility, to not touching each other, that it can be strange to sit so close to someone, especially someone you don’t know. But if we’re brothers and sisters in Christ, shouldn’t we be willing to sit right next to each other, even touch? Instead of finding a sterile, unoccupied chair – not bothering anybody, nobody noticing – being willing to have your brothers and sisters in Christ give up a few inches of seat space here and there so that you can join them. Having everyone scoot over to make a little more room when Mom & Dad come back from the nursery with the kids. Making a little more room for that single person who doesn’t have a family group to come in with. Small things can mean a lot. Is there anything so welcoming, so truly family-like, as to walk into a full church, look around for a seat, and have someone cheerfully wave you over, making room for you? Making room for you in church. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?