Church Chairs Influencing Church Attendance One Seat at a Time

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ChurchAre quality church chairs simply furniture to sit on? If you put it that way, then you’re only seeing a fraction of their entire role and significance.

Over the years, studies have established the link between church attendance and comfort of church-goers. Quality of the church pews and seats are only among several factors that may be affecting the number of people attending weekly services. There must also be enough pews to accommodate the average number of churchgoers. Otherwise, it may mean holding more services to meet the demands of larger congregations.

The 80 Percent Rule

To understand the importance of comfortable church seating in religious services, congregations look to a popular rule of thumb called the 80 percent rule that dictates the need for expansion once attendance reaches 80 percent of present capacity. According to church growth consultant Jim Moss, the rule has been a subject of misconception for many years. It doesn’t refer to one particular Sunday attendance reaching 80 percent of the total capacity of the church, but rather the “annual average attendance compared to the comfortable seating capacity.”

However, this rule has started to lose its validity and, with it, its applicability. For example, the Red Ridge United Methodist Church in Alabama is currently supporting expansion and remodeling of the church for a more comfortable service. This is in response to their apparent inability to provide churchgoers with sufficient personal seating space.


The church used 22-inch seating (comfortable capacity ranges from 21 to 36 inches per person) for its average weekly attendance of 138 (based on data from 2009-2011). The overall comfortable capacity for the church’s pews was 3,393 inches, and 80 percent of that is 2,714 inches. However, 138 multiplied with 22 inches equals 3,036 inches—322 inches more than 2,714 and proof that the 80 percent rule understates the real needs.

More Chairs Or More Services?

Adding more services can resolve the seating issue to some extent; but some churches aren’t keen on the idea as it would mean incurring more costs to maintain the expanded schedule. Providing more seats for a larger number of attendees, on the other hand, entails a one-time expenditure.

Investment in expansion and remodeling will most likely have long-term benefits, especially for those on a tight budget. Who would’ve thought that investing in more chairs from Covenant Church Furniture bears a significant weight in church attendance?

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