People used to call it a narthex. Most people today know it as the lobby. It is the space just outside the worship area—and it’s more important than ever.MeetMeLobby

If your church is older, chances are you have to go up steps and go through a small lobby to get to worship. That’s the way they used to build churches. Some church experts, including myself, believe that few church buildings with steps will be operating in the year 2025. Only a few with a small lobby will exist as well. Why?

Our culture has changed on the issue of fellowship. Have you noticed that the men’s or women’s fellowship group has almost disappeared? Most of those groups that do exist are near extinction, based on the age of those who attend. Today, people network in motion. Another way to say it: they fellowship on the way “to something else.” Rather than go to the church basement for a group gathered for the purpose of fellowship, people greet their friends on the way from the parking lot to the sanctuary and from the sanctuary to the parking lot. That’s why thousands of churches are expanding their lobbies, adding comfortable furniture, and, in some cases, providing a coffee shop.

Focus on these issues:

  1. The way people connect has changed. Provide lobby space and your church will be friendlier.
  2. Is it worth the construction bill? Probably, especially if you can lose the steps too.
  3. Provide flavored coffee, juice, fruit, and bottled water, if you want the younger crowd to linger.
  4. You can’t make too much space. Notice that in newer hospitals, airports, and shopping malls, the hallways are wider.
  5. Make room for comfortable furniture. It is important for ministry!

What effective use of lobby space have you seen in a church? We welcome your comments below.

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter, Facebook, or visit

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