A church pew

When most people think of a church, the first thing that comes to mind is the rows of pews lining the church cathedral. Most people closely associate pews with churches because they’ve been the traditional church furniture for hundreds of years. However, in today’s times there have been numerous changes in church design.

Surveys show that an estimated 85% of new church seat purchases are upholstered and stackable metal chairs. Churches prefer seats over pews because of their multi-purpose function, rendering the memory of pews in a church obsolete as time elapses.

Chairs or Pews?

Depending on the demographics of your church and its physical space, you may want to decide between chairs and pews. Although chairs are becoming more common today, pews still occupy their place in a church. You must consider numerous factors when deciding the seating for your church. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Seating Capacity

Most standard pews take up 24 inches of lineal seating space, whereas the typical steel chair only takes 20 inches of seating space. Thus, chairs are a more efficient use of space, particularly for churches with limited space. Moreover, determining the seating space utilized by a pew is a complex task, whereas a chair seats one person. If you want to determine the exact seating capacity of your church building, chairs may be a more viable option.


If you’re looking to preserve costs, chairs might be a more suitable option for you. You can typically source most chairs for $20-$30, whereas the average pew costs over $65. Chairs can be a more cost-effective way to seat your church members depending on the type of chair your church desires. Some stackable chairs can cost in excess of $140 per chair.

Personal Space

Most people value their personal space, and pews abundantly offer that. They also provide more spacious seating. In addition, most people have favorable perceptions of pews because they allow people to spread out more comfortably. On the other hand, chairs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending on the chair you select, there could be ample room, or church members could feel constrained.


Many churches are moving away from solely focusing on Sunday service. Instead, they picture their church building being a multi-purpose facility, hosting community events and weddings. Therefore, if you plan to use your church building for mixed purposes, pews might not offer you the same versatility as chairs.

Chairs allow you to flexibly configure the space to your needs since they’re easy to move around. If your church plans to host a children’s fair, it can easily do so with chairs. However, pews don’t provide the same degree of flexibility. Although you can still host events with pews, the seating arrangement is a limiting factor and can’t adjust the cathedral’s configuration to your needs.

Appealing to Younger Families

One of the most significant areas of concern for churches is declining attendance rates among young people. Millennials, in particular, are becoming disillusioned with the church and refrain from attending church services. If you want to appeal to younger families and adults, pews might not be the most suitable option. The younger generation values independence, and unlike pews, chair seating offers them room and personal space that they don’t have to share with others.

Chair seating in a church

Protecting Your Church Property

Regardless of whether you opt for pews or chairs, protecting church property is vital. Opting for church insurance from a reputed church insurance agent can help you prevent liabilities and lawsuits. A chair might break during an event, causing bodily harm to one of the guests. In such an instance, the church can face litigation, which can spell the end for your ministry. Therefore, having a comprehensive church policy covering church property insurance and church liability insurance can protect you.

Integrity Now Insurance Brokers is a church insurance company in California. We provide churches with the most comprehensive church insurance coverage plans at cost-effective prices.

Contact us to learn more about how church insurance can safeguard your ministry.

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