I didn’t think I’d ever be writing a blog post on this topic, but here goes. In our church consulting work, our teams have seen recurrent problems with church restrooms. Here are some of the most common ones we’ve seen.
- No directional signage. How do I best say this? When you need to go, signs that clearly point the way to the restroom are welcomed. We’ve been in some churches where you need a map to find the toilets.
- Too small. When you cannot physically turn around in the room, it’s too small. If you have to wait in line to relieve yourself, your church probably needs more restrooms.
- No handicapped accessibility. Not providing accessibility for those with disabilities is to say that (1) we haven’t thought about you; (2) we’re not expecting you, and perhaps (3) we don’t care that much about you.
- Really bad decorating. I know this issue is a matter of taste, but we’ve seen pictures and floral arrangements in restrooms that no one would ever accept in his home. Sometimes the restroom feels like a storage closet that just happens to have toilets and a sink.
- Depleted supplies. This problem often occurs in churches with multiple services. By the time the later services occur, the soap is gone. The toilet paper in the stall has been reduced to the cardboard roll. The only paper towels in the room are the ones discarded in the garbage can after previous services.
- Overflowing garbage cans. Like #5 above, this problem is sometimes related to multiple services. If nobody checks the cans between services, it’s easy for the garbage to overflow the can.
- Rusted stall partitions. Stall partitions begin to rust particularly at the bottom, and apparently no one chooses to deal with the issue until the rust has taken over much of the partition.
- No baby changing station, particularly in the men’s room. In preparation for God’s bringing young couples to your church, make it easier for them to change diapers. Even if the changing station isn’t used much now, it signifies that the church wants to reach younger couples.
- No obvious access to a plunger. Few events are as embarrassing as clogging a toilet until it overflows, with no help available. A member facing this issue should not have to find someone else to take care of the problem.
- Toilets not flushing. When this problem happens, it’s usually noticeable as soon as you enter the restroom. The problem is that most members would not know whom to contact to fix the problem – so it remains.
- No stepstools for children. If children cannot reach the urinal, the sink, or the paper towels, the room becomes of little use to them. Even when adults are with the children, the kids often want to wash and dry their hands on their own.
- No place for Bibles, iPads, coats, etc. Our teams have often seen shelves for this purpose in the women’s restroom, but not in the men’s (in fact, the women’s restroom is almost always nicer than the men’s). The men, however, also need such a shelf in their restroom.
Guests who visit your church are likely to evaluate your facility on the basis of what they see: the foyer, the worship center, and the restrooms. So, the bathroom matters.
What other problems would you add?