By design, the church foyer (also called the “vestibule,” “entrance,” or “lobby”) is one of the first places we see when we enter a church building. For that reason, it should be warm, inviting, and welcoming. Instead, I’ve seen these kinds of foyers in too many churches:
- New York Subway Station – This foyer is just too crowded. There are too many people trying to use it, perhaps because some people are trying to leave while others are trying to enter the building. In any case, it’s so uncomfortable that the crowds won’t last long.
- Memorial Hall – It’s classy, but you dare not touch any of it. The furniture is ornate. Regal, even. In fact, a significant church family donated the funds to buy the furnishings and the paintings. This hall is a shrine, not a foyer.
- Entrance Funnel – It’s just too small. People enter the front door, only to find themselves squeezed and funneled into a little area that bottlenecks the whole process. Hold your breath and push, though, and you can make your way into the worship center.
- Funeral Home Parlor – It’s quiet. Lining the walls are high back chairs and claw foot couches – you know, the kind you find in the funeral home down the street. People whisper more than talk, and the grandfather clock chimes on the hour. The only thing missing is the casket in the back of the room.
- Back Alley Passageway – The lights are few; the place is dark. Signs on the walls and bulletin boards are long irrelevant. The carpet is old, and the building has an odor. It’s almost spooky, actually.
- Metroplex Cinema – It’s state of the art – so much so that the several video screens on the wall show you everything taking place around the building. The sounds of music over the audio system, voices on the video screens, and computerized check-in systems are almost overwhelming. The “feel” is sometimes almost carnival-like.
- Ghost-town Entry – The structures are there, including an entrance sign and a welcome center. What’s not there are any live human beings to welcome anyone. They’ve all moved on to the worship service or their small group, leaving no one to greet others.
- Thomas Edison Museum – That’s the only way to describe the vestibule with light fixtures that look like they date to the late 19th century.
Do any of these describe your church’s entranceway? For more thoughts about problems in church foyers, see my post here.