What Happens Here

  • Parking and entrance access
  • Greeting visitors
  • Informal pre-function gathering
  • Informal seating
  • Information and literature displays
  • Welcome, registration and information centers
  • Directional signage
  • Cafés
  • Bookstores
  • Public meeting rooms
  • Restrooms

What to Look For

  • Is the entrance clearly visible from parking areas?
  • Is the lobby large enough for anticipated crowds>
  • What will be the likely effect of inclement weather on the use of the entrance and lobby?  Are provisions for coats and umbrellas adequate?  Are walk-off mats provided?
  • Once inside, is it easy to understand where to go and what to do?

Why It Matters

The lobby is a place of transition between inside and outside and a place of preparation for worship or other activities.  As such, its role is both  practical and symbolic.


In medieval churches the narthex, or lobby of the church, was where donations were received and food or clothing distributed to the poor.  Confessions were heard here, so that worshippers would be spiritually “clean” before they entered worship.  In short, this is where the church met the world.

As recently as a decade ago, churches allocated no more than 1 or 2 square feet per sanctuary seat to the lobby.  To allow informal interaction that should be the hallmark of a church body, 6 to 8 square feet per seat is appropriate.  The large space can be used for meals and meetings.

Room x Room posts are brief examinations of the nature, purpose and potential of typical spaces used in ministry. The intent is to help users see and consider how each component contributes to (or hinders) the ministry it serves.