By: Greg Snider on October 08, 2020
How to Adapt Your Church Lobby for COVID
church facilities | Relaunch Church | Rapid Relaunch | Design Week
Lobbies are mission critical for churches. This is the primary space where people congregate to connect with others. However, right now, your congregation is unable to have the close-knit interactions that we encourage in lobby spaces, even if you have returned for in-person worship and gathering at your church.
How can you adapt your lobby to maximize space, create a safe environment, and foster connection? Check out our new guide, "10 Ways to Adapt Your Church Lobby for COVID."
In the midst of COVID, how can you adapt your lobby to maximize your space, create a safe environment and foster connection?
Our new PDF guide, “10 Ways to Adapt Your Church Lobby,” offers practical ideas for reconfiguring your lobby in this COVID-19 era.
Here are five tips to get you started:
1. Reset Expectations
Reopening is not going to be the same as the Sunday before you closed. When you regather, you're going to be doing it that way for the first time. How often do we do something for the first time? It’s almost like the first week you started doing worship online. Many churches said it took them about three weeks before the experience was good. They tweaked it and they found a rhythm. You’re going to continue to refine. The same is true with your lobby.
In the midst of reopening, your lobby may feel empty or even broken at first. You can overcome this by avoiding a lights-off, monitors-off, shutdown environment. Maybe guests can’t go sit with friends in front of a monitor but what if the monitors were utilized to provide meaningful messages as people walk through the lobby? You could post messages of hope and encouragement instead of the usual announcements. Consider what your guests need to experience most right now and make simple changes to create energy, hope and life in your lobby.
2. Create Traffic Flow
In order to properly social distance people, you may need to subdivide the lobby or partition it to route people and keep the groups distanced. If you’ve got pipe and drape, put it to work in new ways! This has been an “aha moment” for churches when they realize they have stanchions in their cafe or pipe and drape from the children’s ministry that they can redeploy to create the desired traffic flow.
If your cafe isn’t open right now, that’s okay. Section it off with pipe and drape to create an intentional, streamlined space that is more focused on what guests can use than what they can’t use.
3. Venue Space
This is a time to innovate and find creative ways to use your lobby space. Think about what it could do instead of what it was designed to do. Depending on the size of your lobby, you could use it as a small venue space with plenty of room for distancing.
4. Outdoor Fellowship
While the weather is still mild in many areas of the country, shifting your gathering outdoors offers new possibilities for creating a safe, relational space. As a part of your reopening strategy, consider designating an outdoor lobby-style space. It might be in a courtyard, a rented tent, or a convenient sidewalk area near your worship entrance that allows for plenty of fresh air and social distancing.
One church recently asked, “Is this the death of our doughnuts?” Coffee hour is one of the things people love about their church’s in-person experience. Food and drink are tools of hospitality and engagement. Right now, we’re not sharing meals the way we used to, but this isn’t going to last forever. In the meantime, coffee hour needs to happen differently.
Perhaps the self-serve, free coffee becomes served, free coffee. Or maybe you can send branded travel mugs to homes with a note from the church letting them know you’re looking forward to seeing them again. You could also communicate that you won’t be serving coffee right away, but they can bring their own in their new mug.
Want to go even further? Send a cup with a bag of coffee beans. Churches that are able to host outdoor lobby spaces could offer a grab-and-go coffee table as guests arrive.
Connecting in the Midst of COVID
As you reopen—or prepare to reopen—for in-person worship in this ongoing era of COVID, there are many ways to adapt your lobby to create social distancing and limit person-to-person contact.
Aspen recently announced a new way for churches to make quick facility fixes so you’re ready for this new season of ministry. Rapid Relaunch is a short-term engagement with our design team to solve your most pressing facility needs.
If you need help adapting your lobby quickly, our team of qualified design-build-furnish experts are ready to help! Check out RapidRelaunch.com for more information.
About Greg Snider
Greg Snider joined Aspen Group in 1999. In his role of Ministry Space Strategist, Greg partners with churches to discover how they can maximize their facilities to create space for ministry impact. He has written and presented on the power of connecting space, building churches for community impact, and the hybrid "phygital" church experience.