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Why do you put the chairs out?

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So I have seen a few children’s ministry tour/remodelling¬†pictures where there are seemingly amazing facilities filled with beautiful stages, incredible murals on the wall and spectacular entrances and their sitting in the middle of the picture are chairs.

Now first of all I get over the pangs of jealousy generated by the permanent facilities and I realise that of course the room is set up for a photo shoot.

But I have seen it a number of times in photos and videos of weekend services with kids spread all over the room – In the back of the room, in the sides… holes and spaces throughout the crowd.

There is only one reason for this – the chairs are set up before the kids arrive in the room.

Huh?

You mission in life is to help these kids connect with God and with each other and you take one of your tools – seating – and leave it to chance?

Here are three rules of seating I just made up:

  1. Have the same amount of seats as kids
  2. Never have seats set out during praise and worship times
  3. Teach your kids the seating system/plan/fun way of making this tool work for you
Another great tool is bench seating especially for preteens and beanbags etc. etc.
One of the first things I did as a children’s pastor was change the way we setup chairs in our services… there were probably more important things but it’s what I did okay :)

Why do you put the chairs out?

 

Comments

  1. Matt says

    I’m very intrigued with this topic, but I’m not totally sure I understand your point. Could you elaborate on how you set up chairs? Is it done in advance? In an environment which has rows of chairs, we usually have the children fill up the front rows first.

  2. says

    My experience has been with seating children on a much smaller scale. What we have done, though, is set up a number of chairs that we are pretty positive will be filled; then add more when more children come. This encourages the children to sit in a tighter group, which as you alluded to, helps not only the ease of teaching/leading, but helps the sense of community, too.

    When we use our main sanctuary (such as for Vacation Bible School assembly), we designate a number of pews near the front and on one side of the room. Of course, if we had a larger group, that would have to be adjusted! :)

    I am just curious about your idea: do you set up and take down chairs repeatedly in your service? or are you saying that you deal with it differently depending on your purpose in a particular service?

    I think your rule A is great, but I personally disagree with rule B.

  3. says

    Matt/Sheila,

    Thanks for posting comments!

    The overall point is you want to make the best atmosphere possible, so you want to decide where kids will sit.

    This post isn’t so much about what I do, but to get you thinking about what you do.

    But generally we get kids to grab their chairs stacked at the back of our rooms after praise and worship (elementary ages).

    Dave

  4. says

    Why use chairs at all? During big group time I have found that the kids don’t care if there are any chairs at all. One way to control where they sit without the distraction of the chairs, is to tape done large squares and have them sit in one of the squares on the floor. When one is a little too chatty with a friend ask them to move to a different colored square…just a thought.

  5. says

    I completely agree. We have two main kid environments on the weekends for each of our services, neither of which use chairs.

    1. The KZStadium (Elementary) – Since this environment is called the KZStadium we have the kids sit in bleachers (fits the environment). This has it’s pros and cons. A pro being the number of kids that you can fit in the area. And the con being … it’s always cool to sit on the highest seat which means a lot of kids race to the top of the bleachers to sit, which is obviously the farthest seat from the stage.

    2. The KZClubhouse (Pre-School) – In this environment we have the kids sit on foam squares (colored based off the small group rooms they come from). This has proven to be very effective as the kids know to sit and stay on their squares during videos but yet know to get up and dance during praise & worship.

    Curious to hear what others do.

  6. says

    This has been something I’ve thought a lot about lately. I think the kids love it when you just change it up. I’m experimenting with a few seating ideas and last weeks went great. We are a smaller church and only have about 50 kids in one of our serves. So I set out 30 on one side and 30 on the other, and the kids faced each other from across the room. They loved it.

    Whatever you do, just care enough to think about it and don’t be scared to take a risk.

    Great post!

  7. says

    Our team just voted “no chairs” for our wednesday night kid’s club. We meet in the gym and the kids like to run around, play basketball, and toss balls back and forth before the program starts. Not having chairs gives them more room for this. Also, teachers were tired of having kids “fall” out of chairs, tipping chairs back, etc. So, we set up a “cone zone”, and put blankets on the floor (the floor is carpeted). At first, I was skeptical, but it seems to work pretty well and the kids like spreading out a bit.

  8. says

    Hey there

    We run all our kids services with our life groups sitting together in the large group. So rows of chairs doesn’t work for us as a group leader isn’t able to be in an arms lengths of their kids.

    We’ve tried to setup small tables and chairs around it and kids have a space to put their belongings (Bibles, coats etc) and it works most times.

    Chairs help us to keep kids off the floor that tends to get dirty in winter months that we don’t have much time to clean between services. But i do like the colour squares idea. Kids need boundaries :)

    Thanks for the comments.

  9. says

    I have a small space to develop games and competitions, I removed the chairs because my space was limited and because once children entered the lounge chairs all hindered us. I chose to put three mats (carpet) that define the space for them to feel. What do you think? What do you advise me?

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