Church seating doesn't have to be one of a church's most costly expenses, though it is among the most important features, giving people a place to sit back and enjoy worship. Most believe that this is the single biggest expense - beyond the actual building - that a congregation incurs. Typically, churches need chairs everywhere, in the foyer, the offices, the worship center, the chapel, the classrooms, and the list goes on! A church committee looking for reasonable seating options should consider buying used church seating. It is more affordable and can give each room of the building a personality of its own!
Begin by locating churches in the surrounding area to determine which are building or renovating their worship centers. If a congregation is replacing individual chairs with theater seating, committees might acquire enough chairs for all of the Sunday School classrooms. If the other congregation is replacing their pews, integrate their used pews into the decor of the new chapel. Church seating that is no longer desirable for one purpose may become a wonderful blessing for another objective!
Another alternative to buying used pieces is to purchase seating from an auditorium, a convention center, a hotel, a theater, or even a ballpark. The youth group would think it was "way cool" if the church seating in their youth wing came from their favorite college stadium. Sunday school classes that implement lecture style lessons might love to lounge in old theatre seats. One could even incorporate rustic wooden pews with modern wrought iron to add an elegant look to a new atrium. The creative possibilities are endless.
If the possibility of utilizing used pieces seems like a good idea, but there is little or no time to search for it, buy from one of many great companies that distributes new and used church seating. Often, these companies will refinish, reupholster, and re-cushion. There may be a company that offers unbeatable discount prices for used furniture but does not refurbish or refinish. Committees can keep in mind that there are businesses that specialize in giving old furniture the TLC it needs to look brand new!
When in the market for new seats, it may also be time to relinquish what is currently being used in the sanctuary. Consider selling used church seating to a furniture resale company or auction off this furniture to church members as a fundraiser. Committees could also advertise in the newspaper so that other churches have the opportunity to buy. So often we forget that our "trash" really is another man's treasure. "And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of the salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure." (Isaiah 33:6) By making the decision to sell pieces in the current building or purchasing another congregation's furniture, prayers can be answered on many different levels!