One Sign of a healthy growing church is a congregation
slow to go home. Visiting with old friends and greeting
new ones usually takes place in the area just outside the
sanctuary – IN THE FOYER. Therefore, we believe the
foyer can be called the heart of the church. The foyer
plays a big part in making visitors feel welcome. In
small foyers people feel crowded and will rush to get
out, prohibiting members from meeting them.
Churches are built for people. It is our job at STEPHENS &
BALDRIDGE ARCHITECTS to design them in such a way that
people will feel welcome and comfortable and want to return.
We must eliminate any barriers, whether visible or invisible,
that might keep visitors away. Let’s look at the foyer and
surrounding areas of the church to see how we can make
Areas associated with the foyer, such as the entrance
make the first and maybe, most lasting impression. As
visitors drive into the parking lot, handicapped parking
signs and a carport shows them that the church cares
about them. It tells them the church wants to protect
them from inclement weather as they exit the car and
enter the foyer. The carport should have adequate
allowance for buses, vans, and trucks. When visitors see
the barrier free entryway, they will realize that this
church is a church that welcomes all people.
Coat racks seem like a small item but are a true
necessity. They should be near the entryway, easy to
find. They need to be out of the way, but open, to allow
good circulation. Ideally, they are out of view of the
entry doors. In some high crime areas isolated coat
check rooms are needed.
Rooms must be clearly labeled to eliminate any
embarrassment to our visitors who might become lost.
The sanctuary should be clearly visible from the foyer,
nursery and restroom areas.
In the foyer, the information center can be a major point
of interest or it can be an eye sore. To the visitor, it is
the best source of information available at a quick
glance. A bright eye catching, inspirational, informative
information center can make a visitor feel welcome
without any words being spoken. On the other hand, a
bare unkept center gives the impression of not much
happening or an uncaring attitude toward the church.
Bulletin boards in the foyer serve as a point of
information, and reminders to the members. It gives the
visitor an idea of what is happening in the life of the
church. Suggestions for bulletin boards are:
[ ] Church activities: the time and description of the
event. Pictures from the same activity that happened
last year encourages attendance again. They also
bring plenty of smiles and warm memories.
[ ] A clearly drawn and labeled layout of the church
building will quickly show people where certain
rooms are. It can show where the person is now so
he can decide how to get to where he wants to go.
[ ] Pictures of parishioners: It is easy to remember
faces but hard to remember which names go with the
faces we have met. This is a clever way of putting
names with faces. Everyone enjoys seeing friends in
print on a bulletin board. Many churches also
include photos of missionaries that they support.
[ ] Past events, mission trips, church colleges,
certificates, awards, memorials, and more, can be
attractively displayed on bulletin boards. Some
churches have electronic information boards flashing
Whatever the congregation decides to do here is okay.
The key is color and keeping it current, neat and
If the church is large enough, an atrium can enhance the
area beautifully. An atrium is usually located in the
center of the foyer. It is several stories high and is most
often surrounded with lots of glass. A Biblical garden,
containing plants mentioned in the Bible may circle the
atrium. Mirrors on the walls and ceilings reflect the lush
interior, giving the garden, or other interior design, an
added dimension. A small waterfall and/or inspirational
artifacts, such as sculptures and paintings, add to the
overall effect. An atrium provides an unusual and
interesting meeting area or lounge for small groups.
The foyer is a transition space from the outside noisy
world into the sanctuary. An inner foyer, or narthex
with subdued lighting will help in preparing worshippers
as they enter the sanctuary. A foyer can also be used as
overflow space, if ample room is provided. P.A.
speakers will be necessary then, as well as glass panels
or closed circuit TV to see the sanctuary.
Ushers and greeters work in the foyer area. This is an
excellent place for storage of their supplies, either in
attractive cabinets or in adjoining closets or rooms. It is
nice to have a comfortable place to sit in the foyer while
waiting for a ride home. Having a vestibule leading into
the foyer cuts down outside air and noises.
The foyer has many important functions. It welcomes
new and old friends, informs us of what’s happening and
where, helps prepare us for our worship service, and
finally bids us farewell as we leave. Truly, the foyer can
be called the heart of the church.