When most people look for a church they start with theology. For some the style or gifts of the preacher are very important. For others it comes to music style and worship. Some just go where their friends go.
Most of us leave out one of the more important criteria, the traffic flow.
I am not referring to the parking lot, although traffic jams in the parking lot can be an issue, especially if you have a tendancy to become very upset when you drive. I am speaking of the traffic flow within the sanctuary. Nothing is worse than not being able to beat the after church lunch rush at Applebee’s because of a traffic jam in the aisle.
Here are types of people who could prove to be a major obstacle in getting to your Sunday afternoon riblet basket.
1. The pew lingerer. With this category its important for me to say that I am not referring to things that smell. This is the person who stands up as soon as church is over and does not move. They remain standing exactly in the same place for an indefinite length of time. If you happen to be in the middle of the pew, then good luck getting out. They will not notice your standing and waiting for them to move. They probably just think enjoy standing there watching them stand, meanwhile the waiting list for a table grows.
2. The door lingerer. Very similar to the pew lingerer but much worse. This is the person who walks to the narrow doorway that exits the sanctuary (or for more relevant people the worship center) and then just stands there. They may find someone to talk to in the doorway. They may decide that now is a good time to read the church bulletin. Sometimes they appear to be doing nothing except standing in the way. This is worse than the lingerer because instead of blocking an aisle, they are blocking the exit to the room and your way of escape.
3. The seat holder. These last two relate to having a good strategy about your seat location. There are just a few people who show up early to church, but some of these will not want to sit down and wait for it to start. Their habit is to place anything they happen to have in their hands in a seat in order to hold their spot. When others come in to find a place it is impossible to discern what seats are still available and you are forced to the middle of a pew instead of the aisle. If you find yourself wondering if the cheeto left in the next to last row is a place holder, then this could be a problem at your church.
4. The late family. Perhaps you have strategized well and found a seat next to the aisle in the back with a clear shot to the door. You have already out-smarted the lingerers by picking a good seat. Sure, it meant you had to move a “seat holders” Bible, but their look of scorn is worth it. Then the late family arrives. As they scuttle in the back of the sanctuary they keep looking for the magical seven unoccupied seats that are right next to each other. These seats never exist fifteen minutes after church starts, but they keep looking. When they finally realize their search is futile you are asked to move and now you are stuck.
Are there people at your church who prevent reasonable traffic flow patterns?
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