3 Reasons to Say “No” to Tables…and Couches…and Pianos

Recently I heard a woman say, “I wish my Sunday School room had tables to we could set our coffee cups on it.” While I understand the challenge of juggling coffee while you’re holding a Bible in your lap, the last thing your classroom needs are tables. Or pianos. Or couches. Here are three reasons why those kinds of things are a bad move for your group:

  1. Education space is too expensive to waste it. Exactly how much money is one square foot of space worth to your Bible teaching ministry? LifeWay training specialist Wayne Poling recently asked that question of a group of church leaders in Sacramento, California. He’d laid a one foot square foam board on each table in the room, then asked participants at a conference to decide just how valuable one square foot of space is. The church leaders determined that new construction prices could range anywhere between $100-$150 a foot depending on the community.If your church has become a holding tank for donated pianos and worn-out couches (those always find their way to the youth classrooms!), it’s costing you a lot of money! Case in point:
    • A donated couch used in a student ministry classroom takes up about 15 square feet. At couch$100 a foot, that’s $1500 for every classroom that has a couch in it! Ouch.
    • Pianos have a similar cost, somewhere between the two examples above. The education space your church built is just too expensive to allow these kinds of objects to occupy that much space. It’s better to remove them from classrooms and add more chairs. Maximize your space and maximize the number of people who can actually attend a Bible study.
    • Every round table in an adult classroom takes up 19 square feet. If a classroom holds four round tables (60″ diameter), those tables chew up $7600 worth of education space (assuming $100 per square foot – and that’s on the low end).
  2. Teaching methods are limited. If you have a room full of tables (or other big items) your space for being creative is diminished. To maximize the ways you can teach, you need space.
  3. Reaching people is the goal. The more space you have, the more people you can reach. Our challenge is to “Go and make disciples…” If anything like furniture prevents you from putting more chairs in rooms so you can reach more people, jettison it. Keep the main thing the main thing.


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