Creating an inviting church entrance

Most churches today would say that they want guests to feel welcome. Apart from the smiling greeter at the front door, how else do guests feel welcome? Architecture speaks. Not verbally, of course, but the entrance to your building is the first point of contact for your visitors. What will it say to them?

Your building says ‘Welcome’

The elements of architecture need to be considered carefully so the material quality of walls, floors, ceilings, doors and windows work together to express the idea of “welcome”.

Where does an entrance begin?

While we generally equate the word “entrance” with “door”, the actual idea of entrance actually begins much farther away, at the parking lot. This is where your visitor first perceives the entrance. “That’s where I need to go”. Why not make it easy for them? Let the entrance be prominent: a distinctive roof line, a change of colour, proper signage. Make the path easy to follow, well lit, and wide enough for at least two people to walk side by side.

Inviting guests elegantly…

The act of entering should not be too abrupt in order to give your guests time to transition from outside to inside, from here to there, to make the necessary adjustments in their minds. A short distance before the entrance, give them a signal that they are approaching the entrance: a change in ground materials, maybe a canopy overhead, a change in landscaping. Something to say “You’re almost there”.

…and gracefully

As guests approach, allow them to see inside. Transparency is both physical and metaphorical: it allows them to form a connection between outside and inside.

Your visitor is now at the door, ready to Enter. As they extend their hand to the door, make it a special moment. Make the handle warm and easy to grasp so a guest can pull open the door in one smooth arc. And, as they finally step inside…

Ahh, I’ve been waiting for you! Welcome!”

For more information about making your entrance welcome, contact David Parker or Kelly Seminoff at


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