By Dr. Tom McElheny
Your multipurpose room is key to serving ancillary church functions and ministries. With so many possible uses and different needs, organizing the multipurpose room can be a challenge.
Here are some organization and design tips that will help you get the most out of your church hall or multipurpose room.
Consider the Space’s Purpose
Before spending time and money changing everything, think about how your church and community will utilize the space. Some church halls are used as a gathering place for coffee after a service. Other multipurpose spaces might hold concerts, sporting events, carnivals, and more. Decide if you’ll need new technology to support your events, like AV equipment, high-speed Internet, or a scoreboard.
Keep in mind that your congregation’s needs may change as the church continues to develop. A small space that works perfectly now may need an addition in the future.
Make Design Choices That Allow for Flexibility
Maximizing space in your church hall becomes easier when flexibility is incorporated into your planning. Instead of hiring a construction team to erect bleacher seating or dividing walls, incorporate features that are easy to move and store, such as:
- Portable displays
- Folding tables and chairs
- A moveable stage
Divide the Room
If you have a room that’s large enough to easily house multiple groups, make it so they can use the space simultaneously without impeding on each other. When there are too many distractions around a meeting space, groups may be deterred from using it.
Add moveable partitions, so you can break up the room as needed. These moveable walls won’t be soundproof, but you can purchase partitions or flooring that will dampen sound.
Make It Comfortable
With all kinds of meetings and events happening in your church multipurpose room, you never know how many hours people will spend there. In addition to comfortable furniture, make the entire atmosphere pleasant. People may shy away from using a space that gets too hot in the summer or freezing cold in the winter.
The wrong lighting can also make a room uncomfortable. Make sure you can block the windows in the summer or during sunny times of day. Use curtains, blinds, or even room dividers as needed.
If there isn’t enough natural light in your church hall, add strategically placed mirrors or reflective paint that spreads light throughout the room.
Another option is layering your lighting with lamps that offer different shades of light. Combined with your overhead, layered lighting will add another level of versatility to the space.
Consider the Aesthetics
Using light, neutral colors will make a small space feel bigger and less stuffy. And for each separate event, you can easily add decorations that match this color scheme. There isn’t a single color palette that can fit every possible purpose of your multipurpose room.
Organize Church Storage
Are there certain items that are used regularly? Make sure they’re easily accessible, compared to decorations and other equipment you might use once a year. Ideally, storage should be close by if it is not within your multipurpose room. With different groups using the space, you want to make it easy to move things in and out.
If you’re running low on storage space, think outside of the box, whether that means taking storage offsite, looking vertically for more room, or placing equipment under a stage. But removing clutter will help free up space.
Set Up Rules
If there are rules you want to implement, make sure groups are aware of them before they book the space. You might cover:
- The responsibilities of each party
- The types of activities that are allowed
- The number of people permitted in the building
- Insurance coverage
- Procedures if someone is hurt, or if something is broken or stolen
Your multipurpose space won’t be able handle every request you get. Saying no is easier when you have a list of procedures in writing.
Utilize a Booking System
If you only have one designated space or room, you’ll especially need to have a system for booking space. Set up a scheduling system that’s easy for everyone to use, so they can follow the rules and avoid double bookings of the room and resources.
Coordinating different equipment, furniture, and communications is a lot for one person to oversee. But there are various church management systems that can make reserving space an easy process.
We hope that these tips help you maximize your church multipurpose room, so people feel welcome when they use it. A room like this can be a great place to bring people together.
Dr. Tom McElheny has served as an elder and director of Christian education for three Sarasota, Florida, churches, holds advanced degrees in business and education, and is CEO of his company, ChurchPlaza, www.churchplaza.com.