Traffic flow can greatly influence how a ministry functions. Here are four keys to developing a parking lot plan to ensure a safe, timely and engaging welcome.
Gary Zandstra · December 13, 2016
At an earlier point in my life I was on staff at a large church that at the time held 5 services on a Sunday. Three in the morning and two at night.
Particularly in the morning we had huge traffic flow issues. If the first or second service went over in time by more than 5 minutes our parking lot would literally fall apart.
For that season our parking lot dictated a lot of our ministry, most notably the time element of ministry.
As I look back we did a number of good things to help minimize the problem, but it wasn’t until we expanded our sanctuary and parking area that we could really relax and not feel pressured to push people out right after the service was done. I am sure this took a toll on the amount and quality of fellowship that normally occurred before and after the service.
Note that traffic flow and parking does not just impact a large church, but a church of any size. How it is handled at every church leads to many perceptions that people form.
Why does parking and traffic flow matter?
When I visit different churches as I do 30 or so times a year, my first impression after seeing what the facility looks like is the parking lot and traffic lanes.
I usually have an immediate insight into a number of things about the church and its ministry based on what I see. If the parking lot is full, I begin looking for clues as to how to navigate to find a spot to park. If the lot is empty or sparsely filled I wonder if I am in the right place, or if the person that invited me inflated the number of people that attend on a given weekend.
Now I am going to make a bold statement.
Every church should have at least one parking attendant and yes they should be wearing a safety vest.
Why would I make such a statement?
Surveys say that the average church on a Sunday morning has 186 people in attendance. Additionally, 50 percent of church goers attend a church that falls in to the top 10 percent of churches based on size.