Poddy Talk

May 23, 2006 by

Earlier this month, a colleague and I toured the facilities of a church in Los Angeles County. The church property was tucked away in a residential area, had decent parking, and had to be at least 40 years old. This church of 1,200 people also houses a small grade school and several large multi-purpose rooms for community events, regular conferences, and a thriving youth ministry. I learned that the building used to be an old Baptist church until this independent church bought it about 15 years ago.

While the building itself is decent, it could certainly use some fixing and finishing here and there. Musty rooms, dimly lit hallways, and several areas in need of space maximization all pointed to a “to-do” list that must be collecting dust with a few deacons.

During the tour we were also shown the restrooms. As the pastor opened the door to the ladies room (it was empty), we stepped into an oasis. Plush walls and carpets, gorgeous faucets, changing rooms, and a spa-like atmosphere gave a new meaning to the word “rest-room.” The men’s room was almost as impressive, but with slightly less floral patterns.

The pastor said they chose to spend a significant amount of money on the restrooms instead of anywhere else in the building because they were convinced that the return on investment would be higher than anywhere else. He’s probably right.

Post By:

Brad Abare


Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it. He and his wife Jamaica live in Los Angeles with their daughter, MirĂ³.
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8 Responses to “Poddy Talk”

  • Todd
    May 23, 2006

    What does “ROI” have to do with restrooms?
    Sounds like a loud of crap to me. (cue rimshot)


  • Todd
    May 23, 2006

    “loud” = “load”


  • Dan
    May 23, 2006

    amazing… but a church I lead through a building project did indeed invest in the women’s restroom as a result of the comments by the women during the design phase… that and the ‘cafe’ were the highlights of the project- still, next time (like there will be a next time) I’d like to see some emphasis on the worship space which in many evangelical facilities is little more then a lecture hall even in it’s multi-purpose manifestation.


  • Paul Nielsen
    May 23, 2006

    Hmmmm . . .
    I’m thinking, “Where’s the budget for visual art?”


  • Matthew Sweet
    May 24, 2006

    Wow, it seems that they have a strong commitment to excellence. Wouldn’t it be a bit confusing though for a first time visitor, stepping out of mediocrity into a beautiful environment. I would ask the same question as Todd, maybe there should be more of an emphasis on the main auditorium. It’s great that they are thinking laterally though! The Macdonalds mantra of clean restrooms will mean that people will choose them over other fast food outlets. Does the same concept apply to churches?


  • Paul Bowman
    May 24, 2006

    Very interesting. I can half see their point. Yeah, nice clean bathrooms are good, but don’t stop there! This reminds me of a current situation at our church, where our older building looks like a disaster and the newer section (sanctuary / offices) is like another world – nicely maintained, well decorated, etc. People don’t realize that most of the people first walk through the old bldg to get to the new side!! So what they first see is a mess! How about some balance!


  • Kevin
    November 18, 2006

    Yeah, balance is the key.


  • Steve Anderson
    December 13, 2006

    Its hard to overdo rest rooms, especially womens rest rooms. I typically advise to double the capacity of womens room over mens.



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