Worship Center Renovation


Why do we need new seating in the sanctuary?
For 150 years First Baptist Wylie has made room for more people.  Given the expanded education space in the adult and children areas, worship attendance has grown.  During our peak worship hours at 9:30 am and 11:00 am on Sunday, the sanctuary is approximately 80 percent full on a normal weekend.  Research show that sanctuaries at more than 70 percent capacity can discourage visitors from attending.  Auditorium seating allows us to increase seating capacity by 550 seats or nearly 60%. 

In addition, the pews are in poor condition. They need refinished and recovered. Auditorium seating is the most cost-effective way to not only increase capacity but to make the necessary aesthetic improvements.

Why can’t we add more pews or increase capacity another way?
Fire code dictates the seating footprint.  So we are not permitted to add more rows of pews in our present sanctuary.  We could add a balcony or engage a larger scale sanctuary renovation, but that would cost millions of dollars.  The auditorium seats will occupy the exact same footprint as the pews, and we believe are the best way to steward the space we already have and the gifts generously given to the church.

Why was the decision to replace the pews with auditorium seating not brought to a church vote?
Furniture is not a votable item as is the case with any contract or commitment less than 5% of the church annual budget. The Finance Team was properly involved in the decision and voted unanimously to approve and fund the project.

When will the pews be removed?
The pews will be removed on December 26th. The sanctuary will be closed for renovation between December 26 through January 11.  Services on the weekends of December 29/30 and January 5/6 will be held in the Event Center Event Hall.  Normal scheduled services will resume in the sanctuary on January 12/13. 

What will happen to the pews?
Some pews may be saved and refinished for the Chapel if we can find a cost-effective way to do so.

The remaining pews will be available on a first come first serve basis on December 26 to anyone who wants one. You must make arrangements to pick up and remove your pew on December 26.  We have no way to store them and they will be permanently removed from the church campus on the following day.   

How wide are the seats?
The seats will vary in width, between 20 and 24 inches. Most seats will contain armrests, but there will be rows of seats without arm rests to accommodate those who would find a less confined space more comfortable. 

Won’t it be crowded and difficult for people to pass through from the middle of a row to the aisle?
The seats will collapse when you stand providing greater clearance than pews. Approximately 18 inches will be between the arm rest to the back of the next seat.  For seats without arm rests, the clearance is closer to 36 inches.

What about wheel chair accessibility?
We will now have designated wheel chair spaces that fit within the floorplan, clearing the aisles and making it comfortable to sit among the rest of the congregation.

What is the cost of the auditorium seating?
Auditorium seating by Sauder Worship Seating, who has been designing worship centers since 1945, totals $249,026.76. Go to sauderworship.com to learn about the design and quality we will soon get to enjoy.

How will the project cost be funded?
Insurance dollars held in escrow from the 2016 hail storm claim of $150,000 plus surplus dollars from the 2017-18 budget will fund the project.

Please email us at  with additional questions.