The time before and after worship is crucial to your spiritual growth.
The auditorium is where we spend time worshipping God, and the lobby is where we build relationships with people.
The call of faith is to love God and love other people. The Church building is designed to help you in both of those endeavors.
There is only one drawback to this system. It requires that people be willing to show up early or stay late. A person must be present in the lobby and have time to shake hands, talk, listen and pray. Often these conversations require people to step into another room so they can have time to cry, pray together and share from the depths of their souls. Other times these interactions are carried over to lunch, where people enjoy fellowship over a meal.
My encouragement to anyone who wants the Church to feel like an extended family is to plan an extra hour every Sunday. Give yourself free time so that you can connect with the other people who attend worship each week. The relationships you start there can grow to be the ones that help guide your life of faith.
Most Church lobbies are too small, including ours, but their impact is anything but insignificant. Numerous great friendships have started with a simple handshake and asking, “What is your name?”