Just when you thought the days of the family-sponsored pew were over, COVID-19 has completely changed the way we do church. Now, most members are required to reserve their seats in order to attend a church service. In parts of the country where the virus isn’t running rampant and indoor events are allowed, most organizations must ensure social distance and 25 or 50 percent capacity per state orders. To do this effectively, churches must use a managed church seating software program to make sure they won’t have too many people attending their services. ChurchReserve (listed below) is just one option that was created by recently laid off Christian software developers. There’s nothing quite like a pandemic to spark creativity and fill a need.

Below are eight options for managed church seating at worship services:

#1 – Bushfire

Bushfire offers a robust ticketing system, flexible registrations, capacity management, online experience, and a mobile app. This app also makes social distancing easier, using the assigned seat ticketing tool, you can now automatically socially distance seats.

Cost: Ranges from $79 a month for an average weekly attendance of 250 up to $299 a month for an average weekly attendance of 2,000.  Custom quotes can be made for churches over 2,000. 

#2 – ChurchReserve

ChurchReserve provides an easy way for church staff to manage capacity limits and social distancing in their services and events. To use ChurchReserve to its fullest potential, each meeting space will need a custom seating map, but you can use ChurchReserve without one. Using ChurchReserve.com’s flexible reservation types, church staff can create services that are tailored to their church’s needs. Church staff can share their services by using a unique link for each individual service or publish your church’s unique ChurchReserve URL that lists see all your upcoming services. ChurchReserve can be configured to automatically social-distance seating and church staff can change or remove seating requests as they happen in real-time. Staff can also see a list of all the guests who have joined a service in the past and a separate list of guests for each service.

Cost: Pricing based on church size. Ranges from $30 a month with up to 400 attendees per week to $140 a month for up to 2000 attendees per week. Custom quotes can be given for churches that exceed that size. 

#3 – Eventbrite 

Eventbrite is free to use for free events that allow you to run, promote, and track your event from a mobile device. With a Professional or Premium option, you can host the ticket sales on your own site. No “reserve a seat” or assigned seating options.

Cost: Free

#4 – Google Forms

Google Forms are fairly easy and totally free to use. These forms can be embedded into a church app or website but don’t allow you to pick specific seats or automatically manage capacity. This form is helpful if your county or state isn’t requiring specifically assigned seats, just a headcount.

Cost: Free

#5 – Gracesoft 

This church reservation system allows congregants to register online and know they will not be turned away at the entrance. Administration can set capacity limits for each service and send instant emails or texts to registered users. 

Cost: The price ranges from a basic plan for 200 members at $59 a month to a premium plan for 500+ members at $149 a month. 

#6 – Planning Pod 

Planning Pod is event planning software that allows you to manage the entire event planning process. This software handles event management planning for large venues such as weddings, festivals, and church services. This software allows for event registration tracking, customized registration, and collection of attendee details and information. It includes social media and website integrations for event marketing. Online event design tools give you the ability to create floor plans and customize room boundaries. Attendee management allows for registration and questionnaire response tracking, assigned seating chart creation, and attendee check-in app with a QR code scanner. Spans a wide variety of tools, features, and functions in order to find the solutions that meet your needs. 

Cost: Pricing starts at $19 a month for planning 2 events at a time to $69 a month that will allow for up to 25 events to be planned at a time. 

#7 – Thundertix.com 

Thundertix is made to help members of your congregation feel as safe with managed church seating in your sanctuary. Offers three ways to easily manage the safety of your congregation with online seat reservations and managed capacities per service.

Cost: Can manage by seating charts, seats by section, or capacity per service and the price ranges from $.65/ticket and $65 a month to $2.50 ticket and $350 a month. 

#8 – reopen.church 

Reopen.church helps churches reopen safely in the age of the coronavirus by providing a simple (and free) registration form that distributes people across multiple services and rooms. 

Cost: FREE. They want to help people find and follow Jesus. Helping people gather safely in person is a part of that mission.