So, you are planting a church? Great, that is awesome, and I applaud you. I love church planters!
During your planning and developing a launch team, I am sure the idea of a portable or permanent venue has come up in your conversation.
This is one of the biggest decisions that you must consider when planting a church.
When our church decided to plant another location in a growing part of the city, we had these same conversations. We chose portable, and it has been a great experience.
Now, we experience some of the same stigmas that come with meeting in a portable facility such as
- It is hard work! Sure, it is. We get together with a team every Saturday afternoon to set up. We tear down after church on Sunday. Setup and tear down takes work, but we look at it as an opportunity to mobilize more volunteers. Our volunteer numbers have grown as a result of this opportunity. Also, if you get the right equipment, it might not take as long as you may think.
- We are not a real church! We get the comments such as “church in a box.” We get it and embrace it. The key is that you are a church. In fact, look at the book of Acts, and many of their churches met in homes. The church is not about buildings, it is about the people.
We embrace these stigmas. We chose portable and worked our way through these stigmas. It has worked for us, and been a great experience for us. An experience that I would not trade for anything!
We went portable, and I want to give you a few reasons why you should consider it as well.
1. Portable churches help you reduce costs
Using a portable facility allows you to reduce your startup costs. It is that simple. Portable facilities are cheaper.
Sure you have to pay for your equipment, but you don’t have large construction costs up front.
I have seen some churches raise money for 5+ years just to purchase a facility to meet in.
Going portable allows you to get into a facility much sooner at a reduced cost which in terms allows you to spend more money on the mission from the beginning.
2. Portable churches are attractive to unchurched people
In my experience, unchurched people enjoy the idea of our church meeting in a portable facility. Many unchurched people struggle to step foot into a church building, but may attend your church if it is in the theater you attend or the school your kids attend.
Many of our people tell me that they enjoy attending our church because it is not in a church building.
Now, before you criticize this point, this is my experience. I understand and recognize that there are many churches out there with buildings who are reaching the unchurched, but in my experience, the unchurched have enjoyed attending our church because it is not in a traditional church facility.
3. Portable churches have flexibility
Portable can be temporary if you need it to be.
The key is that you have a sense of flexibility when you go portable. When you build a million dollar building, it is a commitment, a long-term one that is difficult to get out of if your momentum were to drop.
A portable facility allows you to upgrade or downgrade depending on your current momentum.
4. Portable churches foster strong engagement with the community
One positive is that the school officials at the school that we meet in have attended our church numerous times. This might not have ever happened had we not met in a public facility.
We have had the opportunity to meet numerous needs in our host school and meet many families as a result. This opportunity would not have happened as easily without us using their facility every weekend.
For us, portable church has meant portable offices. This has forced us to have meetings and work out of public places such as Starbucks, Moes (my favorite), Panera, Chick Fil A, or other public spaces.
This has helped our staff and church foster a strong relationship with different businesses in our community.
Look, I am not saying that churches shouldn’t have buildings.
I am just saying that portable facilities have benefits that permanent facilities might not have.
I have seen dying churches with tons of buildings and real estate, and I have experienced fast growing churches in portable environments.
Both can work if the mission is right and at the center. The point I am making is that permanent is not a better solution, it is another solution.
There are actually great reasons why you should consider a portable facility for your church plant.
Join the Conversation
So, what do you think?
Is your church portable or permanent. What are the advantages and disadvantages that you have seen and experienced?