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Portable church
Every place poses its own unique problems, beginning with how far is your equipment from your place of worship? To prepare best for that task, you will need dollies to move the gear.

Church in A Box: Quick Setup and Teardown Planning

Remember that you are going to grow, and whatever equipment you purchase today will need to work with any new additions down the road.

Whether your church is in a building where you can store your equipment, or you put that equipment in a trailer to haul it home, you can do this no matter your budget.

Keep in mind about the worship experience. Don’t make it a chore for people to come to your church service every week.

First you need a budget.

Then you need to decide what is most important. For example, how big is the space, and if your next space will be portable, and how big it will be.

If you go to a different place every week or you have a dedicated space, you need to figure out what the biggest space will be and use your budget toward that.

If you will be setting up your church in a house, you may not need powered speakers or microphones. The smaller the space, the less you need. Sit down with your key people and start to make a list of what you potentially need. Then continue to add and subtract items, until you get to those things which you deem are absolutely necessary. 

Look at that list you created, and then look at your storage space. You can make your purchase list from this.

Another very important factor is how complicated the setup will be and the running of your equipment. You need select equipment that any of your church staff and volunteers can run. You don’t want to end up being the only person who can set up the equipment at each and every turn.

Don’t discount that the more complicated the setup, the longer it will take to set up and take down.

Keep in mind about the worship experience. Don’t make it a chore for people to come to your church service every week.

Remember that you are going to grow, and whatever equipment you purchase today will need to work with any new additions down the road.

Short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals are necessary to keep costs and ease of use in line, with your budget, and your volunteers. Put in place a few key volunteers who can work with the more complicated items within your setup. Make sure to train others to do these things, because there is always a chance that someone will get sick or transferred.

Making a good plan is your best bet for ease of use.

Break down in the plan how to load, unload, and set up successfully every week. Some things need to be taken out and set up first, so these need to be the most accessible.

Once you have a plan, write it down and map it out. If someone gets there first and decides to start helping, make sure they know the plan. And as you grow, you need to train and update your plan.

The same goes when adding new equipment. It also needs to be added to the plan and mapped out.

Having done several church plants, two were in homes and another in a library, to go with one at a high school. Every place poses its own unique problems, beginning with how far is your equipment from your place of worship? To prepare best for that task, you will need dollies to move the gear. Did the place where you are storing them, end up using them, only to put them away somewhere else? If so, you need to have a contact handy, so that you can get access to your equipment quickly when needed.

Make sure to be ready and tested before service or any practice, in a manner where everything is set up, tested, and fixed before. I say fixed, because you need to budget time to work out issues that might arise, and make sure to have a few extra pieces of equipment available, i.e., microphone cables, if necessary.

When compiling a list of needed gear, there are many such lists available online, for the equipment you will need. Yours will go through many iterations, before you arrive at a final list.

After purchasing your needed gear, do a few trial runs, and make sure that your list and map work out the way that you had imagined. Things do not always go according to plan, and you will need to make changes along the way.

Also, be ready for the unexpected. That does not mean that you have two of everything but imagine what could happen and tweak your plan to rectify that possible situation.

As you look to finalize your plan, remember things like child care, parking, youth program, coffee, etc. Go to a few churches and list everything that they do. As you visit other churches, observe and ask questions about what has value, and what they are doing well.

Be bold. In the beginning, let everyone know that things will change, because of your growth as a body, and for them to not be offended, if something that they like, ends up being something that is changed.

This brings me to the most important piece of this process. The volunteers in the beginning of any new changes will often end up being overworked. Someone needs to make sure that they are not being undervalued, and that they are recognized as your most important asset.

Take care of your volunteers at all costs. They are the body of your church. You need to talk to them regularly and value them.

In the midst of any changes, anticipate that there will be issues, and that you will very likely have to endure some compromises. Acknowledge that you will need to be flexible.  For example, if you don’t have the budget for a projector, you can print out the songs each week and pass them out and then collect them for reuse.  

There is always a work around.

The bottom line is that this is all for worship.

One day, you will find that nothing will work, and the pastor will go without a mic and that there are no words on the screen.

It will all be OK. The Spirit will set upon your hearts, and it will work out.

Plan, trust and take care of your volunteers.

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