Mobile churches are churches that have no permanent building but meet in a local venue like a school or community center. Having served on staff in mobile ministry for five years at a church that met at a local high school, I understand the struggle, frustration, and downright difficult task of mobile ministry. But there are aspects of mobile ministry that even churches with a brick-and-mortar building can learn and should adopt.
1) How to leverage resources – As a mobile church, the supplies you use on Sunday are often limited to what you can haul in and out each week. That means you have to get creative in how you store, prepare, and even use resources, and there’s no room for fluff! Renting a space rather than owning a building can also allow churches to leverage their financial resources for their staff and missions rather than the electricity bill. Figure out what your top priorities are and focus on those. Evaluate your supplies and resources, and remove or change any of them that aren’t helping you reach your goal.
2) How to transform a space – Mobile churches have the difficult task of taking an often secular space and transforming it into a place where people can encounter God. The mobile church I worked at met in a local high school, which meant the kids’ area was in the chorus, orchestra, theatre, and ROTC rooms. The kids loved the giant planes hanging from the ceiling in the ROTC room, but we had to get creative with making the orchestra room a safe place for our nursery (giant cellos everywhere). Mobile churches have to think intentionally about their spaces to ensure the best overall experience, so take a cue from mobile churches and constantly examine what your space communicates to the people who attend and visit your church. (Psst – read about three tips for making your space welcoming for kids here).
3) The Church becomes the people and not the place – When you have no building to call your own, the church truly becomes the people and not the place. A greater sense of community forms as members come together to not only attend church but make church happen each week through setting up the space and creating the environment. There’s no better way to bond with someone than by hauling speakers back and forth from the storage closet and crawling around on the floor to set up the nursery. Not only that, but when the senior pastor asks us to come up with a safe and suitable children’s area at the local fairgrounds for a church-wide weekend event, we’re already prepared for the mobility. Too often, we think of the church as the brick-and-mortar building, but it’s always good to remind ourselves that the church is the people, not the steeple.