Chances are, the biggest and most memorable events you’ve been to in your life have happened in a set up/tear down venue: Concerts, conferences, weddings, parties, graduations.
The majority of these events now happen in rented facilities—stadiums, arenas, tents, convention centers or a beach, park or field in the case of many weddings today.
Virtually no artist owns their own concert facility and makes fans fly to their venue to watch them play.
Imagine having to fly to the “Coldplay facility” in England to watch them play.
No, the bands you love most come to you, rent a facility, set up the show and then move to the next town.
It’s also quite amazing to see what can be done in a portable environment.
One of the biggest shows in history was the last U2 tour—the 360˚tour was an unbelievably elaborate set that is hard to believe could be done on the road. On a more personal scale, chances are you will attend a college graduation in a tent or a wedding of someone you love deeply on a beach, in a garden or field, in a restaurant or on a farm.
So here’s the question: If the biggest and most meaningful gatherings on the planet are portable, why doesn’t the church make portable church a permanent part of the future?
Almost every church starts portable. But few want to stay there.
Because there’s a stigma attached to being portable. People think you’re not a “real church.” Set up and tear down is hard work. It feels temporary, not permanent.
Can we rethink that? It’s not that people think you’re not a real church; some Christians think you’re not a real church. Set up and tear down is hard work when you’re not organized or don’t have bought-in volunteers; when you do, it’s sustainable. Maybe it only feels temporary because the idea is fairly new to church world.
At Connexus, we’ve been doing set up and tear down for over five years and have discovered, to our surprise, that it’s a great way to do church for unchurched people. In fact, last year, we decided that portable church would be a permanent part of our future.
While we are looking to find a larger facility that would function as a hub to which we have 24/7 access, weekend venues that are portable make sense for us for numerous reasons.