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7 Benefits of Being a Mobile Church

Were it not for the idea of the “mobile church,” the number of Christian congregations in the United States would be significantly diminished. I don’t know the current stats, but mobile churches are everywhere. In our town, there are at least two churches (including the one I pastor) that rent local school facilities, and several others (especially Spanish-speaking congregations) that are using another church’s facilities to hold services during times other than Sunday mornings. Whole businesses and ministries have been started to help these congregations with their unique challenges.

For the past 12 years, our church has been a mobile church. We started in an elementary school cafeteria (six weeks), then moved to a high school cafeteria (six years), then we moved to the local YMCA (six years), and this summer we moved to another local elementary school which we LOVE!  

Don’t get me wrong. There are some serious challenges and some scary things that mobile churches have to deal with, but that’s true for every expression of congregational life. Like all churches, we learn to deal with our unique challenges, and thrive on the benefits of using our particular approach to doing church the way we do it.

Below is a short list (though it could be longer) of some key benefits to being mobile. Feel free to add your own, or share your particular experiences or questions in the comment section below.

Benefit #1—Someone else is paying the mortgage. 

Most churches that have their own buildings and land have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions or tens of millions) to secure their land, develop it and build their buildings on it. The maintenance and utilities, not to mention the principal and interest payments on these facilities, causes lots of pastors to lose sleep, health and even their jobs when they can’t pay the bills. It also forces many of them to constantly have to talk about money.

Mobile churches spend money on facilities too, but by comparison, it is far less than congregations that are paying off church-owned properties. For the first six years of our church’s existence, we paid $500 a month to rent a very nice high school campus that already had all the space we needed.

That leads to the second benefit.

Benefit #2—More resources for ministry.

For many mobile churches, the majority of the budget can be used for actual ministry since it’s not being poured into maintaining a church facility. That includes adequate staff, resources, funding for special ministry projects and opportunities that many congregations simply can’t consider.