by Rich Birch: Thanks for coming back for this week’s episode of the unSeminary podcast. I’m honored to have Jeff Beachum of Portable Church Industries with us today. PCI helps churches go portable.
Portable Church started one day when a portable church was struggling in a middle school setting. Finally one of the pastors went to a volunteer, who was an engineer, and asked for help in figuring it out. The volunteer put together a system to make setting up and tearing down easier. From there other churches asked for help in their own settings, and it grew into its own company.
Grow big by being small. // Portable Church funded a study at Leadership Network called Latest Multi-site Trends: How a New Generation of Pastors is Shifting to Strategies That Reproduce and Multiply. The big idea pulled from the study was that 83% of pastors under the age of 40 have a vision to plant or launch a new campus. Years ago pastors sought to grow a giant church and so we had mega-churches being built and reproducing. Now the trend is to grow big by being small. Rather than a church expression being in one big location, younger pastors have a vision for smaller expressions of church to be spread throughout different neighborhoods reaching unique groups of people and communities.
Shift your focus. // In these smaller expressions, churches are able to focus more on leadership development and creating a leadership pipeline because volunteers and new leaders are key to the multisite and portable church, or church plant movement. Similarly smaller churches allow for more disciple-making opportunities because they are naturally closer and more intimate communities.
The church is a movement. // In the first five years of a church’s life, it is still a movement – it’s still fresh and attracting brand new people instead of transplants. But the longer a church is established, there’s a draw toward security, acquiring property, having a set address and not rocking the boat. According to the study, new churches—both permanent and portable—have 24% more growth in first five years than established churches. Additionally, being portable resulted in 12% more growth than any other expression of church. So pursuing portable church options is a great method for growing quickly and reaching your community.
Customize your system to reflect your DNA. // When creating a portable system for a church, Portable Church Industries first meets with the church staff. The first half of the meeting covers a three-day period and is used to discover who they are, why they want a new site, and why they think the community needs their church. Portable Church goes to the new facility they will be using and shows them how their church’s unique DNA can be expressed in that high school or YMCA or whatever it is. A lot of churches think portability is hard or won’t be a good expression to reflect their DNA, but PCI has lots of resources, videos and photos demonstrating examples of how they’ve helped other churches create volunteer-friendly systems for set-up and tear-down. Typical systems take between an hour and an hour and fifteen minutes to set up, and then are torn down in forty-five minutes to an hour.
You can learn more about Portable Church Industries at www.portablechurch.com and read the two studies referenced in this podcast at www.leadnet.org/portable/. At unSeminary we’ve teamed up with Portable Church to offer our listeners some more resources to help you decide whether the Portable Church systems are right for you and you can find those at www.portablechurch.com/unseminary.
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Helpful Tech Tools // Timetrade
Ministries Following // Leadership Network, The Unstuck Group, New Churches, unSeminary, Auxano
Influential Book // Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion by Os Guinness
Inspiring Leader // Ravi Zacharias
What you do for fun // Being with his family, DIY home projects
Contact // www.portablechurch.com/unseminary