Like so many things in life, the recipe for the perfect mobile church has several critical, but interrelated parts. To reach more people and grow your community, you'll need to get them all right.
Today’s blog post talks about each of the critical elements that go into creating and engaging mobile church. Our hope is that these points will help you reach more people with your mobile church.
The Right Location
The first step in creating an engaging environment is choosing the right location. Of course, this is a common sense point. We bring it up to remind you that you can get everything else right but continue to struggle if you don’t have a location that’s right for the community you want to build.
Countless factors come into play when deciding if a location is the right one. You need plenty of easy-to-find (and free) parking. You also need enough family restrooms. Adequate heating and cooling is also a must. Overall cleanliness and comfort are critical too. Something as small as a strange feel or smell can put off a prospective guest.
Your host site needs to have plenty of chairs, or you'll need to rent or buy some. The location also needs to be easy to find. And ideally, you want a property owner who is easy to work with. For instance, you'll probably want to hang signs that could leave holes or marks in the wall. Would the host allow that? And the list of things to consider about a host location goes on and on.
If you’re an established mobile church, remember that your location is greatly influencing (either positively or negatively) your current level of engagement. If you’re about to make the move into a mobile setting, take your time selecting your location. It’s a huge factor that impacts your ability to reach more people with your church plant.
Happy & Appreciated Volunteers
Volunteers are a critical variable for any church, but especially those in a mobile setting. Mobile churches rely on volunteers for setting up and breaking down the equipment before and after each service. That means they have a heavy workload and a short amount of time before they hit burnout.
To account for the easy burnout, rotating teams are a must. Establish at least two different teams to alternate the setup and breakdown duties. It’s even better if you can establish four full teams for the rotation. That way, each team only has setup and breakdown duty once a month.
Of course, you’ll need to express your gratitude for your volunteers. Since it’s easy to feel like the same appreciation ideas get stale, check out this e-book we created for new ideas for managing and appreciating volunteers.
An Organized Setup Kit
The next part of creating an engaging environment in your mobile setting is having a setup process that is easy to manage and repeat. If all of the things you need for your worship service are spread out in different locations, your set up will be much more challenging than it needs to be. Or even if all of your equipment is in one place but difficult to set up, you’ll still have more work than necessary.
It’s worth taking the time to organize and pack all of your worship equipment into a set kit. Then all of the items will be easy to transport, setup, and repack. Since you’re relying heavily on volunteers, you should add an inventory checklist and setup instructions to the kit. Finally, to keep everything in good shape, it’s important to plan regular cleaning and maintenance of your kit and equipment.
Without the graciousness of your host, none of this would be possible. Look for ways to show your host gratitude and appreciation. Your goal is to be such an amazing guest and contributor to the local community that your host would sad for you to leave.
Doing that means exceeding expectations and leaving the facility in better condition than you found it. Clean up thoroughly each time you use the building and help with simple and routine maintenance. If you buy equipment that works specifically for the host location, consider gifting it to your host when it's time to leave.
Safe & Happy Children
This is arguably the most important place to get it right. Parents will agree, children’s safety and happiness trumps all the other concerns. Many people chose a church and stay with it based solely on their children’s experience. So this is a make or break point for success in a mobile setting.
Everything possible has to be done to ensure safety in the children's area. In permanent church homes, you have the ability to modify your building for a super safe single entrance and exit point. Unfortunately, in a mobile setting, you usually don’t have that option.
If your children’s area has several ways in and out, or other ways for kids to leave unattended, you’ll need plenty of diligent volunteers and some portable physical barriers. You also need a sign-in system and secure way for parents to pick up their children at the end of the service. As you know, it gets busy in the children’s area during drop off and pick up, so having a safeguard in place to match kids to their parents is a must.
We all know visiting a new church for the first time can be intimidating. Guests are in evaluation mode the minute they pull into the parking lot. But add to that a mobile setting where it’s often challenging to find things and just all around confusing, and you have the potential for lost and frustrated people.
To ease that trepidation, go out of your way to help guests find things and be comfortable. Create signs and post volunteers throughout your site to direct or escort your guests. Make sure they can find the restrooms, the childcare pick up and drop off points, and of course, the coffee.
Have plenty of informational resources available so your guests don’t have to ask to learn more about you. Post volunteers at the exits to specifically thank folks for joining you. And of course, send a follow-up note or call if you’re able to collect visitor information.
The process of starting your church plant in a mobile setting is exciting because you're expanding your potential to reach more people. To get more members at your church plant, consider these key tips for creating the perfect mobile church.