I thought it would be a help to some of you church staff readers to hear about our visit with Portable Church Industries. If you are on staff at a portable church, and you don’t know about PCI, please crawl out from under your rock and visit www.portablechurch.com
First of all I believe we do ‘portable’ with excellence. We have actually had people leave our service, hang around, and not realize they were in a school until they saw us start to breakdown. Now that is a compliment! But we would not be able to do this without our volunteers. They are amazing!
Yet when we moved to Chancellor High School we experienced some hard changes. First we lost our on-sight storage. The elementary school allowed us to use a closet in the gym we used, and allowed us to park a trailer behind the cafeteria for the Kidspoint area.. Nice and easy. But now everything has to be toted in the front door. When you have the on sight option, you quickly forget how much ‘stuff’ you are accumulating. We quickly remembered – when we had to start carrying in baby toys and mic stands. And we could see this was hard on the volunteers. Not that they complained. On the contrary! Our team grew! But we saw that their was an opportunity to maximize our volunteers efforts.
First let me back up, we needed some sort of transportation. For a short term fix we leased a 24′ truck from Penske. This did 2 things. It allowed us to make an informed decision on whether to do a truck or trailer solution. Second – it showed us we didn’t want a truck! It sucked! So we went with a company out of Eastman, GA called All Pro Trailers. They were very affordable. Our solution – two 20′ x 8′ trailers, one with reinforced axles for the heaver sound equipment. Now they say hindsite is 20/20. If we had to do it all over again we’d get 24’x7′. Only because now that we are going with PCI, it would fit their equipment better.
Now back to the story. They sent a consultant down to watch our Sunday service, ask lots of questions, allow us to ask him lots of questions, and then devise a plan to help us not waste so many trips back and forth to the trailer. They call it an effeciency upgrade. As long as everything stays on track, this will be a huge improvement for us.
With that being said let me give some perspective for the church planter:
- Quite whining. Yes PCI is pricey. But if you want to start a church or be relevant to your community be ready to spend money. I don’t know of any church that can open their doors on day 1 without spending a significant amount of money – unless of course the items are donated.
- Think inside the box….or about the box. If you are going spend $700 on a case for a sub, which you should to protect your equipment – which we did (very nice Anvil cases might I add) – STOP! It will only hold 1 Sub! PCI cases are on par with that price and they go up….meaning they are taller…meaning you can store your sub, or speaker, or drummer (leave some granola bars in their for the week and he’ll be fine), and also store stuff on top! So when you think of PCI that way…they aren’t that pricey after all!
- When adding equipment – dont’ just think about the financial cost. What is the time cost? What is the volunteer cost? Our mistake is that we added equipment without thinking about the latter two. From now on, we’ll ask, how do we get it in the door? What will the setup impact be? Does PCI have a solution? And if they don’t they’ll find one.
- Make 2 plans – a ‘we want the universe plan’ and ‘this is what we need to survive plan’. Then meet somewhere in the lower middle and grow into it.
- Trailers are more effecient – more entry points, more loading and unloading at one time.
- PCI thinks of things on these terms: if you have to carry it and not roll it, your doing something wrong. Gotta love American ingenuity – or is it laziness? Hmmm. I think we just don’t like to sweat.
- You having a problem keeping volunteers on the Setup team? Make it easier on them – do PCI!
Reading that made me want to volunteer with setup and break down. I unfortunately had a major schedule change at work and it got in the way of me volunteering at the office. So let me know how I can get in on all this!