Celebrating 25 Years of Design & Innovation

May 30, 2019

As of this month, Portable Church® Industries (PCI) has been crafting innovative, intelligent effective mobile church systems for 25 years. 

Before the company started, the idea of having a worship service in a space that wasn’t a church building was not a widely accepted idea. However, our founder and owner, Pete van der Harst, with the support of his wife Mitzi, had the vision to help produce churches that could launch with maximum impact and with minimal capital. This vision was born out of a combination of love for the local church, growing the kingdom, and a desire to problem solve and engineer new innovative solutions.  

Even before there was PCI, there was Kensington Community Church. The leadership at Kensington asked Pete to leave his role with UPS as a logistics engineer, to help them launch their new church plant. They intentionally sought Pete out because they knew they would need some way to roll in and out of the facility. Although he didn’t know it at the time, God was using him to help create an industry that would change the way churches exist as a whole. Simply said,  the main reasons that drove this new industry, was to open up more seats in all kinds of buildings for people to hear about Jesus.

The first days of PCI were spent consulting with churches that already existed and needed help.

The very first consultation Pete did was with Dave Bowman at New Horizon Church. Because of conversations that came out of the first few consultations, Pete decided that PCI would not only need to consult with existing churches, but they would also create the solutions, deliver them, and train the churches on how to use them, establishing the main portion of our business. As Pete has often stated it was at that point that he realized that pastors are life change specialists, not procurement specialists. He wanted to remove the large obstacle of buying, building and maintaining systems so pastors could instead focus on team building and connecting with their communities.

Shortly after working with existing churches, word spread quickly and Portable Church® began working with brand new start-ups. Church planter Rob Ketterling at River Valley Church was the first church that we created an entire solution for from the ground up. Since that time we have been a part of thousands of churches from the very basic of start-ups to the largest of multisite churches. In 2007 we launched church. in a box solutions as a way to give churches on a tight budget upfront savings but still built on efficient systems. In 2018 Portable Church® launched our Nexus Consultations engineered specifically for the needs of a multisite church as well as the Genesis Consultation experience for new church plants.

One of our most important goals as a company has been to help churches understand that with the right pieces in place, it IS possible to have an amazing worship experience every weekend even in a portable setting. To go even further, it is possible to do it with excellence and efficiency, which is what we specialize in! From day one, we center everything we do around creating better environments, empowering volunteers, and letting you focus on people and not on gear.

We have defined success by helping 2,896 churches open over 724,000 (single service) seats to hear the gospel. Churches that have launched using a PCI system have enjoyed a 98+% success rate. We recognize that it is not all due to us, but we celebrate that our systems are lasting and that they are working for the volunteers and helping our churches to reach the communities they launch in.

As a company, we count it a blessing every day that God has called us to this work and that we get to serve churches. We want to thank all of the portable churches that we have been able to partner with for the past 25 years. Because of all of you, we have this opportunity to serve in ministry. But, more importantly, because of all of you, the Kingdom of God is continuing to grow. What a privilege it has been to play our small part.