Principles of Portability – #3 Ease of Use
March 3, 2021

We work multiple conferences every year. At every one we go to inevitably we are approached by a pastor that says “I remember portable… we’ll never do that again”. It kills us hearing that as we know it just didn’t have to be that way! After asking why, the answers are common. “It took too long” and “No one wanted to help, it came down to my family and one other staff person, and it was a drag.”  

These are driven and dedicated pastors. So how did they get there?

Sometimes, a piece of equipment might be the coolest and best thing around, but if it isn’t easy to use and people don’t want to use it, it won’t get used. Or worse, it will get used, but will contribute to a feeling of malaise and dread amongst your volunteers. Having an efficient system impacts everything – from morale to the pocketbook to the future church plants or campuses for your new church. 

Another example we see often are highly complex tech systems.

Many times it’s because you have a high level AVL expert & volunteer that wants to help. We get it! You recognize the talent you have and want a system to make him happy and keep him around. All too often, especially with new start-ups, that tech person doesn’t end up sticking around and leaves behind a system no one else understands.

Other times it’s the draw of wanting to present a large Sunday production. We get that too, however it’s essential to keep in mind the potential expertise, or lack thereof, of volunteer team. A complex Kids, Community or AVL system can quickly become discouraging. This impacts volunteers and vision/momentum. It is completely possible to have incredible systems designed around ease of set-up and use for anyone (and one that keeps the high level AVL volunteer happy too).

As a rule of thumb, if it requires a dedicated expert on the premise each week or you find people avoiding items or areas of your set-up/take-down or storage, then it is not easy to use or reproduce (more on that in our next post). Think about your volunteers in this situation and how it will be for them to use the equipment you buy on a typical Sunday. If it is too hard, they just won’t use it or if they do, they will hate it. And that is something that portable churches can’t afford. 

Nothing turns away portable church volunteers like watching others burning out before them.

Over time the feeling can seep deeper into the church and become culture. Alternatively, there is so much potential for your volunteers to absolutely LOVE being a part of set up and tear down and the process of being portable that it would be an absolute shame if they didn’t want to do it because the gear is just too difficult. However, unfortunately we see this often. If a portable church goes DIY and buys the cheapest pieces of gear, there is a good chance they are unknowingly picking items that are very difficult to set-up or operate. 

So when considering this topic, here are some questions to run through:

  • How Easy is it to Set Up? 
  • How Easy is it to Tear Down? 
  • How Easy is it to Train Someone on this Equipment?  
  • How Long will it take for my Volunteers to feel comfortable with this Equipment? 
  • Can a first time volunteer operate this?
Are you wondering if you are going too complex with your system? Connect with one of our reps! We will ask some questions and let you know if and where you might be missing the mark! You can email us at or call us at 800.939.7722. 

And if you’re looking for more information on the principles of portability, check out Principles of Portability – #1 Consider the Weight, and Principles of Portability – #2 Measure Cubic Volume.

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