One family in Serbia is taking church planting to a whole new level, delivering portable mini churches right to your door.
Svetislav Mancic, founder of an interior and exterior design company named Mancic Granit in the southern Serbian city of Nis, is the creator behind these unique churches-to-go, which are transforming the way people view worship and service, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reported.
With the help of his son Goran, Mancic started the project, basing his idea on the portable churches utilized by the army for services. He envisioned a wide market for the mobile churches and believed the buildings could be used in a number of public settings including restaurants, hotels, motels, and hospitals as well.
Each building, customized to the client’s needs, could accommodate up to 15 worshippers. They weigh approximately five tons, stand 4.5 meters tall, and are made of a combination of stone and steel. A cross, bell tower, altar and frescoes also detail the small structure. The bell could either be electronically rung or manually rung by the pull of a rope.
Everything about the church is simple and convenient, from the delivery to the set up. “We load it onto a truck and deliver it to the address,” Mancic shared with the broadcaster. “The church is painted with frescoes, you just have to take a cable and connect it to electricity and you are ready in 10 minutes.”
The mini churches could be purchased online, the cheapest model on sale for $16,000. After that, depending on other details like the size of the cross or the quality of the stone tiles, the prices gradually increase.
Several people have already showed interest in purchasing the portable worship centers.
“Some [customers] want the bigger one, some of them want the smaller one, even though this is still an experimental model. We are still testing the market,” Goran commented.
“A man who has a private cemetery in Svrljig contacted us. We also had a case of a man who wants to put it next to his weekend house and he wants it to be small. I also spoke with the owner of the restaurant on Belgrade-Nis highway.”
Even small villages were contacting the duo, intrigued by the prospect of a smaller church.
But before the Mancic family could complete any orders, which they were beginning to receive, they need to get the approval and blessings from the Serbian Orthodox Church who would oversee the construction of the buildings and make sure they complied with their own rules and standards. Fortunately, other construction permits are not needed.
If all goes as planned, the family believes they will receive the church’s blessing by the end of this week, having already begun the discussion with the leaders.
Professor Erik Thoennes, who teaches biblical and theological studies at Biola University, told The Christian Post that he could see both the benefits and the dangers of Mancic’s portable churches.
For smaller congregations, he believes the idea is great, especially because the buildings do not require permits, plumbing, and other things of that nature.
“It actually seemed smart in some ways, but my concern is that someone would put [the church] in their backyard and only invite their friends and call that a church,” Thoennes explained. “The beauty of the church is that we don’t get to pick who’s in it. God does.”
Besides that reservation, he found the concept of the portable church actually relevant to the Scriptures. “The church as we know isn’t a building, it’s a people of God who gather regardless of where they gather. So in some sense the church has always been portable.”
“God’s people are even called to be portable and go out to the ends of the earth and reach the nations,” he concluded. “There’s something I love about the concept of a portable church ... it seems like it could make sense.”