"Movie-theater screens are postmodern stained glass. We're using moving pictures to tell the gospel to a post-literate culture," said Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church, which meets in Washington, D.C., theaters and hosts a conference for theater churches. "There are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet. We have to live with the tension of being biblically true and culturally relevant."
While most of the congregations eventually want to own a building, experts suggest about 10 percent plan on long-term portability — and the number is growing.
"In the beginning, a lot of people viewed portability as a means to an end," said Kendra Malloy, marketing director for Portable Church Industries. "Now people see portability as a way to go and be part of the community."
The majority of Malloy's church clients rent schools, but about 15 percent rent movie theaters for worship space.
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