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Portable Worship: AV Gear for Churches on the Go

Portable Worship: AV Gear for Churches on the Go

Posted by Laura Strommen - SoundPro on May 28th 2024

Estimated Reading Time: 7 Minutes

When Sound Productions discusses religious applications for audio, video, or lighting, we tend to use terminology like “house of worship” or “faith facility”—both of which imply a permanent structure or space. However, another category of HOW application presents unique opportunities and challenges: portable worship services. Whether it’s a church plant meeting in a secular building or a mobile ministry that requires gear that’s easy to transport, this article will discuss solutions that will help you achieve great performance from your equipment no matter where you worship.


There are several synonyms for “portable worship” applications: from “mobile-” or “pop-up-” churches (or even “porta-church”), these gatherings are characterized by the fact that they usually don’t have an installed AVL setup, but rather must transport their gear into a space for each event. These are usually newly established groups that are working towards getting a permanent facility. The worship space itself may vary (and even change over time), with common options including community centers, schools, theaters, outdoor locations, and other rentable spaces.

Another type of worship application would be for mobile ministries, such as outdoor services, kids’ ministries, touring revival meetings, or special events. In this case, the religious organization may have a building as its home base but still requires portable equipment to meet the needs of these events.

Because the first option—a portable church without a building—often has special constraints on budget and space, we’ll focus on the unique challenges and solutions they face. Fortunately, most of these solutions are also applicable for houses of worship looking for mobile ministry gear as well!


In short, portable churches need pretty much all the same gear as an installed faith facility’s setup…only all the components need to be designed to set up temporarily, provide good performance, and then tear down and pack up with ease. In order, the main concern is generally an adequate sound system so that the worship service (including music and messages) can be heard by everyone in the congregation. Once that is achieved, other priorities include adding video capability (such as the use of projectors for displaying announcements, sermon texts, and song lyrics) and enhanced lighting.


Whether you’re going for a wired or wireless setup, a good microphone system is the cornerstone of getting your message across loud and clear. Affordable, versatile, and heavy-duty, a dynamic mic is ideal for nearly every miking application that aims for a professional polish.

Loudspeakers come in a variety of types (powered or passive), shapes, and sizes, projecting sound evenly throughout your worship space so everyone can enjoy your audio to its fullest potential. Subs are speakers that are built to handle extremely low-pitched audio frequencies (bass and sub-bass, generally 20-200 Hz). Widen the soundstage of any audio you’re listening to, enhance the dynamics, and get more accurate stereo imaging, with the result of a more immersive sound experience for your audience.

Sometimes called a “mixing console” or “mixing desk,” audio mixers connect to gear such as electronic instruments and mics and let you modify audio until it sounds its best. For basic mixing, choose an analog mixer for classic performance and user-friendly functionality. Invest in a digital mixer if you need tons of customization options or wireless capability.

Ideal indoors and outdoors, portable PAs lend versatility and easy setup, allowing you to take your sound anywhere. Choose from options that range from barebones simplicity to systems with all the bells and whistles, including effects, Bluetooth capability, and more.

Take your service’s worship to the next level with musical instruments including digital pianos, keyboard workstations, synthesizers, MIDI controllers, and more. Sound Productions also offers a wide range of gear for percussionists, while guitar and bass amplifiers boost power and signal from your guitars to the speaker or PA system, and guitar pedals and effects provide a range of footswitches, processors and switchers, direct boxes, and more.

Monitoring systems are specifically designed to give individual musicians customizable access to their mix. Get up-to-the-second feedback on your performance with in-ear monitors (IEM), engineered to deliver accurate audio in a low-profile build.


Visual communications create a more immersive worship experience by adding video to your service. Projectors share song lyrics, sermon notes, and announcements. Utilize Video Cameras for recording or live-streaming services to reach a larger audience. Multiviewers equip you to make in-the-moment corrections. Video switchers coordinate signals and switch between cameras, computers, or mobile devices. I/O Hardware & Cards and Accessories fully round out your visual setup.


Proper lighting can make your space look its best, offering a great first impression to visitors. It can also help focus your congregation’s attention on specific aspects of the service, enhancing the message and creating an immersive worship experience.


Other miscellaneous gear categories that play important roles in portable worship services include quality, reliable laptops; A/C, batteries, and other power supply and distribution equipment; cables and snakes; and truss and stage equipment. Test equipment is a good idea for ensuring gear is at peak performance. A wireless router or hotspot might be necessary if the internet isn’t otherwise available at the venue where you’re meeting.

Pay Special Attention to Storage Cases

Cases and covers are vital for protecting your gear between services, while in transit to and from your worship space, and for storing them if you don’t have a permanent space to set them up. Cases with casters (wheels) are particularly useful for safely rolling heavy, bulky gear in and out of the venue.


Before you start shopping for gear, assess the space and figure out exactly what you’ll need to achieve the results you want. Depending on where you’re setting up, the venue might already have some equipment available to use. Even if you’re building a system from the ground up, understanding what power sources are available, how the room (or rooms) will be laid out, and how many people will be in each room will help you craft a system and setup that offers better sound/visual communication to the congregation.

Once you know what you need, keep these criteria in mind:

  • Reliable, quality performance – No matter what gear you invest in, look for equipment that will provide reliable audio and visual quality over the long term.
  • Lightweight and compact build – Size and weight will quickly add up to a workout, so try to find gear that packs as much functionality into gear that’s easy to transport.
  • Budget-consciousness…without being cheap – Remember that “you get what you pay for”— purchasing used equipment is often a gamble that doesn’t pay off. As your budget allows, buy new equipment with warranties that you may need.
  • Simple setup and ease of use – For every piece of gear you incorporate into your setup, someone will be setting up, operating, and tearing it down often, so try to streamline the workflow and keep things simple to cut down on frustrations.
  • Look to the future – Try to find versatile, flexible, and scalable gear that will grow and adapt to your needs.

By keeping your setup simple yet scalable, you’ll be able to meet the needs of your worship services week after week—while also laying the foundation for growing the reach of your message over time.

This article discusses the core set of Portable Church gear and recommends just a few of the products SoundPro offers. Discover more options online or call our experienced Account Managers at 800.203.5611.

Learn more about the gear and techniques that can help optimize your worship service in these other articles from SoundPro:

Written by Laura Strommen - Content Writer

Laura has been on the Sound Productions team since 2021. A graduate of UW-Whitewater, she has over seven years of experience as a content writer and copy editor.