How Churches Can Use Shipping Containers During COVID-19

How can churches use shipping containers during the COVID-19 outbreak?

At the time of this writing, it’s been six months since the corona virus began to impact the United States, affecting several business industries, education, and more.

For some states, they’ve been able to reopen without difficulty, however some have had to reinstate lockdown procedures, closing businesses, schools, and churches.

A High Steeple Church
Photo by Cosmic Timetraveler on Unsplash

Churches are great gathering places, not just for worship, but weddings, spiritual observance, blessings, and other events.

But with the ongoing virus, many patrons are unable to attend their weekly services.

In this article, we’ll see the impact the outbreak has had on places of worship and how churches can use shipping containers during COVID-19.

How Churches Can Use Shipping Containers During COVID-19


65% of American adults state they belong to a church, equaling about 160 million people in the United States alone.

One of the largest church gatherings is the Easter holiday, which occurred during the middle of state lockdowns in April.

A survey by the Pew Research Center discovered that 90% of regular churchgoers said that their churches had closed in response to the outbreak.

For many of those churches, their services have moved online, much in the way offices and classrooms have done since the shutdown.

And while this can be helpful for some, the normal in person interactions and sense of community; suffer.

As with video calls for business and schools, the crispness and clarity of any interaction is dependent on the Internet connection on either side.

This can make for frequent interruptions or even a missed service.

So how do churches enable worship without endangering their parishioners?

The Case for Using Shipping Containers As Temporary Churches

The humble shipping container has evolved from a simple transportation container to a durable and reliable building material.

We’ve previously looked at how hospitals, hotels, and even restaurants have used containers, either as the foundation for their business or an extension.

Churches have also been built using shipping containers, with one church in Los Angeles awarded the American Institute of Architects Design Award in 2009.

Shipping containers have been a welcome help for churches, enabling them to rebuild or extend their services without the challenge of financing another location.

For example, after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, a popular 19th century stone cathedral was completely destroyed in the aftermath.

Using four 20-foot shipping containers, the church was resurrected and replaced.

Christchurch Rebuilt Cathedral

Shipping containers are great materials for these types of structures because:

  • They’re fireproof and waterproof, built to sustain harsh weather conditions
  • They’re durable, sturdy, and strong
  • Containers are easy to move from one location to another
  • Eco-friendly and sustainable reduces the use of brick, cement, and steel

How Churches Can Use Shipping Containers

With social distancing needed to keep the spread of the corona virus at bay, churches have either limited their services or closed completely.

Using shipping containers, churches can extend their spaces or create smaller spaces for those who would like to visit on a daily basis.

Containers can also be used for mobile offices, so church staff can use these for administrative tasks or even small classrooms for Sunday school.

As mentioned earlier, shipping containers are portable; mobile chapels can be moved for churchgoers who have difficulty attending.

Double Wide Container from Southwest Mobile Storage

Once churches can reopen fully, rented containers can be returned to providers; purchased containers can be used for other events.

In this article, we discussed how churches can use shipping containers during COVID-19.

Procedures and steps for the virus are still ongoing, so a possible aftermath is still unknown.

However, the way everyday life has changed during this time has created opportunities and innovations that may continue in the future.

If you’re a church and considering using shipping containers, give us a call at 800.686.9114.

Our shipping experts can help you pick the right container, for the right project, and for the right price!