I’m normally quite excited about the possibility of trying new ideas and making use of new technology in church. I’m usually the one asking, “Why are we doing this”, or “How can we do this better”. But one thing I never thought I’d push for was a ‘Drive-In’ style worship service held in the parking lot. Honestly, if someone would have told me back in January that I’d soon be preaching from atop a trailer to a parking lot full of cars, I would have laughed it off as a rather ridiculous idea. I also didn’t think I’d be doing all of my preaching and teaching to an online audience either. Nonetheless, here we are!
After going several weeks without being able to see my church family, I’m very glad that yesterday’s Drive-In Service went well. It was very much a trial-run, and you might even call it an experiment. I’d never attempted anything quite like it before, and neither had anyone else involved. My original plan was to hold a Drive-In service on Easter Sunday, but the storms that passed through that weekend did not allow for such a service then. I’d been praying that we’d experience better weather the following week. It was indeed better, but still dark and dreary. Another storm blew through, but the rain didn’t come until after our service was over. I did hurry the sermon up just a bit when I heard the thunder, though! Now I am praying somewhat more specifically that we will enjoy beautiful sunshine and blue skies this coming Sunday! We had a few individuals and families come and participate, but the weather still kept many away. Even so, it was very good to be with some of my church family, even if I could only see them through the windshield.
I’ve never done a Drive-In Service before, and we’re all still learning how this is all going to work. One thing that was left out this week was a piano. I had an electric piano ready to go that could be connected to our mobile sound system, but I forgot to bring it with me Sunday morning. By the time I remembered it, it was too late to go back to retrieve it. Well, at least that’s one thing we can look forward to adding to our services in the weeks to come. I was glad that our sound system seemed to work well in the parking lot, but the audio quality in the online live feed didn’t seem to be quite as good as when we were streaming from inside the sanctuary. I think it is still usable though, and we are working to improve it in the future. Given the options, I certainly prefer preaching to parked cars over preaching to empty pews! Parking is another area we are working to tweak for the coming weeks. It is going to be a little challenging to get everyone a good position to see the service, but we learned a lot this week. The trailer I mentioned earlier was brought in to help everyone see from their cars, but I’m not sure it’s going to be needed. We’ll continue to experiment with that to see what works best. If nothing else, we’ll at least try to find something that looks nice to put in front of the ugly trailer! Thankfully, we had some good help on hand to make this event a success. I appreciate Larry Talley, Mark Barr, Bill Shackelford, C.T. Almand, and Arlis Palmer for taking on various responsibilities to make this event happen. My wife and daughters, as usual, also helped with the service, set-up, and tear-down. With several working together, everything came together quite nicely.
Our plan is to offer a Drive-In Service every Sunday morning at 11:00 until we are able to meet again for regular services. I am praying that God works in our hearts during this time to strengthen us and help us appreciate His blessings more. I hope when this is over, God’s people will have developed a deeper love for the church and a stronger desire to serve Him in it. I hope we will all rejoice each and every time we are able to enjoy the close fellowship that AWBC is known for. In the meantime, we will continue to use every tool available to us to grow together in our knowledge and love of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I hope to see you Sunday!