One local church has gotten creative with its Sunday morning church service.
Unable to hold a service inside the church building following the CDC’s guidelines regarding the number of people who should gather in one place, South Boston Church of God had a “drive-in” worship service in the church parking lot.
Church members stayed in their cars and tuned into an FM radio station to hear Pastor Dave Webb deliver his message.
Standing in front of the crowd, Webb said, “Honk if you’re glad to be here today!”
Webb beamed standing at a makeshift pulpit in front of the crowd of cars as multiple horns beeped in affirmation.
“It was addictive hearing the honking horns,” Webb said.
As a public speaker, Webb said he likes to know that he is connecting with his audience, and the honking horns were his way of knowing that he was connecting with his audience even though they were at a distance.
Church members also had the opportunity to livestream Webb’s message on Facebook. Many other local churches also opted to live stream their services rather than meet in-person.
But Webb said the drive-in church service was a chance for members to continue their routine of going to church on Sunday mornings, even though times have changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“People are used to getting up Sunday morning and coming to church. It’s part of their normal routine to come to church,” Webb said. “This is a way for people to feel normal, and it’s a way for them to feel like they’re with their church family.”
The drive-in church service was a new concept but one that people embraced. Webb estimated 40 cars of people attended the drive-in church service, a larger normal than he anticipated would attend.
“You’re listening to the message, and you’re sitting in the car. It’s something totally different. You won’t forget it,” said church member Jerry Seamster.
Webb’s wife Jennifer also said she enjoyed the drive-in church service.
“I’m an introvert, so it was fun to sit in the car and worship together apart,” she said.
John and Amanda Trent said they liked being able to see and spend time with fellow church members on Sunday morning, even if it was from a distance. John said because the service was open to church members and non-church members alike, it also was a way to reach out to the community.
“I see a couple of faces from other churches here today,” John said. “It’s just a way of loving and serving our community.”
Webb said the drive-in church service is a reminder to him that the church “has nothing to do with a building” but instead is a group of people called to serve the community.
“The church is not about a building. It’s about loving our neighbors,” Webb said. “We want to serve our community wherever we may be. We’re instructed to love everybody, no matter what they look like or what they believe.”
The drive-in church service is open to everyone, regardless of church affiliation. The next two weeks’ drive-in services at the South Boston Church of God at 3000 Halifax Road will be broadcast at 11 a.m. on the 95.3 FM (WHLF) radio station.