SAN ANTONIO – You’ve heard of a drive-in theater, but what about a drive-in church service?
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses and even churches to shut down, but many church leaders are thinking out-of-the-box to create a safe sanctuary during this time.
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Pastors John Van Pay and Matt Robertson help lead Gateway Fellowship Church in Northwest San Antonio. Last week they asked members of their church to tune into the online service from their home. Ashley Woodward tuned into the church’s Facebook Live while in self-quarantine with her three roommates.
This Sunday morning, the four women said they left their homes to find peace.
“(We) haven't really left my house except to get milk and eggs,” Woodward said.
Like most Sunday mornings, they, along with hundreds more, drove to the parking lot of Gateway Fellowship Church but stayed in their car to continue their self-quarantine.
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“We said, how can we protect people and get them into a space where they can worship the Lord,” Robertson said.
With the help of three cameras, dozens of cables and a radio dial on Sunday morning, they created their first drive-in church service.
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“It’s so sweet to see other people come around, want to experience the same thing and still have community, while being safe,” Woodward said.
Van Pay, lead pastor for Gateway Fellowship Church, shared message of hope from the church’s rooftop that could be heard loud and clear on 94.7FM. Those in the parking lot said it gives them a sense of normalcy and strength to get through COVID-19.
“People miss one another, you know,” Robertson said. “We need community so, it’s really exciting that we have this opportunity to do it.”
They found a way through poster boards, e-mails and messages through the radio to honor their faith while still honoring state and local restrictions.
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Van Pay says they plan to continue with drive-in services on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon until the restrictions are lifted or change.
To watch the Sunday morning 9 a.m. service, click here.