FULTON – Churches are scrambling to find ways to maintain community and continue corporate worship even though they can’t gather inside church building in any significant numbers. Many are shifting to live streaming online, but Ebenezer Baptist Church here has another solution: come to church, but stay in your car. They call it Drive-In Church.
“We are in a country setting and our parking lot is in the midst of many beautiful shade trees,” said Pastor Mike Hibbard. “Ebenezer worshippers will not have to leave the security and comfort of their own car. Instead of the ushers opening doors, they’ll be parking cars.”
“There’s something about gathering together and being able to see each other in congregational worship,” he said. “Even though we may be confined to our vehicles, we can wave at one another and see that we’re all together. Everybody who would normally come would have to park anyway, but we’re expecting even more than normal.”
For the March 22 service, the church set up speakers outside and Hibbard preached to attendees sitting parked in the lot. Coffee, donuts, the bulletin and even the offering were available via a drive-thru. By the March 29 service, Hibbard said he hopes to have a transmitter to allow him to broadcast to the cars’ radios in the immediate vicinity.
“Worship changes and it evolves, so we’ll see how God leads in the coming weeks,” he said.
“Who says God’s people are reluctant to change?” he said. “This is historic. We are excited about the future and always looking for innovative ways to further God’s Kingdom.”