After worship on Sunday, March 15, our church family discussed what we would do next. For more than three years we had had Sunday lunch together, but there was a sense this would be the last time for a while. The unanimous conclusion was that our worshiping together was essential, although precisely how to do that was not clear. Internet connection is often unreliable in our rural area, and livestreaming is not an option for some in our congregation.
After a few days of prayerful consideration, we decided to try a “drive-in” worship service. Everyone would remain in their vehicles on the church parking lot while I led worship and preached from the front steps.
Last Sunday, March 22, was cold and drizzling rain. I was not sure how many people would show up, but by 10:55 a.m., there were several cars and about 20 of us present! When I rang the church bell to start the service, everyone pulled forward to get closer to the front door of the church.
My wife, Laura, wearing a mask and surgical gloves, passed out sterilized bulletins. Congregants texted their prayer requests. I played the piano and preached through outside speakers. The offering was collected in a Walmart bag kept open by an embroidery hoop and held out with a boat hook.
To stay warm, worshipers would start their engines. Rather than say “Amen,” they would flash their headlights.
Our worship together was a unique blessing that we plan to continue as long as necessary, barring thunderstorms or extreme heat. After Sunday’s service one member tearfully shared how she really needed to be with her church family. Another said, “Individually our lot is uncertain, but collectively we are sustained in the Body of Christ.”
Tim Schultz is the pastor of Little Brushy Missionary Baptist Church in Wappapello, Missouri.