It's a way to gather and worship while exercising social distancing.
Drive-ins aren’t relegated to fast-food joints or big-screen movies, especially these days with Coronavirus keeping much of the world isolated from one another. Drive-in church services are becoming a thing for folks to gather and engage in Sunday worship, all while still maintaining social distancing. Such is the case for a church in San Antonio, Texas, which is holding services in its parking lot while the pastor addresses the sea of cars while standing on the roof.
The church in question is Gateway Fellowship Church, which held its first drive-in service on March 22. According to a report from KENS 5 in San Antonio, hundreds of people showed up to fill the parking lot, with radios tuned to 94.7 FM to listen and follow along with the activities. The church even created an interactive worship guide to indicate various responses through vehicle functions, such as turning on the headlights to indicate singing, engaging the wipers to virtually lift hands in worship, or flashing high beams to exclaim “Amen!”
Drive-in churches aren’t anything new, however. Back in August 2017 we reported on the Daytona Beach Drive-In Christian Church, which has held services on the Florida coast since 1953 and continues to hold two services on Sundays. For that matter, all things drive-in could see an increase in popularity as quarantine and social distancing measures are now expected to be in place across the U.S. until at least April 30.
According to the Twitter account for Gateway Fellowship Church, there are four services on Sundays starting at 9:00 AM, with the final service at 12:00 PM. There’s no indication how long this drive-in service will run – San Antonio shut down all non-essential businesses on March 23 amid the ongoing crisis. As of March 29 there were 157 confirmed cases with five deaths in Bexar County, according to San Antonio’s website. In its March 30 report, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a total of 2,552 confirmed COVID-19 cases throughout Texas.