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Church uses drive-in service as outreach

Wed, 23 Sep 2009 - 2:14 PM CST

Westgate AG drive-in service
Westgate Assembly uses a unique approach to attract new people to its doors -- offering a "drive-in" 8:30 a.m. Sunday service. Those attending the outdoor service tune in on their radios. A traditional indoor service is held at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday worshippers at Westgate Assembly in Salem, Oregon, this summer have been honking their horns and flashing their lights in lieu of clapping.

Westgate added an 8:30 a.m. drive-in service in addition to its 10:30 a.m. indoor worship service.

As cars enter the parking lot, attendants direct occupants to a drive-through for free coffee and doughnuts. Churchgoers receive a packet with song lyrics, sermon materials, a portable Communion container and, if needed, a kids' Bible story and activity with crayons.

The vehicles then park facing a stage according to size: trucks in the back, vans in the middle and cars in the front. Radios are tuned to 100.7 FM.

The church owns a radio transmitter that broadcasts the service into the parking lot. The service consists of three worship songs, special music, guest interviews or testimonies and a sermon by Pastor Bob Swope.

The service has drawn a variety of people including chemotherapy and radiation patients who shouldn't be exposed to others, elderly people unable to walk and those normally uncomfortable in a church.

"Half of the people aren't church people at all, but they want to check out what God's all about," Swope says. He hopes such newcomers will give the regular service a tryout after staying in their vehicles for several weeks.

Some local residents have criticized the stay-in-your-car service for fostering isolation, but Swope sees it as an outreach.

"We are trying to make it as a bridge where people can be introduced to Jesus," he says.

The drive-in church also resolves a common noise complaint some people make.

"They can't say it's too loud or too soft, because they control the volume in their car," Swope says.

For more information about Westgate AG, see its Web site.

 


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Westgate AG drive-in service
Westgate Assembly uses a unique approach to attract new people to its doors -- offering a "drive-in" 8:30 a.m. Sunday service. Those attending the outdoor service tune in on their radios. A traditional indoor service is held at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday worshippers at Westgate Assembly in Salem, Oregon, this summer have been honking their horns and flashing their lights in lieu of clapping.

Westgate added an 8:30 a.m. drive-in service in addition to its 10:30 a.m. indoor worship service.

As cars enter the parking lot, attendants direct occupants to a drive-through for free coffee and doughnuts. Churchgoers receive a packet with song lyrics, sermon materials, a portable Communion container and, if needed, a kids' Bible story and activity with crayons.

The vehicles then park facing a stage according to size: trucks in the back, vans in the middle and cars in the front. Radios are tuned to 100.7 FM.

The church owns a radio transmitter that broadcasts the service into the parking lot. The service consists of three worship songs, special music, guest interviews or testimonies and a sermon by Pastor Bob Swope.

The service has drawn a variety of people including chemotherapy and radiation patients who shouldn't be exposed to others, elderly people unable to walk and those normally uncomfortable in a church.

"Half of the people aren't church people at all, but they want to check out what God's all about," Swope says. He hopes such newcomers will give the regular service a tryout after staying in their vehicles for several weeks.

Some local residents have criticized the stay-in-your-car service for fostering isolation, but Swope sees it as an outreach.

"We are trying to make it as a bridge where people can be introduced to Jesus," he says.

The drive-in church also resolves a common noise complaint some people make.

"They can't say it's too loud or too soft, because they control the volume in their car," Swope says.

For more information about Westgate AG, see its Web site.

 


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