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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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Encounter 2015: Pentecostal Pastors and Prayer Leaders to Unite for Prayer

Mon, 25 Aug 2014 - 4:15 PM CST

Alton Garrison
Assemblies of God Assistant General Superintendent Alton Garrison will be one of the prayer leaders at Encounter 2015.

On January 5 and 6, 2015, the Church of God-Cleveland, the Assemblies of God, and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church will sponsor Encounter 2015, an unprecedented, historic gathering of Pentecostal pastors and prayer leaders at Northwood Temple, Fayetteville, North Carolina (John Hedgepeth, senior pastor). The essential purpose of Encounter 2015 is to acknowledge absolute dependence upon God, to affirm commitment to concerted prayer, and to intercede for a spiritual awakening in the United States.

In addition to the sponsoring fellowships, leaders from the following denominations are also participating: Church of God of Prophecy, Congregational Holiness, The Foursquare Church, Pentecostal Church of God, and the Pentecostal Freewill Baptist Church. Mark Williams, general overseer of the Church of God-Cleveland; Alton Garrison, assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God; and Doug Beacham, general superintendent of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, and others will lead various prayer segments.

Doug Small notes the purpose of the meeting as follows: "In light of our distinctive Pentecostal roots and our deep dependence on God, we will gather across denominational lines to renew our commitment to prayer as standing at the heart of pastoral ministry, and as indispensable to the mission of the Church. We are urging pastors to see themselves first and foremost as holy men and women of God who must spend regular time in communion with Him. We must seek God's face. We must ask that He renew us. We must pray for our nation."

John Maempa
Maempa

John Maempa, director of the Office of Prayer and Spiritual Care for the AG, states, "This will be a historic occasion when pastors and other leaders from the various streams of the Pentecostal movement will come together to strengthen and encourage one another in the vital discipline of prayer and to seek God for a powerful move of the Holy Spirit across the Church and our nation. We are praying that this will be a catalyst for a spiritual awakening that is so desperately needed in this day."

Historically, the Assemblies of God has set aside the first full week of January as the Week of Prayer. This event will provide a unique opportunity to begin the Week of Prayer and the New Year in united prayer with our sister Pentecostal fellowships.

AG Assistant General Superintendent Alton Garrison encourages pastors across the Assemblies of God to make plans to be part of this historic gathering. "As people of the Spirit across the Pentecostal church, may we commit to pray as never before, partner in prayer and service as never before, and be influencers for good and righteousness as never before. May this ignite a powerful spiritual awakening in our churches and in our nation, resulting in a great harvest of souls for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Though there is no registration fee for the conference, all attendees are encouraged to register at encounter2015.com. Additional information about the event, location, housing, promotional resources, and more can be found on the conference website.

Authors: AG News

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