• April 2, 2020

Social distancing worship - Odessa American: Announcements

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Social distancing worship

New guidelines don’t stop the faithful

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Posted: Monday, March 23, 2020 7:14 pm

With places all over the country having to adjust to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many churches are thinking outside the box to find ways to offer services for members.

For Connection Christian Church, one way of doing that was a drive-in service.

On Sunday, Connection Christian held its service where members were able to participate in worship from inside their cars.

The service was held in the west parking lot behind the church. Only the worship leaders were outside on foot while everyone else remained in their cars during the service.

Those taking part in worship were able to tune in their radio stations from their cars to a live streaming of the service.

The idea to do a drive-in worship came up this past week.

According to co-minister Joe Weaks, there were plenty of questions that were raised after thinking up the idea.

“When we decided to do drive thru worship, it immediately raised some questions like can we pull it off and how do we pull it off,” Joe Weaks said. “Our leadership rose to the occasion and we also didn’t know if it was something that would appeal and would folks respond to it.”

Judging by the amount of people who came out, it appeared to work.

“But judging by the amount that came, it was meaningful, for them,” Joe Weaks said. “The reason we wanted to do it was the same reason they came which was we wanted to be together and that’s an important part of our identity. It was super helpful. We felt like we were still in community.”

The church didn’t want to give up in person gatherings but still wanted to be good neighbors and to honor the guidelines from the CDC and health professionals.

By using an FM transmitter, they were able to pull it off.

“We used the same kind of transmitter when you go to a fancy Christmas light display and have to tune to their FM dial transmitter, so folks were able to hear well from their cars,” Joe Weaks said. “That was better than I had hoped it would be.”

It took plenty of brainstorming to come up with an idea of how to still worship while being mindful of the restrictions that have been set in place by the county and state to not spread the virus.

“We were praying and brainstorming on how we can still come together as a body and still worship Christ in a way that’s healthy for our congregation,” co-minister Dawn Weaks said. “There’s a church in our denomination that’s been doing drive in worship for six years so we decided to try this. Our people are so clever and such great thinkers and they said go for it.”

The church service still included communion and offering with communion being served through the windows of each car.

Other groups form the church, including Sunday school, have been moved to online.

“All of our groups are online now,” Dawn Weaks said. “We’re making multiple phone calls to anyone that’s connected to our church to make sure that they’re ok and running errands for the elderly who can’t get out. There are three outreach things that we are doing: meals on wheels, and we’re sewing masks for our medical communities.”

For those participating in worship, doing a drive-in service was a fun, unique idea.

“I think it’s awesome because you get to come out and still be respectful of the safety that we have to maintain,” David Houston said. “We can see our church family which is cool and we can be here with the energy of it. You can watch sermons online but they’re not the same as being here so whoever thought of this was very creative.”

>> Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at @OAmichaelba

Odessa, TX

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