Members of Waxahachie Bible Church are finding a way to worship together within the restrictions placed on the community by the COVID-19 virus. For the second week in a row, the church held a drive-in church in its parking lot.
Bible Church senior pastor Bruce Zimmerman said when he heard about meetings being limited to only 10 people, he knew something had to be done. He heard about other churches doing something similar to a drive-in church and looked to see if it would be possible. Before moving forward on the plan, church leaders checked with local officials, who said a drive-in church was within the spirit of the law and approved the plan to go forward.
“We had our first service two weeks ago in the back-parking lot,” Zimmerman said. “We used every other parking space so there was a space between each car. We have got a lot of parking spaces back there and it filled up that back-parking lot.
“We were excited,” he said. “I didn’t know if five or 10 cars or how many cars were going to show up. We were encouraged and people really seemed to have enjoyed it,” Zimmerman said. “People have physical concerns about their health right now. We are also concerned about their spiritual health, their walk with the Lord and how we can encourage them and bless them during this time. There is also a need for people to see one another. So, it was good for people to see one another again.”
Just being in their vehicles and seeing friends and family members from a distance helped to address emotional, psychological, mental and social needs, he said, adding that it also lets people know they are doing OK during this time of uncertainty.
The drive-in church is set up in the back-parking lot at Waxahachie Bible Church. At the far end of the lot is a mobile stage with a sound system where worship is directed and the sermon is given. Deacons assist guests with parking their vehicles, which have an open space in-between them to maintain social distancing requirements.
Along with the sound system, the service is broadcasted through an FM radio transmitter, allowing people to tune into the service on 88.3 FM. The drive-In church will take place every Sunday at 10:45 a.m. for the foreseeable future. People who aren’t able to attend can live stream the message online.
Since the church started offering this alternative, Zimmerman said he’s received many positive messages about the impact it has made.
“They have sent comments and text messages to me reflecting that,” he said. “It was so good to see people and I miss being around people. It is one thing to see a person on a screen and watch the recorded message online every week. But there is something different about seeing live people and reacting to us.”
Here are some guidelines for the drive-in church time:
• Please remain in your vehicles during the service.
• Follow parking attendants’ instructions on where to park.
• Worship with all your heart – lyrics will be posted online for you.
• Don’t honk as an amen.
• Feel free to bring your dog or cat with you. Bring your coffee or tea as you sit in the comfort of your vehicle.
• Use the restroom before coming to church. Restrooms will be open for emergencies but we are not to congregate in the restroom.
• Bring your own unleavened bread (crackers) and juice to share in taking communion together at the end of the service.
The church is also offering a drive-in prayer service twice a day, at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., April 1-12. The service will be held in the church parking lot and guests can tune into 88.3 FM. Prayer requests, praises and needs can be texted to 972-921-6067.
“One of the things that we can do is pray,” Zimmerman said. “I am not much of a medical person. I don’t have the skills or the training for that but what I can do is pray. We are praying to ask God to grant wisdom and knowledge to those people who are working on this problem and asking God to send his mercy and to bring some answers.
“We welcome anyone to come to Waxahachie Bible Church for an hour of prayer,” he said. “Rain or shine we are going to pray and worship.”
Waxahachie Bible Church is located at 621 N. Grand Ave. For more information about the church, go to its website at www.waxahachiebible.org. Church staff can be reached at 972-937-9590.