Car Church Services Became Extremely Popular

Pastor delivering a service to a parking lot full of congregation sitting in cars
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Pastor delivering a service to a parking lot full of congregation sitting in cars

The sun shone in the sky on a bright Sunday morning. The birds were chirping, and the flowers were blooming; it seemed as if everything in nature was perfectly normal. Meanwhile, something strange was happening in churches all across the country.

It started when people became aware of the dangers posed by COVID-19 and began to become more cautious in their daily lives. Suddenly, churches, which usually held their services in beautiful chapels made to worship God, were forced to think of alternative ways to provide spiritual guidance for their congregations.

The solution for many churches came easily: outdoor Sunday service from the comfort of one’s own vehicle. Churches began setting up large parking lots with rows of parked cars. Once everyone arrived and got settled in, a loud P.A. system, or in many cases a special radio frequency that could be tuned into from one’s car, broadcasted the Good Word.

This created some interesting scenarios. On one hand, it provided an opportunity for people who may not otherwise feel comfortable attending church services to still hear the gospel preached. For others, who love the feeling of attending church, but may not love the social interactions of church (peace-be-with-you handshakes, passing the donation plates), they could still listen without having to leave their vehicles. Plenty of parishioners got to attend a church service without the trappings of church—a feat long dreamt about, but never achievable, before COVID-19 came along.

On the other hand, it caused a sense of disconnection between members of the congregation – there was no way for them to mingle or discuss points brought up during sermons as they normally would do after services indoors. The sense of community was generally lost. Even if members were near the congregation, many still felt apart.

The car church idea continued with these innovative measures until life returned to normal again, after COVID-19 eased its grip on society at large. For some it was exactly what was needed: to maintain some level of consistency throughout the experience.

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Picture of author Anthony Faust

About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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