Church has joined a growing list of businesses and institutions that have been transformed into curbside or drive-through service by the COVID-19 lockdown. While most churches have spent the last 6-8 weeks holding services online, including Easter, a group of local churches has sought out a way to reconstitute corporate worship by any safe means.
To that end, hundreds of cars filled the parking lot at the Williamson County Ag Center Sunday evening for a drive-in worship service sponsored by over 20 area churches and approved by local and state governments.
The event opened with musician Francesca Battistelli singing the Bethel Music hit Raise A Hallelujah and her best-known hit Holy Spirit. Since everyone stayed in their cars to achieve social distancing, horns replaced applause, and horns could be heard even a great distance away.
Governor Bill Lee attended and thanked first responders and frontline medical workers, volunteers, and others in the fight against COVID-19. A video message by Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, spoke of his work around the world in the name of protecting the right to religious freedom.
The event benefits One Generation Away. Donations can still be made by texting the phrase OneGen to 97000.
One Generation Away operates a local non-profit mobile food pantry that feeds healthy foods to families all over Middle Tennessee. That food pantry has had to increase distribution locations since tornadoes struck the area in March, and is now also distributing emergency food boxes to children and teenagers who normally rely on schools for breakfast and lunch five days a week.
It is hoped contributions from this event can help meet the unusual needs One Gen is attempting to fill.
Beyond Our Walls featured a central stage with large video screens facing in all directions, suspended temporarily by large cranes. The event was broadcast live on 88.7 Way-FM and livestreamed on various church social media feeds.
Musician Nicole C Mullen took the stage in a live performance of When I Call On Jesus. Other performers included Worship Leader Rita Springer and members of worship teams from the churches involved as well as the Christian music community.
Between live performances, a number of pastors from local churches prayed over the worshippers and shared encouraging words on a great number of topics. Worshippers stretched through sunroofs and car windows, and praises were offered up in the unusual but effective form of car horns.
One worshipper commented, “It’s great to be out of the house in a safe and sensible way, and able to go to church again, even if it’s different than a typical Sunday.” Social media reaction during the event was joyous.
Follow this event on social media with #BeyondOurWalls2020.