OHIO VALLEY — Area church-goers are getting creative with their services in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak across Ohio and the nation. Pastors have taken to utilizing social media for live sermons and Bible study and a few others are taking lessons from old drive-in cinemas.
“We did a (drive-in sermon) last week and it went over real well and people want to do it this week so we thought we’d try it again,” said First Church of God Pastor Paul Voss. “We use our church parking lot. We have four or five different attendants that direct traffic as it comes in. They space the vehicles about six or eight foot apart. It’s kind of like every other parking spot… We have an FM transmitter kit that we’re using and people can tune into a radio station on the FM (in their vehicles) or, if people prefer, they can roll their windows down and listen to the loudspeaker we have for the service.”
Voss said he has been on social media to share prayer and that the drive-in option would allow church-goers to attend service in person while still maintaining a physical separation in consideration of the state’s social distancing recommendations.
“People are just looking to connect in different ways so we thought this was something to do,” said Voss.
Voss said the church would likely continue drive-in sermons until the state’s social gathering concerns were relaxed.
“People in the church were telling me about this and hearing about it in the south and they said let’s give it a try and I said I thought it was a good idea,” said Voss. “There were people out there we haven’t seen for a long time… I think there are a lot of people experiencing anxiety and fear. I think that they need a word of encouragement and a word from the good Lord and I believe the Bible is a word of encouragement. This is a difficult time but we’re going to get through it.”
Good News Baptist Church will also be holding a drive-in sermon this Sunday.
“We are going to have a drive-in church service. That seems to be a common trend across the country right now as people are quarantined and staying at home and avoiding as much contact as possible and we want to maintain that,” said Good News Pastor Morgan McKinniss via a social media video. “And yet Easter Sunday, while we know and acknowledge that every Sunday is the celebration of the resurrection, Easter Sunday is that day of the year that we set aside to intentionally and purposefully refocus ourselves on it and set aside that time for the glory of our God.”
The First Church of God can be found at 1723 State Route 141 in the Centenary area and will hold its Easter service at roughly 10:20 a.m. Good News Baptist Church will hold Easter service at roughly 11 a.m. and can be found at 4045 Georges Creek Road, north of Gallipolis.
Dean Wright is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.