People in Richmond, Virginia and across the United States are not going to church the way they used to.
It is not a Black thing or a White thing. People just don’t make the effort on a Sunday morning to go to church. It is much harder for people who didn’t grow up in the church even though it is still hard for people who had parents and grandparents who insisted they get up and go to church no matter how late they had stayed out on Saturday night.
Clergy has come up with all sorts of things to get people back into the church. Some have Saturday evenings services thinking that since people are going to get dressed and go out anyway, they they might as well stop by the church first. That works for some people but not for enough people to put a dent in the statistics.
According to the Ventura, California-based Barna Group, church attendance in America has dropped 9 percentage points from 49 percent in 1991 to 40 percent in 2011. In 1991, just one-quarter of adults (24 percent) were unchurched. That figure has ballooned by more than 50 percent to 37 percent today according to the Barna Group.
Clergy has become creative in Lucas, Texas at the Presbyterian Church of the Master can actually drive in, see the pastor outside, but remain in their cars to hear the service.
In other words, it’s drive-in church.
Pastor David Ray thought of this innovative approach thinking it would bring people back to the church.
Ray says the “unchurched” are his targeted audience for his church, which holds service on the parking lot of Lovejoy High School in southeast Collin County.
Churchgoers can heard a full sermon, along with regular church music, prayer and scripture.
It is a come-as-you-are service, according to published reports. Some of the worshippers even wear shorts – something that usually doesn’t happen in Southern churches on Sunday.
The pastor said he thinks Jesus would approve of his effort because a lot of His activities took place outside.
Worship with Sanctuary Under the Sky is on Sundays at 9 a.m. followed by a more traditional service held inside the school at 10:30 a.m.
- While Pastor Ray thinks he has done something new, that is not the case. Before Dr. Robert Schuller began preaching in the now famous Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, the Hour of Power used to worship in a drive-in theater in the 1960s which allowed for 500 cars to park.
- A Drive In Church is different from a Drive Thru Church.