Drive-Thru Church

May 31, 2005 by

The Metropolitan Church of the Quad Cities in Davenport, Iowa offered drive-thru church this weekend, offering visitors communion, the day’s scripture, a take-home homily and a free gift.

“People will be busy doing any number of activities but we want to allow folks to have a moment or two, if that’s what they can spare, to think about worship,” said Loretta Gamble.

In keeping with a fish theme, a few members were dressed as anglers, and clowns were stationed on the street to attract attention and bring in the cars.

A drive thru church is nothing new, but offering the service on a holiday weekend when many families will be tempted to skip church is a good idea.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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15 Responses to “Drive-Thru Church”

  • Chris
    May 31, 2005

    This is one that I have to disagree with.
    Worship is NOT something that, if we have a moment or two to spare, we should think about. It is something that should permeate our lives. When we reduce church community to a happy meal given to you in your car, we give the impression that worship is not very serious and weighty.
    A drive-thru church makes it easy for me, and I’m the person that should not have any of the focus of worship.
    Also, I’ve heard annecdotally that churches that require rather significant discipline and service from their congregations actually find it works better than the a-la-carte, easy-come, easy-go version.

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  • robin
    May 31, 2005

    “we give the impression that worship is not very serious and weighty.”
    Worship can’t be fun? God isn’t the one that created fun? At least they addressed the problem that every church in North america faces on a long weekend.
    I agree that always having drive-thru church to appease those that don’t like the church thing may not be the best answer, but at least they’re trying.
    As for the more formal traditional church requirements, there is no doubt that those churches are also used and needed in reaching those outside the church, but please don’t make it seem as though they are any more valuable than the “a-la-carte, easy-come, easy-go version” (which was sort of a slam on churches that aren’t quite as traditional.)

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  • Michael
    May 31, 2005

    I’m with Chris on this one. Gone for the weekend? Fine, find another church in the area you are vacationing at, have devotions and worship with your family or alone…but drive through worship? That really cheapens what church is about.
    We have a weekend celebration coming up, convenient? Not really. But I still look forward to it, because I know it is a time to be challenged and filled up spending time in community (not much community in a drive through) worship God.
    Non-traditional is fine…great even, but easy-com easy-go isn’t what the church experience traditional or non-traditional should be about. I don’t think that’s neccessarily a slam, there are plenty of churches with traditional worship that are ala-carte as well.
    No drive through me…I want the full experience.

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  • Steve Barkley
    May 31, 2005

    I love this blog… this entry is the first one that compelled me to respond.
    Church = ekklesia = assembly/meeting/congregation
    The fundamental nature of church isn’t worship or word–anyone can do that anytime. The point of church is that worship and word are engaged with others.
    OK, I’m done :)

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  • Eliot Landrum
    June 2, 2005

    That’s just bizarre. Fast food church? I don’t understand the point. I don’t think this is exactly giving God the best portion of our time, so why even bother?

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  • Bob
    June 2, 2005

    I just found this site and am compelled to respond almost immediately! I am 100% in agreement with Steve.
    Church is as much about community as anything. This is why I don’t believe that I can worship God fishing on the lake, or sinking a 40 foot putt on the golf course as much of a miracle as THAT would be, or any one of the various activities suggested by people as reasons why they don’t need to “go to church.”
    Note that these communities do not need to be large, and they can even be engaged in alternative worship, (HT to Robin) but they must be about community, seeking God.

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  • robin
    June 3, 2005

    I still don’t think this is the way the church should go. But if it helps out some people that may not darken the door of a church otherwise, I don’t see the fault in it.
    I believe they still offered their service they just added something for those that may not feel comfortable or who may have missed the church “community” altogether that Sunday.
    Again, I don’t think this should replace church but at least they came up with something creative to address the long weekend shrinkage. I don’t think I’d do the drive-thru, but then again I’m an eat-in kind of guy. Although fast food either way isn’t very nourishing.
    Bob what does “HT” stand for?

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  • Todd
    June 3, 2005

    I don’t think you need to be with other believers to worship God, but I do believe that if you’re participating in “drive-thru” church you’re missing out on something and just checking church of your “holiness” list for the week.

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  • M. Joseph
    June 3, 2005

    Getting people used to the idea of Church without Community is a bad idea. And this is what this effort is promoting.
    There are good things and bad things happening here. But, I think the bad out-weigh the good because of the trump card. That is, that parishiners aren’t being encouraged to put God first. They’re encouraged to find a few minutes to work him into their more important schedule.
    That’s my take at least.

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  • Boltono
    June 9, 2005

    The idea of a drive-through church is absolutely stupid!
    It is stupid because a church isn’t a building anyway but a collection of people. “Drive-through” is a mindless, shallow load of balls. Accomplishes nothing. Waste of time! In fact I can’t believe something so pathetic has been done as a serious project!
    People are either followers of Christ or lost in dependency on a drive-through or other growth-limiter laughable spirit-dead concepts created by…..ah….gross….I don’t need to say any more!

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  • Anonymous
    November 14, 2005

    A DRIVE-THRU CHURCH??????? OF ALL THINGS!!!!!!!!!!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS???????? IS THIS SOME KIND OF JOKE???????? I recently read about one of these in Weekly World News, which also claims to have found a drive-thru dentist (stick your head out the window), and Noah’s Ark on Mars, and a man who gave birth to a healthy baby boy. And-MERMAID FOUND IN SARDINE CAN-SHE’S ALIVE!

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  • benson
    January 26, 2006

    Church is on the inside of our hearts but the Bible makes very clear that we are to assemble ourselves together with one another for fellowship. It also saids that where there are two or three, there I am in the midst. So there is no such thing as having church by yourself. The Church is relational and it cannot be relational with a person but with persons, collectively. Who do you talk with? Who do you compare notes with? Wow, we are really straying away from what the Church was built on, fellowship.

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  • Mark H. Hendricks
    June 4, 2006

    Dear Friends:
    I don’t agree with my brother’s congregation on much of anything. This is one of the few on which we agree. As with most reporting, this article doesn’t tell the whole story.
    This was an unorthodox approach at outreach. They aren’t trying to provide an alternative to regular church attendance. Get folks thinking about their faith. Get them to consider God at all! They just might come back or return to their former fellowship. This building is located along a major thoroughfare for folks traveling from Mississippi to Canada! It transports a lot of locals as well. This is the second year they have done this and it has been successful.
    Most of what passes for church marketing is really just stealing from one fellowship to build another. It builds a shallow, selfish congregation of church hoppers. I like this idea because it is aimed completely and unselfishly at the unchurched. It is our job, as brothers and sisters in Christ to disciple folks once they’ve been reached. Discipleship should not be the role of marketing.
    How about optimizing church websites for first page search engine placement, when folks ask about specific communities? Are you hide bound traditionalists? USE IT!!! I go to a cutting edge mega church because that is where I am called. There is a growing population of persons like myself that really miss traditional worship.

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  • Kendall
    September 20, 2007

    There is nothing wrong with going to a quick church session once in a while. The point of church is to show God a little respect.

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