by DeDe Bull Reilly
Because of COVID-19 safety restrictions, McEachern Memorial UMC has shifted faith formation for little people from inside the building this summer to the parking lot. Children remain in their vehicles to celebrate Jesus as a family.
I’d spoken with many churches doing drive-in church well for their adults knowing there were children in the vehicles. We wanted to do drive-in church well for kids knowing their adults were in the vehicles.
Considerations were multi-sensory, hands-on, all-skate, Bible reading, give tools and practice for family prayer, car-chat discussion, games, a noisy offering response, kid-friendly contact collection, follow-up, a sound system, smooth traffic flow, a take-away, 20 minutes, Jesus content, leave ‘em smiling. Service were at 6 pm (1st grade & younger), 7 pm (2nd & 3rd graders), 8 pm (4th & 5th graders). If a family has multiples, they pick their service.
Volunteers close to the vehicles were masked and gloved. We used our current Sunday school curriculum as the starting point for planning.
Here are notes for our first week of the summer:
Hand-written follow-up postcards were mailed out the following Monday to mailing addresses as a thank you for coming and an invite to come back followed with an email reminder for the next Thursday to go out on Wednesday morning. Content is not king. Connection is king. It’s all about the growing of our relationships.
After a successful first week, Drive-In worship for kids has continued this summer. Each week has offered a different experience. For example: an emcee was added to week #2; a send-out station at the end on week #3; and week #4 ended with a drive-thru pool party and water!
Jeff Henderson is an entrepreneur, speaker, pastor, business leader, and author of Know What You’re FOR: A Growth Strategy for Work, An Even Better Strategy for Life. In a recent talk about Three Strategies For Re-entry, he said, “Don’t let your customer grow accustomed to doing life without you.” We don’t have customers; we have disciples of Jesus and we are responsible for one another. We need each other, we’re better together, we’re wired for community, and drive-in church on Thursday evenings this summer will allow us to continue to safely do life together with littles and their bigs.
The biggest win? The big people in the lives of our little people are the heroes here. These bigs are leading their kids/grandkids to keep their eyes on Jesus and their eyes out for other people. We are just providing the setting and the sacred space.
“I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:23
Dede Bull Reilly is a children's ministry champion and serves as Director of Children's Ministries at McEachern Memorial UMC in Powder Springs. Read the full post on her blow at https://dedebullreilly.wordpress.com/2020/06/09/a-drive-in-church-for-kids/