First Baptist Church in Ocala holds Drive-in worship service for congregation

OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) --

Church gatherings may be suspended but at the First Baptist Church of Ocala, residents were still able to attend the Sunday morning service.
We'll show you how church leaders are continuing to offer worship services while practicing social distancing.

Tv20's Landon Harrar reported from the empty main sanctum, "normally on a Sunday these pews can fit up to 2500 people but with the need to no longer congregate in large crowds, these pews sit empty. However, that doesn't mean the worship has stopped, it's all happening just outside."

Last week pastors streamed a service online where they preached in front of an empty sanctum. This week they decided to try something which would get people a little more involved.

Senior pastor Darren Gaddis explained, "a church is not a building it's a gathering of people and we needed to gather as best we can. So we just began to dream about how we could meet the expectations of the government but still gather together and the drive-in approach was born."

Troy Ward who attended the service with his children and has been a church member since 2010 said, "I remember going to drive-ins watching movies this was a little similar. The message was awesome and sitting in the car with my kids and hearing God's word was pretty powerful."

Church leaders came up with the idea on Wednesday and weren't sure how many would show up on Sunday.
Pastor Gaddis said, "We were thrilled not knowing how people would respond, to see over 300 cars filled up with people coming to worship we knew we were meeting a need that was not being met."

Ward added, "We saw all of our friends we saw everybody we come to church with normally just sitting in cars next to us so there was a little interaction."

People stayed in their cars as the service was broadcast through their radios. Pastor Gaddis says as long as the government allows them to meet in this fashion they'll be doing it every Sunday until they can once again meet in the main sanctum.