Although there have long been outdoor or “drive-in” churches, a number of congregations have taken the concept further and started “drive-through” churches.
The Philadelphia Inquirer (May 28) reports that churches are “embracing what community banks and pharmacies have utilized for decades: the drive-through.” These churches hold drive-through hours where they offer prayer and other services, seeing it as entry point to congregational life for the unchurched. Drive-through congregations have started in Lancaster, Pa., Wichita, Kan., Richmond, Va., Aurora, Ill.; and Modesto, Calif.
These churches are particularly targeting the growing young non-affiliated population, who may be intimidated to enter churches. The feeling of newcomers that they will be judged by a church group, makes the private nature of drive-through churches appealing, writes Terri Aikman. Hope United Methodist in Voorhees, Pa. actually bought and refurbished a bank, retaining its drive-in window for religious purposes.