Spokane church hosts drive-in worship service to combat spread of COVID-19

SPOKANE, Wash. — No matter where you work or worship, COVID-19 has forced all of us to get creative. While some churches have been forced to suspend their services, others in the area are getting creative to usher in a sense of normalcy in the midst of so much uncertainty.

Lead pastor Steve Lympus and his community were bonded together Sunday by faith and an F.M. radio station at Shadle Park Presbyterian Church.

“Our youngest elder, actually, called up—Evan—and he said ‘Steve, just hear me out. What if, instead of going through Taco Bell and getting your Crunch Wrap Supreme, what if it was drive-through Jesus?,'” said Lympus. “Worship is all about being in person and being together, right? We just decided, we will do anything we can to still be in person and be safe.”

When members of the church tuned their radios to 87.7 F.M. Sunday, they were met by Lympus on the other side of the airwaves as he gave his sermon inside, just feet away from the church parking lot. Members could also watch Lympus give his sermon over a Facebook live stream.

“I never thought I’d be so excited to wave through car windows at people I haven’t seen in a week,” he laughed. “This morning I was thinking about some of our people, some of our older people, who haven’t been out for a week. And they went out for the first time today and we got to see them, even through a car window and I was so grateful.”

Like Lympus, Cheryl Hartzog never thought she would attend a drive-in worship service, but was grateful to see her community in any capacity Sunday.

“To be with all of us together, that’s why this is important to me and way better than sitting at home by ourselves,” she said. “Hopefully we get back to live worship services where we can actually have a good conversation.”

Hartzog and other members were able to take communion inside their cars. Others gave to the offering as volunteers walked around the lot extending baskets up to their car windows. Members sang worship songs from their front seat and honked at the end of Sunday’s service.

“The most interesting thing was singing by yourself, because if you sing inside you blend in with everyone else, and if you’re in your car, you have to hear yourself sing,” said Hartzog.

Lympus told 4 News Now the church intends to keep this up as long as necessary, though next week’s service will include time for members to restart their cars in an effort to keep their car batteries from dying.