Drive-in Church Gets a Welcome Visit

July 30, 2020 | Church | Jim John

The dark, unfamiliar SUV pulled into the line of cars getting positioned for the start of Anchorage Northside’s drive-in church at the Anchorage Junior Academy parking area. This vehicle had never seen before. Being able to quickly recognize a variety of different vehicles has become a new and developing skill set for many church leaders ministering at drive-in church services around the Pacific Northwest and beyond. 

Each week at the conclusion of the worship service, the pastor, Jim John, and his wife, Darla, quickly head to the exit to greet and encourage their church family as they leave. The unfamiliar SUV slowly pulled up to where the pair stood waiting. After introductions, the young couple were asked how they heard about the drive-in church. Their response will forever stay with Jim: “Our church has been closed since COVID-19, and so we started just reading our Bibles at home on Sunday mornings. We had never actually read our Bibles before, and we started wondering why we don’t keep the seventh-day Sabbath holy anymore. We did some research and found out about your drive-in church. So, here we are!”

Their short testimony was so unexpected. They definitely noticed the smiles and excitement. The line of cars was growing behind this special couple and their two small children in the SUV. The Johns motioned for them to pull to the side to visit longer with them. The next 30 minutes of sharing, laughing and praying together was a gift from God and helped all realize the extra work of organizing drive-in church paled in light of the eternal results inside the (now familiar) SUV in front of them.

The frail efforts of providing a COVID-compliant venue outside during the beautiful Alaska summer has seen Holy Spirit-filled gatherings of graduations, baptisms, worship services and three weddings — all quietly broadcasted on 99.9 FM through a tiny, 7-watt radio transmitter from atop a small wooden platform on a grassy hill, ringed by trees behind the school. It serves as a reminder of what the Lord said to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6, NKJV).