The PenChurch

Churches Hold Parking Lot Services To Avoid Breaking Unconstitutional Decrees

In these perilous times, having church services are becoming rarer and rarer.

Governments are enacting bans on social gatherings, with some making it a crime to have as few as 5 people together, and a wave of arrests for the non-compliant pastors has already begun, kick-started by yesterdays arrest of megachurch pastor Rodney Howard Brown, with many more to follow.

Most of Christendom is fully in support of the edict. Churches are closing left, right and centre. From The ERLC Telling Churches They Have Close if Government Demands It, to Christianity Today Comparing Having Church Amid COVID-19 To Snake Handling, everywhere you look there is some religious leader blasting foolish churches for resisting the call to close up shop and take the show online.

We are not unsympathetic to Churches who feel they ought to do this for the protection and well being of their flocks. In fact, we have started a GoFundMe to acquire webcams for small churches to stream their services, and the response has been overwhelming and has shown much need. If you can give, we still need your help. We’ve also pleaded with readers to Stop Armchair Quarterbacking Church Cancelations, asking that grace be shown for those that do, and for those who do not.

But here we wanted to introduce to another way, where you don’t have to cancel Church or stream services online.

In the latter article, Pastor Jordan Hall writes:

At Fellowship Baptist Church, we will not be closing our doors despite requests from state government leaders that groups of more than 50 people disband or President Trump’s request that groups of over ten people postpone their meetings. In the most simple terms possible, we reject the notion that any government instituted by men can overrule any government instituted by God. While we all strive to adhere to Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 (both of which instruct us to obey our governing authorities), the traditional teachings on these passages iterate that government cannot overrule God.

However, in a church that is entirely under the age of 60, our decision to remain open is easier. Along with a healthy and independent Montana attitude that doesn’t like being bossed around by things like microscopic viruses (or blizzards), our decision is next to common sense. Changing how we meet (spacially), changing how we observe communion, dispensing with our ‘greet time’ and no longer ‘passing the plate’ we pray will be enough.

In relation to the Church service that FBC held on Sunday, Hall explains:

We did the song service in the lawn, but got back in their vehicles to hear the sermon over FM, then we brought communion to the curbside

Using these methods, a smaller church could purchase an FM transmitter for around 130$ that broadcasts on a specific FM station about 150 feet in all directions. The pastor preaches into a microphone and the sermon is piped into the cars and trucks, while the congregation stays together in their vehicles, creating no exposure. They can worship together, take communion, hear prayers for the sick, and not forsake the assembly of believers. And unlike the live-streamed services that will go out on the Lord’s day, this will actually be a church service. Even if you don’t have an Fm transmitter: you still have a microphone. And even if you don’t have a microphone, you have those vocal pipes which should be already seasoned by open -air preaching to give your flock the Word of God.

And it’s not just small churches who are able to take advantage of this model, even megachurches, such as Victory Church in Oklahoma have taken advantage of their resources, blasting worship and service to all congregants in the parking lot.

As far as happy mediums that balance all considerations, we believe this one is best suited, and out to be a serious consideration for anyone uncertain about which direction to go.