A church in Florida is offering a new service to those driving through the area. Every Friday, members of a local Pentecostal congregation have been gathering together to provide a drive-thru prayer service.
What was described by the Sun-Sentinel as an alternative to a Happy Hour stress-reliever, people who could use a pick me up in the Fort Lauderdale area on Fridays after work now have the option to turn to prayer.
For the past five Fridays, volunteers from the Christian Life Center have been waving to those driving by towards their driveways, offering to share prayer. The prayer can be anything, from health, financial or familial issues to just having a bad day at work. Anyone coping with a problem, big or small, is welcomed in prayer.
"Many times they're at the end of their rope, and a lot of them have never come to church," says Outreach Pastor Sol Levy, who leads the ministry. "This is less intimidating."
The new service is just over a month old, but drive-thru traffic has increased from approximately 20 cars to 150 in a two-hour time period in these five weeks. There are about 10 volunteers from the congregation, half of the volunteers pray with those who pull up, while the remaining half hold signs up with messages such as "Having a Bad Day? Free Prayer."
"A lot of people are so busy these days; I don't always get a chance to go to church anymore," Susan Lee, in her SUV last week, having just finished praying with a volunteer, told the Sun-Sentinel. "This isn't everything I need, but it's a good pick-me-up."
In a society that gravitates towards convenience, it is perhaps not surprising that this type of service has emerged, as has in other areas of lifestyle. Today drive-thrus are available for many types of products and services. This doesn't mean, however, the churches are looking to create "drive-thru congregations."
"We really want them in there," said Levy, as he pointed to the doors of the church. "They need more than a prayer. They need a relationship with Jesus."
Drive-thru prayer services are a growing trend across the U.S., having appeared in several states. There are other churches in Texas, Utah, Michigan, Georgia, and California are also offering people a chance to pull in and pray. Some offer water bottles or doughnuts.
This is a new service for the southern Florida church, but one that might be expanded by the Christian Life Center to additional days and/or hours at some point. The decision will be made at some time in the future.