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Church News

'We preached the gospel and we worshipped Jesus', England's first drive-in church marks first service

by Marcus Jones

While churches are still prevented from holding physical gatherings, a congregation in Newquay has found a novel way of gathering together.

They've binned their laptops and taken to the car, swapping online services for drive-in church.

The idea came from Pastor Matt Timms who found his congregation was struggling as a result of lockdown.

"They were really missing that worship experience," he said.

"After a 40 day journey of prayer and fasting through lockdown, Sally (his wife) and I had a clear word from the Lord and it was this: 'Take my church outside'"

That word led Timms on a journey with a number of road blocks.

Working with a couple of other local churches, he wanted to use a car park large enough for lots of cars, so worked with the local council, who initially were keen but then had reservations over health and safety and questioned whether this was essential.

After gaining some help from the Christian Legal Centre, he was given the go-ahead.

"People were safe but the message just got out there.

"We preached the gospel and we worshipped Jesus. It was a glorious moment."

Timms is now grappling with what the rest of the summer looks like now that open air church has been so successful.

He's also encouraging other churches to think creatively about how they will be able to re-introduce gatherings but not to go off on a whim.

"This whole vision wasn't just a crazy idea we'd dreamed up in our heads. We'd gone through a season of prayer.

"Forget strategies and working with councils unless you know God is calling you to do it.

"When you know God has called you to do something, when you get that resistance, don't forget prayer and intercession."

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