Collin County pastor launches drive-in church




Posted on August 28, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 30 at 3:49 AM

Lovejoy High School

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LUCAS, Texas — Fast food joints have them. Banks and pharmacies have them.

So why not churches, too?

Drive-thrus may not be the most traditional route to get folks in church, but it's working in the town of Lucas, in southeast Collin County.

On Sunday, for the first time ever, under the glaring Texas sun, in near triple-digit heat, churchgoers like Gene Schulle grabbed a worship bulletin, tuned their car radios, and focused on the view in front of them.

"This is the first time I've ever worn shorts to church," said a giggling Schulle.

He and a group of others parked their cars outside Lovejoy High School in Lucas for what Presbyterian Church of the Master billed as a "Sanctuary Under the Sky."

Hugo Hernandez loves the concept. "This is nice," he said.

Without ever getting outside of their cars, parishioners drive to their favorite spot and sit behind the wheel for a worship service that includes all the familiar music, prayers and a full sermon.

J.P. Gregoriew pulled in for a sample. "This is the first go-round; let's give it a shot," he said.

Dotty Claybrook said the direct contact with nature appeals to her. She's turned off by mega-churches and open groups, and prefers a more intimate setting — alone in her car.

She realizes folks may criticize the idea, but Claybrook has faith in Pastor David Ray. "He's making a difference," she said.

This is the third drive-thru church that Ray has launched with a primary mission of reaching the "un-churched," something he thinks Jesus approve of.

"I think He would like it. His stuff was outdoors, Ray said. "A lot of trouble He had was indoors."

Sanctuary Under the Sky services are held at 9 a.m. every Sunday in the north parking area at Lovejoy High School, but traditional indoor services follow inside the school's commons area at 10:30 a.m.