DeKALB – Local churches are coming together to pray in an unconventional way because of the threat of the coronavirus COVID-19.
A community drive-in worship service will be held 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21, in the parking lot of School Tool Box, 12107 Barber Greene Road in DeKalb.
The non-denominational Christian worship service is sponsored by DeKalb County Area Evangelical pastors and organized by about a dozen DeKalb County churches.
The worship service will allow people to stay in their cars and tune in to a radio station. The worship service, which will last about an hour, will feature a small worship band, prayers, preaching and announcements of volunteer opportunities.
Stephen Persson, pastor at large of First Baptist Church of Sycamore, said the idea for the event came after a discussion during a weekly prayer group of pastors on Wednesday.
“When we met, we talked about ways we could help, how we could share a worship experience and provide information about ways people could volunteer in the community,” Persson said. “It’s important for people to know they have the support of the local churches. They’re in their prayers and they have a place to turn to for help. We’re hoping it will encourage people. It may become a weekly event depending on the response we get.”
Persson said most churches are not holding services, they have turned to live stream capabilities to remain connected with their congregation online and through social media.
“We wanted to provide a semblance of regularity and of meeting together,” Persson said. “Although we have denominational churches, we are all followers of Jesus. We should cooperate with one another, not compete. We should unite, follow Jesus, preach the good news and pray together.”
Brandon Arneson, lead pastor at Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church in DeKalb and the speaker at the drive-in worship service, said his message will be “hope in Jesus.”
“It’s important for people to come together and worship together because we draw strength from each other,” Arneson said. “Even though we can’t physically be close to one another because of social distancing, we want to provide a place in the community where people can gather safely in solidarity and in worship to God.”
Arneson said that with the threat of the coronavirus, “we must bring hope and healing to our community and make sure everyone knows that they are loved.”
Judy Lovellette, a member of First Baptist Church of Sycamore, is helping plan and organize the event as “a way to gather, pray with and support her community.”
“At this time of high stress in the country, a time of unknown of what will happen, it’s very comforting to come to God and to come together as a Christian community to know we’re not alone and have supporters,” she said.
The group of churches also works together to organize a cross walk and worship service on Good Friday, a prayer event on the DeKalb County Courthouse steps on the National Day of Prayer, and See You at the Pole, an international movement of students to pray together at start of the school year.
In the future, the churches will collaborate to support Global 2020, an international outreach that encourages people during the month of May to share the good news. A concert of prayer will be held at Vineyard Church DeKalb, 1051 S. Fourth St. in DeKalb, at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 17.
For more information about the upcoming community drive-in worship service, call 815-375-2004.