Drive-through ministry helps church connect to the community, reach new members

Posted Nov. 09, 2012, at 4:07 p.m.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — You want that blessing to go?

Not a problem. Centerpointe Christian Church in Lexington, Ky., has offered drive-through prayers to those who need them since Easter.

Church volunteers offer the prayers tailored to the concerns of each carload that comes through the two-lane prayer carrel at the church. Drive-through prayers are offered on the third Wednesday of each month.

If the drive-through prayer ministry becomes really successful — and so far, church members say it has drawn a good response — the service may be offered on a weekly basis.

“We drive by unaware of what people carry daily,” said Rex Hughes, who is in charge of the church’s prayer ministry. “It’s eye-opening. It’s touching. It’s a simple way to reach out to our community and say, ‘We’re going to love you.”

Volunteers stand by as drivers stop. Driver and passengers are asked to relay concerns for which prayers are said. The information is written on a card, which is used for additional prayer later, organizers said.

If participants are willing to offer an email address, they will receive additional information from the church. Rex Hughes, who is in charge of the church’s prayer ministry, said that the church is gaining some members from the ministry.

The idea for the drive-through prayer ministry came from a church member who had heard of its operation at another church, he said.

“It’s really taken off,” Hughes said.

During its two-hour session, the church has had anywhere from 15 to 26 people drive through seeking prayer.

Brian Bolton, pastor of the independent Christian church which was founded in November 2004 and draws 230 to 250 worshipers each week, said that the drive-through prayer ministry, along with such events as the church’s “Trunk or Treat” outdoor Halloween celebration, are part of its “vision and passion to connect with those who are disconnected.”

“Our mission is to connect with our community,” Bolton said. “We have a huge heart to love our community.”

The drive-through prayer ministry is gaining traction around the country, according to church Web sites from Florida to California to Illinois. Also gaining popularity nationally is another method to energize prayer ministries a step beyond telephone prayer chains and email: prayer paging, in which your cell phone alerts you each time a prayer is said on your behalf.

The Centerpointe church hopes to see congregational growth from its drive-through ministry, which introduces potential members to the church quickly, Hughes said.

“You’re one foot in the door almost,” Hughes said.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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