Loch Leven Church is a fairly new church in Kinross. They were celebrating their second anniversary and had planned an outreach event in the town in a big beer tent. Sadly that wasn’t possible because of some last minute changes to the Coronavirus regulations, but the brewery who owned the tent also own a big field close to the town, and allowed the church to use that instead. They were given permission to hold a ‘drive-in service’ and decided to give it a go. I have never done a drive-in service in my life. So preaching to a field full of cars was new, exciting and I have to say – rather strange!
The church are busy fundraising for Rachel House in Kinross, one of the CHAS (Children’s Hospices Across Scotland) hospices doing amazing work in their town – and so a special collection for them was part of the service. So that was really good to be part of.
The church had their worship band on a stage at the front of the field, from where they led us. And then I was invited to speak. I did a talk on “Where is God in the Coronavirus crisis?” which was deliberately pitched at people who are not yet Christians, but may have come seeking answers and seeking for God. Of course, in these contexts (especially when everyone was in cars!) it’s impossible to get much idea who the audience are, because interaction is limited. But we did do a Q&A which had some interesting questions come in. Some of the questions were clearly from Christians asking about some aspects of their faith; but others were more obviously from people exploring Christian faith from the outside, or from the margins. Because we were amplified in the field, there were quite a few people listening in from the adjacent footpath and surrounding area which was great too.
Richard, one of the church leaders there in Kinross explained that it was also really good for people in the town to see that the church is alive, that it is active and has a message to share. It was important too that the church was seen to complying with the relevant Covid-restrictions and was doing something that was completely safe. There was no sense that the church was going to be spreading the disease or harming anyone in Kinross by being thoughtless or cavalier with the virus restrictions. All the attendees were in cars, and the folks on the stage were carefully distancing. The church seemed to have found a great balance between on one hand being a witness for Christ by being public with their faith; but on the other not compromising that witness by being reckless or thoughtless. I really appreciated their attitude!
I also love to see churches being innovative. They normally meet in a school, and that facility is currently unavailable to them. They are not wrestling with the complexities of reopening a building, because they don’t have one, and the building they usually use has been closed to them for the time being. In addition to the online meetings they have been doing they have also been willing to experiment with things like this drive-in service! The challenge for the church is to see what it can do in this strange climate, rather than what it can’t. Loch Leven Church are just brilliant at this.