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Rock Church holds drive-thru worship services

FRANKLIN

Founding pastors David and Patty Dillon pray for everyone as they exit the parking lot. Submitted | Megan Woodward

The Rock Church of Franklin, like most churches in the United States, has closed its doors to the public in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but that didn’t stop its congregation from attending Sunday services on March 15.

Instead of meeting inside the sanctuary, though, congregants rolled through the church parking lot for a “drive-thru” church experience. The event began with a “pic and paper” combo, during which attendees parked their cars and received a roll of toilet paper from the church supply closet, after first taking a photo from the safety of their vehicles. As they drove along, live worship music was played and everyone was encouraged to “sing loud” and worship in their cars. Then came what Rock Church Co-Pastor Jill Dillon called the “main course,” where each car was offered an individualized scripture and word of encouragement. After a quick stop for announcements, each car was offered a prayer – for the local school systems, first responders, hospitals, children, the elderly and more.

“We would like to commend the church across America for rising to this challenge,” Dillon said. “The church is not a building in which you congregate, but we the people are the church of America and we will rise above these circumstances.”

“We believe that we live in a city that can not be held down, not by mill closings, floods, the coronavirus or anything else,” she added. “The city of Franklin is worth fightinf for, so keep your chin up during this current season. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean isolation and loneliness. Lets’s do what small towns do best – let’s be neighborly and continue to show the world that the human race always wins because of the God that lives within us! Phone to phone, car to car, through a window, through the mail or however you can find a way … keep connecting. We might need to stop gathering in large groups, but we can still connect and show the love of Jesus, one person at a time. If you are struggling and need help, reach out.”

This past Sunday, March 29, was supposed to be the soft opening for the Ben S. Dillon Life Center, which includes new classrooms for the Rock Church School, as well as a new gymnasium to serve as the home court of the school’s basketball team, the Rock Lions. Instead of the planned soft opening, the church again had a drive-in service so everyone could stay in their cars at a safe, social distance. To listen to the worship service, all that was necessary was for congregants to tune into 89.3 on their car radios.

“Jesus is ever present, even outside your car,” Dillon said.