As church attendance continues to decline in the United States, some parishes are doing what they can to draw congregants: embracing social media, loosening dress codes, and even altering service times for big sporting events, the NPR (National Public Radio) website reports today (March 4, 2014).
At the Daytona Beach Drive-In Christian Church in Florida, people park in rows on the grass facing an altar on the balcony of an old drive-in theater. To hear the service, they switch on their radios.
Pastor Bob Kemp-Baird was skeptical of the church's approach when he was first recruited two years ago, but now says he understands that the worship style works for his congregation.
Some parishioners say the drive-in approach is perfect for those who have trouble walking or for restless children who enjoy the open space. Others say they revel in the ocean air and Florida sunshine. And some say they like that the church welcomes the whole family, including pet dogs. When ushers hand out Communion, even the dogs get treats.