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Drive In Church Service

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  • Drive In Church Service

    Just been contacted about having Church Services at the Drive In. I don't know if this is a Pittsburgh thing or not. My Dad had a drive in within the city of Pittsburgh years ago and they had services every Sunday in the 50's. Just curious if any other drive in operators have done this recently and any pro's or cons.

  • #2
    Interesting idea. Steve speculated on another thread that the current situation might prove to be a business opportunity for drive-ins, and it looks like this is happening. I service one site that consists of 11 indoor screens and two drive-ins: I must check in with them soon and ask, as discretely as possible, whether this is happening. I did a service call to a 21-plex north of LA on Friday, and, while it was open and playing movies (apart from in the downed screen, that I was there to fix) as usual, it was a ghost town. They must be really hurting, and not from the (clinical) symptoms of coronavirus.

    My church went completely online yesterday (Seventh-day Adventist, so services on Saturday). The services are usually televised anyways, but they weren't letting anyone in to the actual sanctuary yesterday. We were wondering whether they actually did two services, or just did the first, recorded it, and broadcast the tape at 11.45 for the second.


    • #3
      Our church, Good Shepherd Lutheran, Missouri Synod, did outdoor services every year from 1953 until the TwiLite theatre closed and became a Menard's.
      The Pastor stood on top of the projection booth / concession stand. We created a special sound board to interface the RCA booth system. It controlled the wired microphone and the reel to reel tape machine signals. There was even a way to cue the segments on the tape without having it broadcast to the cars.

      There was an Easter Sunrise Service at 7 am. That was also fed to the local AM radio station for simulcast.

      Regular services were held at 8:00 am each Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. At that time it was the service where families could come dressed to go to the beach and no one cared.

      I think that something like that would still work now with health concerns being the issue. The audio would be much simpler with modern equipment.



      • #4
        We were contacted by a church yesterday morning about renting our place on Easter Sunday morning at 10am. I told them we didn't have a wireless microphone, but probably did have a way to patch into our sound system. He responded by saying, "Oh, we just plan on showing a prerecorded video on the screens." I had to explain to the young pastor why he couldn't show a video at 10am on the drive-in screens.
        Last edited by Barry Floyd; 03-17-2020, 09:49 AM.


        • #5
          That elusive drive-in matinee!

          Still elusive....


          • #6
            Interesting... Churches around here are a dying breed. Many parishes don't even have a dedicated priest anymore, but most of them are stuck in the stone age. This week we've been asked if we can do live streaming from a few of them, so the elderly, who are most affected by this, still can follow the services from their own church, rather than some generic church service on TV.

            Unfortunately, I fail to find a business model for all the theaters around here that are closed right now...


            • #7
              Originally posted by Barry Floyd
              I had to explain to the young pastor why he couldn't show a video at 10am on the drive-in screens.
              Unless he can find the best part of a million bucks to replace the screen with a Samsung DirectView LED one, in which case he'd be all set.

              I'm wondering how long it will be before someone does this, thereby ushering in the era of drive-in matinees.


              • #8
                The reason the TwiLite had to close was there was a new K-Mart next door and their parking lot lighting spilled on to the screen. No help from the neighbor so the theater closed. (Daylight savings time was the final nail in their coffin)

                We did not use a wireless microphone as the cost outweighed the benefit at the time. Wind noise is a very big enemy of outdoor sound. Wind screen on the RCA Lav was pretty effective at reducing that noise.

                The service was complete with hymns that were recorded at the church with the organ and choir singing in 4 part harmony. Didn't see many people singing while in their cars.

                All of this preceded the drum and guitar music.


                • #9
                  Just got our first request to be an Easter service venue today. Under normal circumstances, we'd do it, sounds fun, and no problem patching in audio into the FM.....but we don't usually open until May and we're ordered closed by law right now anyway.