Social distancing while staying together, Local churches give sermons over the radio at 66 Drive In Theatre

66 Drive In Theatre in Carthage provided their FM transmitted system to local churches to use on location
Route 66 Drive In Theatre

“You became part of it when you weren’t sure if you were going to be able to or not” said Bill Johnson, a member of the Carthage First United Methodist Church as he experienced a radio church service.

With a turn of the dial to FM 106.5…church members, like Bill Johnson and his wife could sit comfortably in their cars and listen to their Pastor’s sermon.

“He doesn’t ask much for himself, he does so much to give to the congregation.”

And it was because of Pastor David Fowler and the owner of Route 66 Drive In Theatre in Carthage, Nathan McDonald that this unique church service was made possible.

“When I was a young man I read a book by Robert Schuller, and this is how he started his church out in California, preaching from the top of a snack shake at a drive in theater and that church ended up being the crystal cathedral out there. And so, we couldn’t be together and we couldn’t be in our own church building so we decided we’d do this. I contacted the theater owner to see if he was open to it and he was” said Pastor Fowler.

“With the current conditions we’re in as a nation, we thought why not give people number 1 the opportunity to still go to church and number two still have the opportunity to get out of the house and go to church but an opportunity that still presents our social physical distancing that we’re required to do” added McDonald.

Pastor Fowlers sermon came through the speakers inside of peoples cars, as he himself stood atop the drive in’s building, braving the cold and providing a visual to the service as he preached into the radio transmitter and played music.

“The hope is that it’ll catch on, people will enjoy it and that it’ll be a way to be social separate, but together.”

Many churches are joining in, the Carterville First Baptist Church had an evening service the same day. The drive in is letting any congregation come.

“We’re going to do it every Sunday, were going to give them a chance to do it every Sunday until life goes back to normalcy” added McDonald.

And for Bill and his wife, they’re looking forward to the next service.

“I thought it was different, I’m going to save the program to remind me.”

There are limited time slots available to churches wanting to utilize the opportunity.
It is free to the church and members

If you want to reserve a spot for your church, you can email the drive in at or through private message on Facebook.