Drive-In Gospel Meetings – Northern Ireland

In 2020, much of the world ‘stood still’ because of a global pandemic! Suddenly all areas of our lives were affected, our work life, our home life, and our assembly life. Due to government restrictions, assemblies had no choice but to shut the doors of their buildings and we were confined to our homes.

At first, it appeared a tragedy that there could no longer be a Sunday evening gospel meeting in the hall. However, for many assemblies this has turned out to be a blessing, due to the success of drive-in gospel meetings.

Sadly, with reducing attendance, the Sunday evening gospel meeting was becoming a less effective method of evangelizing compared to the situation for previous generations. However, as a result of the pandemic, with restrictions on meeting in buildings in place for many months, innovative ways had to be considered to carry out the great commission of the Saviour to His disciples, ‘And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’, Mark 16. 15.

Without changing the message, many assemblies were forced to change the methods of reaching out to the lost and perishing, and so emerged the drive-in gospel meeting, which has been a great success!

So, why are the unsaved, who previously would never enter through the door of a hall, willing to come to a drive-in gospel meeting?

  • Many drive-ins are located in neutral venues like public car parks, or on private property, thus not associated with a ‘religious’ building.
  • People feel more relaxed and comfortable in the confines of their own cars, not feeling they must dress up.
  • The meetings are shorter, no longer than half an hour and usually with one speaker.
  • On entering, people are greeted with a friendly smile and made very welcome.
  • Prior to the meeting commencing, as the cars are driving in, some assemblies play appropriate gospel hymns, thereby creating a welcoming atmosphere.
  • During the height of the pandemic, it was safe for the vulnerable to come to the drive-in gospel meeting, sit in their car and hear the gospel without having to mix with other people.
  • For others, it was a place to go, just to get out of the house!
  • As all church services were cancelled, believers and unbelievers from different denominations willingly came along to listen to the plain, clear presentation of the gospel.

God is not limited to saving souls in Gospel Halls! Indeed, many of those who were converted in the Acts of the Apostles were saved outdoors, on the roadside, or by the riverside. Even on wet Sundays in Northern Ireland, the drive-in gospel meeting continues, as the message can be heard through the car radio. Some assemblies, having realized the great benefit of drive-in gospel meetings, have invested in Public Address systems and some have even fitted out vans for the specific purpose. Many assemblies are not only having a drive-in gospel meeting each Lord’s Day but have arranged meetings every night of the week for several weeks, and these have also been well attended.

As an example of how successful and encouraging drive-in gospel meetings have been, a particular assembly in County Down has been greatly blessed with one hundred or more cars each Sunday afternoon, with at least three hundred people hearing the gospel at every meeting. Only forty would have previously attended their Sunday evening gospel meeting, with very few unsaved present. This success has not been achieved without toil and effort on the part of the believers. Over two thousand invitation cards given out in the district, personal contact with friends and neighbours and a good testimony in the area, all contributed to the success. The Lord has not only blessed numerically, but the gentleman who lent the trailer for the gospel meetings trusted Christ as his Saviour and has recently gone home to glory. Others have been saved and baptized following the drive-in gospel meetings. Each meeting is recorded and posted on various social media platforms. In total, there are at least five hundred people who hear the message of the gospel every Sunday, either live at the drive-in, or through the recorded message later in the afternoon! It is truly amazing what God has done during a pandemic!

Not only have drive-in gospel meetings been successful in relation to the unsaved that attend, but there is an evident change in the attitude of many believers. With renewed vigour and zeal, they are reaching out to family and friends, inviting them to come and hear the message of the gospel.

God is blessing many drive-in gospel meetings in the salvation of the lost in this part of the United Kingdom and to Him alone is ascribed all glory, honour, and praise!

In these strange and unprecedented days in which we live, as we await the soon coming again of our Lord and Saviour, may we allow the Holy Spirit to reignite in our hearts the flame of evangelism, as we reach out to a world of perishing sinners in need of our Saviour!

Maybe the drive-in gospel meeting is a method that others could use for the furtherance of the gospel, for the encouragement of the believers, for the salvation of the unsaved and for the glory of God.


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