Worshipers come as they are, stay in car at Manatee County drive-in church

At Happy Gospel Church in Manatee County, times haven't been so happy because social distancing caused members to miss out on weekly services. 

"They're missing church, believe it or not,” said youth pastor Richard Cine. “They’re missing the community aspect." 

The drive-in church service is an old-fashioned idea meant to change the loneliness and hopelessness many are feeling. 

"We miss the air conditioning inside and the cool lights and stuff, but it’s the same sprint inside that will be outside," said Cine. 

The inside of the church will be closed off, but Cine and Bill Bailey, pastor, invite guests to "come as you are and stay in your car." 

"This was an idea that we thought we could bring our church family together and people in the community together," Bailey explained. 

The stage is set and Mother Nature couldn't have picked a more serene setting. 

You don’t have to worry about being the first in line or the first with a parking lot, the field has enough space for everyone to worship together, but safely apart.

"There’s something about us coming together, no man is an island,” Bailey said. “When we come together and worship people of like faith, it uplifts, it encourages and in times like these we really need that encouragement.”

Encouragement to lift one another up and remind each person, we're in this together. 

"This service tonight will be a service of hope, a service of inspiration a service where we can come together worship God, pray together and believe this too shall pass," said Pastor Bailey. 

The service starts at 7 p.m. at Happy Gospel Church at 1915 53rd Avenue East in Bradenton.