How to Host a Drive-Through Prayer Event
1. What is a Drive-through Prayer Event?
A drive-through prayer event is a great way for a church or other faith-based organization to reach out to the community through prayer. It also allows the community to participate without leaving the comfort of their vehicle. This article will help you learn how to host a Drive-Through Prayer Event.
2. How does a Drive-Through Prayer Event work?
Drive-through Prayer participants (or guests) drive into the designated location. They stay in their cars while volunteers, standing outside the car, ask about and pray for their needs. Guests receive a parting gift, usually a tract and information about the church or organization. Most people appreciate a bottle of water decorated with a Bible verse. We don’t offer candy or food items because of the potential of food allergies or choking, especially in children.
The traffic flow should be smooth and without unexpected hold-ups. If someone comes for prayer, don’t surprise them with a hard-sell evangelism effort. Instead, consider a “Want to Know More?” station for those interested in knowing more about faith in Christ and a “Get Involved” station for people interested in visiting one of your services or other activities.
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3. Things to consider when you host a drive-through prayer event:
The best site is located close to a well-traveled major road or thoroughfare and has a large parking lot with at least two entrances. A portico or other shelter from inclement weather is helpful. The best day of the week and time of day for the event both depend on traffic flow. Although volunteers are often available in greater numbers on the weekend or after work, the amount of passing traffic is a more important consideration. In addition to a banner in front of your site a week ahead of the event, add signs on the lawn and flyers in local businesses to help generate interest. TV and radio stations may give free publicity as a public service announcement as well. “Tickets” for church members to distribute can generate some interest as well.
4. Set Up:
Reusable signs, placed along the route to direct the flow of traffic, can usually be ordered from your local sign company.
Use volunteers in orange or brightly colored vests to direct cars to the desired location and allow more people to be involved in the outreach. Position at least one person at each entrance and another halfway between the entrance and the prayer site.
Place traffic cones to indicate where to park. You can also use cones to direct the flow of traffic if you don’t have signs. (You can buy 7 plastic traffic cones for $30 here: plastic traffic cones and a 10-pack of yellow high-visibility reflective vests for less than $25 here: high vis vests)
A two-person prayer team, including at least one experienced intercessor, prays with each vehicle’s occupants. This is a great opportunity for a young believer to partner with an intercessor and learn more about prayer. Depending on the duration of the prayer time, you may want to use multiple teams and one-hour prayer shifts.
You will need: volunteers to direct traffic into the prayer station. The number of traffic-directors depends upon the size of your parking lot. You will also need volunteers to pray, to direct cars out of the parking lot, and for evangelism/want-to-know-more/get-involved stations if you decide to include them.
Even the most experienced intercessor can encounter a situation beyond their experience or expertise. Be sure to have a minister, elder, deacon, or another well-experienced person available to assist if needed.
6. Volunteer Support
The gift of a volunteer’s time and service is precious so be sure to receive it with immense gratitude. Depending on the time of day, have coffee/condiments and quick breakfast or light lunch available. Always have bottled water available and, depending on the ambient temperature, you may want to have electrolyte packets to add to water bottles as desired. (These Propel packets are 100 packs for $20 and are a favorite with our volunteers: Propel electrolyte packets) Be sure to have a sign-in sheet for volunteers.
One of the best practices for volunteer retention is a hand-written thank-you note or postcard the week after the event. (Yes, this is a lot of work. It is 100% worth it.)
Volunteers should stand back from the vehicle’s open window to adhere to any social distancing guidelines. Offer a genuine smile and a warm greeting to the tone for the prayer encounter. Volunteers should introduce themselves by their first name (last name optional) when they greet the participants.
Ask, “How can we pray for you today?” and, if necessary, ask for additional information. Allow the participant to share as much or as little as they desire. Both volunteers may pray. Pray as the Holy Spirit directs and use Scripture as your guide. Pray big with the expectation of Ephesians 3:20. He is able to do more than we can ask or think. You may want to take prayer requests for ongoing prayer but be sure you have a plan to protect the participant’s privacy. Tell them up front who will see the requests and how you intend you use them. IF we accept prayer requests, we use first names only.
Don’t forget to thank the participants for coming by and offer them a parting “gift.” A tract (available by donation from the Gospel Tract and Bible Society) and information about the church/organization’s services, contact information, website, and any social media accounts. We use a small white bag to hold both pieces of information and decorate it with a colorful Scripture sticker. They’re available for purchase here: White Bags
9. Additional Stations:
In addition to “Want to Know More?” and “Get Involved” stations, children enjoy a play station with coloring or craft activities. Consider a coat give-away station during cooler weather or a school supplies station in late summer. Be creative and look for ways to bless and engage with your visitors.
10. After you host a drive-through prayer event:
Be sure to meet with your team within a few days of your event to talk and make notes about what went well, what needs improvement, and what you want to be sure to keep for next time.
(C) copyright Leanna Lindsey Hollis M.D. 7/2021
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