ALTO, La. (KNOE) - Down Highway 15 on a dreary Sunday the sound of a church bell can be heard coming from Alto Baptist Church. Due to limitations on meetings of large groups, you won't find a normal Sunday service or group of around 100 worshipers like usual. Instead, a parking lot full of attendees were in their cars as music minister Jay Ellerman led them in song and Dr. Alan Miller preached from the church porch.
“Alan-he called me,” Ellerman says. “I guess it was Thursday and said can you come to Alto? I got a crazy idea.”
Dr. Alan Miller, the pastor of Alto Baptist Church, says that crazy idea attracted over 20,000 views on Facebook resulting in the crowd that showed on Sunday.
“We had people here on this parking lot that I've never seen on this parking lot,” Miller says.
Ida and Buddy Bradshaw have been members of Alto Baptist Church for around 30 years but have never seen anything like this.
“The message really touches your heart,” Ida says.
“It shows your faith in God to get out and worship Him,” Buddy says.
Though it is quite the change from a normal Sunday at Alto, the substitute was well received.
“I love this church family and it hurts me that I can't be a part and touch them right now,” Miller says. “But I love them, and they know that. And we're going to do what we can to help meet the needs of the people of our church and our community.”
A simple half-hour of hope in a time of darkness and uncertainty can make a difference.
“People are needing community,” Miller says. “They're needing the Lord Jesus. They need to hear messages of hope and peace during times like these. This is the time for the church to rise up and present to the world that our only hope, our only peace is in Jesus.”
If limitations against large gatherings continue, the church plans to continue having drive-in services.