Estero United Methodist Church, at 8088 Lord's Way, has recently rekindled its drive-thru prayer service, after dust and debris from a nearby construction site halted the project nearly three years ago when members initially brainstormed the idea.
Drivers racing down the highway Wednesday nights between 5 and 6:30 simply pull into an area outside the church in Estero, Fla., to receive redemption on their way home, drive-thru prayer service leader Pam Sebby said.
"It's been a godsend," she said. "After we pray over them and bless them, they leave."
The Prayer Warriors, as they call themselves, are a team of eight or nine church members who hold large signs directing traffic off Route 41 highway into the church parking lot.
After the cars pull in - usually five to six 6 a night, Sebby said - the team, clad in fluorescent orange vests, gathers around the vehicle and joins the motorist in prayer. Not surprisingly, they attract a lot of attention from passing motorists who honk and shout at them.
"We pray for them, too," Sebby said.
Despite the popularity of the service, Sebby said, it hasn't necessarily increased the congregation numbers, which peak at around 1,100 in winter. But that's not the motivation, she explained, saying that the church is simply providing a service to reach out to members of the community.
Across the country, other offbeat drive-thru services also provide speedy services for those a little overwhelmed by the fast pace of modern life.
In California, one funeral home set up a drive-thru to allow people to mourn without leaving their cars, while Illinois boasts a giant drive-thru department store where customers can preorder items on the Internet and then drive by to pick them up.
As for the South Florida prayer service, "We hope this spreads throughout the entire United States of America," Sebby said. "A lot of churches can do this. Spreading prayer is what it's all about."