Christmas Drive Through presented by Bible Baptist Church in Frederick
FREDERICK - For 30 years, Bible Baptist Church has presented its annual Christmas Drive Through a tradition not only of the church but the community. This year the program will be from 7-9:30 p.m. today and Sunday.
For one weekend during the Christmas season, hundreds and hundreds of cars will line 15th Street on the north side of Frederick and wait for hours to see the Christmas Drive Through program from the comfort of their own vehicles. Each year the church has a different theme for the program; this year the theme will be a repeat from one performed years ago a Western-theme program, "For Unto Y'all: A Cowboy Christmas."
"That one is actually a redo of probably our most popular one from about I'd say 20 years ago," said Andrew Hayward, senior pastor. "That's the one people talk about. That's the one people remember, and that's the one we had requested to do again. So I said, 'Let's give it a go.'"
Those driving through the Christmas program will begin at the south side of the back of the church. Free refreshments, cookies and hot chocolate are offered at the beginning of the free program. Each stop will present a different part of the story. No matter the theme each year, the same story of Jesus' birth is consistently told.
"I've seen people come to Christ through this," said Dean Newville, church member and longtime program participant. "... We've actually had people come to know the Lord as their savior and then participate in it. To me, that's the whole thing."
The first Christmas Drive Through was in 1983 or 1984. Since then, the church has presented the program no matter the weather. Church members have sat through freezing temperatures and even ice to keep the tradition going. For the last three decades, the church has had anywhere from 200 to 300 cars go through the program each night it's held. Hayward has been at the church for 4 years, and the Christmas program makes him honored to be a part of the Frederick community.
"Well, as an outsider, as someone who grew up in Michigan, I really love that I can come in and get to just plug in with the community in something that has been around for decades," Hayward said. "It gives me a sense of pride for our community knowing that people will come from Wichita Falls, Lawton and even people from Oklahoma City. I really like that."
The church has had truckloads and buses full of people from several churches from surrounding communities come to town and drive through the program. The church has seen from 600-800 people in a single weekend attend the Christmas Drive Through, and it's no doubt that a good majority of those cars driving through are Frederick residents.
"It's such a blessing knowing that the community supports all the work and effort," Hayward said. "It's one of the reasons why we do it."
Around 90 percent of the Bible Baptist Church members and a few members of other churches participate in the program, Hayward said. In August, the church begins prepping for the program by building and painting sets and rehearsing scenes.