In 1947, Rev. Norman Hammer invented something remarkable: A drive in church in Southern California. Wait a minute – I thought Robert Schuller invented that. Nope. It was Norman Hammer – someone you’ve probably never heard of before today. At the time, the 36 year old pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in North Hollywood drove past an outdoor movie theater and the radical thought hit him -
why not hold a church service right here in the drive in?
So on July 10, 1949, what’s believed to be the first drive in church service was born. Years later at the old Orange Drive In, in 1955, Robert Schuller picked up on the idea and become famous. Schuller eventually built the Crystal Cathedral and created a national television program. Although today, they recently filed for bankruptcy with more than $43 million in debt. But because of his early success, he became much more widely known than Hammer for his early drive-in movie theater services.
Pastor Norman Hammer never got the credit he deserved, but he was an innovator. Say what you like, but he acted on a wild idea. It proved to be more successful with Schuller, but Hammer was the guy that started it all. Others may be better marketers than you, and they may take your idea and run with it. But never let that stop you from being creative, and answering God’s call to step outside the “box.”
The idea is the thing. And besides, God does the ultimate accounting….