WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – A Waco church celebrated both a milestone and a musician for its 30th anniversary.

Church Under the Bridge Pastor Jimmy Dorrell says the congregation is known for meeting under Interstate 35 at 4th Street in Waco – but has been meeting for the past four years at an alternate site while the interstate has been under construction.

Before the start of its 30th anniverary service on Sunday morning, the congregation sang “I Love This Church” – which is a parody of a 2003 country song by Toby Keith called “I Love This Bar.” Keith’s fight with stomach cancer has been well documented over the past six months.

Church Under the Bridge members Landon Dodd and Janet Dorrell customized the lyrics to celebrate the church’s ministry in 2004. The alternate version came to be when Dodd spent a night in the McLennan County Jail shortly after the success of “I Love This Bar.” He borrowed a pen and paper and by the next morning had composed the first draft of the song. The lyrics include:

“I love this church, it’s my kind of place. Just poppin’ over the curb. Puts a big smile on my face. It ain’t too far, Come as you are. Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm……I love this church.”

The performance of “I Love This Church” was at the pre-church service, and again during the service. “We hope that singing our version of Toby Keith’s song may help lift his spirits as he knows that we men, women, and children of faith are praying for his healing and recovery,” says Pastor Dorrell. “His song led to our own version that has touched a lot of hearts. We are grateful for his gift to us, and we’re honored to share our gift to him.”

The day’s activities started at 7:30 a.m. with the Walk of the Homeless before the group arrived at the Magnolia Silos at 10 a.m. Free meals were provided by various churches for those who needed them. The service included milestone memories which have occurred through the three-decade life of the church.

Pastor Dorrell says the Church Under the Bridge is a multicultural and nondenominational church which has attracted crowds as large as 275 before the pandemic when meeting under Interstate 35. The construction, combined with the pandemic and alternate location, has resulted in an average crowd size of 225.

The service took place at Magnolia Press, located at 418 S. 8th Street in Waco.

For more information on the annual Walk of the Homeless event, you can view our previous story here.