April 24, 2015
Where should the pastor park? This is a more important question than you might at first assume. There is an often-told preacher story that goes something like this: as a gift, the pastor was given a parking spot in the church for his long-time service. He told them that he was so grateful, but really wanted the option of picking the spot. Of course they agreed. As the church members showed up to church the next Sunday, they were surprised to see the pastor’s parking spot nowhere near the front door of the church. They found it in the last and worst parking spot on the property.
This pastor was giving the clue that the proper role of a Christian is not to have a place of privilege, but rather to have the privilege to serve. As I came to St. Andrew, I discovered that this is the culture of pastors at this church. Every Sunday, Robert, Steve, and Scott Engle (and now even more of us) park across Plano Parkway. We have a deal with the owners that enable us to use that property as additional church parking. We even pay for policemen to help us cross the street. Why? Because every spot that is taken over there is an extra spot for visitors or those who are running late nearest the doors. We have the privilege to serve.
Do we need more spots? Absolutely. Over the last few weeks as we have merged service times; the early Well service (now at 9:30) has jumped to over two hundred people! It is amazing! And while this is the service that has the capacity for more growth, it is also the service time that has the fewest extra parking spots. How welcoming is it to a new person who might come late to not find parking?
You might notice that we have recently taken down the visitor parking signs closest to The Well. This was not an accident. Visitor parking signs make new people feel uncomfortable. They don’t want to be identified as visitors, and it makes members uncomfortable because they feel guilty when they park there.
I asked at the beginning – where should a pastor park, but the real question is where should we all park? It isn’t just pastors who have the privilege to serve – we all do. We follow a God who came down and served us. He gave us our example; all we have to do is look around and ask how we can help.