Aug 6, 2008

Would Jesus Have A Reserved Parking Space at Church?

Alright. I know the answer to my question already is that Jesus didn't have a car, was a vagabond, and walked everywhere he went. I got it. Now, assuming that Jesus was transported into our culture where a car is an invaluable asset, my question is, "Would Jesus have his own reserved parking space closest to the door at the church?"

The prompting for this question was a recent visit to a church where as I drove through the lot looking to park, I saw a reserved parking space for not only the senior pastor, but his wife. Now, I am not saying this is right or wrong. I mean to pass no judgment. I am simply asking if this is a protocol that is led by the Holy Spirit. I understand the desire by many to hold the role of pastor in high esteem, and rightly so. As one who is called to this work, it is a holy calling. It is a calling only fully understood by those who have it. As John Piper says in The Supremacy of God in Preaching, there is a "gravity and gladness" to this work.

I know that Scripture says that "In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel." (1 Corinthians 9:14). It also says "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching." (1 Timothy 5:17). However, is a reserved parking spot what Paul meant by "double honor"? Does a senior pastor position command a six figure salary, a reserved parking spot, and a country club membership? Or have we brought too much of our CEO mentality and business acumen into the church that we have lost the meaning of ministry in the first place?

I do not claim that I know the answer to my question. I also do not think that my church or our leadership at Westwood is somehow superior to other churches because our pastor and staff do not have reserved parking. As a matter of fact, it has never come up as an issue to give it to us to my knowledge. We tell our people here that we don't have enough parking and to reserve the closest spots for guests and newcomers and to ride a shuttle from a local parking lot. What would it look like if we asked our people to park off-site while we reserved the primo spots for our pastor and his wife?

Just some thoughts. What are your opinions?

1 comments:

David said...

"Does a senior pastor position command a six figure salary, a reserved parking spot, and a country club membership? Or have we brought too much of our CEO mentality and business acumen into the church that we have lost the meaning of ministry in the first place?"
Matt, thanks for the above paragraph. Much that we consider "perks of ministry" would be considered worldly, excessive, and a hindrance to real Gospel ministry by the apostles, church fathers, and faithful pastors of the last two or three centuries. Sure, "the laborer is worth his wages" and "worthy of double honor" but as 1 Timothy 5:17 says, that "double honor" is reserved for those who "labor in preaching and teaching." Not all ministers/preachers labor (sweat, toil, work hard) at preaching and teaching. I am afraid that we have misinterpreted the reward of a faithful pastor. Yes, pastors/minsters should be well taken care of by their churches but that does not necessarily mean fat wallets and short walks to the building for that generally makes wealthy ministers who are fat and lazy in the pulpit. Now, all this is easy for me to say since I can walk to our building in 20 seconds from the front door of my house and I am making nowhere near six figures. I do hope though that I (and you) would continue to labor hard and not seek the fleeting rewards of this earth but the eternal reward of heaven. If people choose to "honor" us here then okay, but most importantly, Soli Deo Gloria. "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness!" Psalm 115:1