Last Sunday, a member of the congregation asked me why I park so far away from the church building. So, in this edition of frequently asked questions for the preacher, here goes: I park far away from the entrance for two reasons – the mission field and my health.
The mission field is the community to which I have been appointed. There are just over 18,000 people that live within five miles of Berryton United Methodist Church. Over 10,000 of these people are not involved in a religious congregation or community. This is the mission field.
Parking away from the entrance to the building makes sure that there are spaces that are closer for people who may show up for the first time that day. I want to do everything that I can to help welcome people who come to the congregation and a little closer parking spot may help. Also, as I am walking toward the building I am mindful of the cars that will fill the lot and pray for all those that will gather for worship. The walk also offers time to consider those in our community who are not yet connected with a congregation. I am able to reflect on these persons and consider how the choices that I make as a leader in this congregation is helping share God’s love with those who have not yet heard.
Also, I want to stay as healthy as I am able. One healthy habit that I track is parking at the far end of the parking lot each day. This small step adds activity to my day and health to my life.
So, why do I park far away? For a healthy congregation and body.
One of the most common ministry needs that we saw was the need to complete a roof. Whether for a parsonage or a sanctuary, the congregation was able to put in the labor to make bricks, build the foundation and lay bricks to build the walls for the structure. This was able to be completed up to roof level in many locations. For the structure to be completed there was a need to purchase the trusses and roofing material and put it on all at once. Depending on the location and the size of the building the cost for a roof was US$5,000 to US$7,000.
Some of the churches had been waiting 15 years for a roof to be completed.
The availability of income, jobs, currency and many other factors contributed to the situation. When I returned to the United States, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of physical buildings and resources which are present in the denomination here.
Here is one example:
Where is your community in need of tangible resources? Where are tangible resources in abundance?
One part of my apparel every day to church is a security badge which primarily unlock the door to the Congregational Care offices, but can also be used for several other doors, including the outside doors.
One of the great things about this is that I can use the badge to get in to the outside doors, but I am still limited by the hours of the security system. I don’t have to worry about setting an alarm off because when the alarm is set, my badge won’t work. I can’t get in. Neither do I have access to every location in the church – either by badge or by key.
I am okay being a pastor that does not have access to every area of the church.
It helps me be clear that some things are the job of someone else and it also helps me keep boundaries.
What do you think? Should a pastor have access to all parts of the church building at any time?