Maybe you’ve seen one of our “no church parking” signs? It’s hard to miss them—they are big red signs with white print. They are meant to draw your attention to one thing: This is not a place where you can park.
Several of our church campuses are located in the middle of neighborhoods. Every Sunday, folks descend on these neighborhoods to gather in worship. We love our neighborhoods. I love our neighbors at the Dallas campus. I pray for them and look for ways to serve them.
As a Connections minister, I oversee our parking ministry. Every week I have a team that shows up a bit early to place those large metal “no church parking” signs around the neighborhood. We want you to know that those signs actually say far more than just “don’t park here.” They actually say a great deal about us.
1. They say that we love our neighbors.
Our neighbors have asked that we not park in front of their homes. They have families and friends, and like you, they love having folks over to their house on Sunday afternoons. Imagine driving over to your friend’s house on Sunday to watch the Cowboys lose in the 4th quarter again, just to realize that you and your pregnant wife have to walk a quarter mile because there is zero street parking. Because we love our neighbors, we want to serve them. They have asked that we be sensitive to how our parking affects them, and we are happy to oblige.
2. They say that our leaders know best.
When you obey our “no church parking” signs, you display trust in your church leaders. Our parking system is not perfect (actually we would love for you to join our team and help improve it), but we have given a lot of thought to our parking predicament. If you’re anything like me, even when you see the parking lot is closed, you’re convinced there’s one spot left just for you. Every time you fight the desire to wedge your car between a couple of cones on a street, you put to death the idea that you are entitled to close parking or that your leaders couldn’t possibly have a good reason for you to refrain from parking there.
3. They say that the good of all of us outweighs the good of one of us.
Bruce Waltke has said that a righteous man disadvantages himself for the sake of the community, while an unrighteous man disadvantages the community for his own sake. When we make that long drive over to the lot to ride the shuttle, we disadvantage ourselves for the good of the community. When we park in-between a few cones that clearly designate a place we should not park, we disadvantage the community for our own sake.
You may say, “Kyle, I know the ordinances and I know I am well within my rights to park in a certain manner on the street. I don’t need your direction.” Certainly true, but I want to remind you that you are more than a citizen of your city: All Christians are ultimately citizens of a kingdom whose King surrendered His rights for the sake of His people. Will you disadvantage yourself for the sake of the community? I encourage you to do so, as a means to take the righteous way—even in the small things.