This will be on the “Back Page” of the Fishkill UMC bulletin for August 4, 2019, 8th Sunday after Pentecost (Year C). Service is at 10:15 am and you are welcome to attend. We are going to have a hymn sing on August 18th; put your favorite hymns in the comment section.
I am not sure why but the lectionary readings for this Sunday made me think of parking lots.
It is understood that there must have ample parking available if a church is to grow. But I know of one mega-church where it took between 10 and 20 minutes to get out of the parking lot after the morning service.
If I were trying to find Jesus, or perhaps just getting answers to some questions, I might think twice about attending such a church. After all, how can I find Jesus if I am apt to get lost in a crowd?
So I go looking for another church. But I am not likely to go to a church where I cannot find parking, right? And if the parking lot is empty, how can I be sure that there is anyone there.
Clearly churches have two options here. The first is to put a sign out front saying that they are open for business and seating is available. But that makes a church like a restaurant or coffee shop and unless the church is willing to serve items that compete with comparable shops in the neighborhood, that’s not going to work too well.
But I am reminded of something John Wesley once said, “The world is my parish.” And that means that the church needs to spend more time outside the boundaries of the sanctuary and its parking lot, reaching out to those who seek Jesus. It starts , not by looking at the parking lot, but at the people searching for a parking place. ~~Tony Mitchell