Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Stuff Christian Culture Likes

#164 Reserved parking for the pastor

parking1.jpgPastors are known to get territorial in the parking lot. In most protestant church lots there is a sign reserving the primo space for the pastor. The assistant pastor and worship leader sometimes have their own spaces too, but the lead pastor’s space is always closest to the building.

parking3.jpgEven small churches have reserved pastor parking, but it is most commonly seen at megachurches. The more mega the church, the more likely there is a reserved sign. But churches so mega that they are multi-site don’t need pastoral parking spaces at all their satellites where the pastor appears via videoscreen. His reserved space is at the lot from whence he preaches, and dollars to donuts it’s occupied by something status-y which of course was bought with tithes. You will be hard-pressed to find a pastor of a large church who drives something unremarkable.

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robert gelinas (jazztheologian)

posted June 22, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Love your blog…funny reading. I think this might be a regional thing. All of my pastor friends park just like everyone else…Including myself. On Sundays, I park my unremarkable Suburban (because I have six children) across the street from the church and hike in rain, snow or shine.
robert gelinas

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Bill (cycleguy)

posted June 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

This has always irked me (and I am a pastor). I have always tried to park as far away as possible to set an example and to leave the close spots for people who either need them or for visitors. I think it is the height of arrogance to have your own spot. Then again, the correction the one pastor needs is to make it for Steeler fans.

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posted June 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I wish I went to that church with the the “must preach” sign. I’d park in it and be like “I’ll preach on Sunday. I don’t mind.”
I didn’t know churches with lots had reserved spaces. There are reserved spaces for pastors in Philly, but it makes sense because parking is a bitch here and it’s a rare luxury for churches to have their own lot. Full time, city pastors actually need the space. It seems a bit ridiculous that a church with a lot would need to reserve a pastor space. I mean, the pastor is supposed to be one of the first people there on Sunday (the only day the lot might be completely full) anyway. How bad a space could he actually get? Unless he plans to show up after worship begins. In that case, they may be able to find a better pastor.
Stephy, Do you happen to know a specific status-y car of an elite pastor? I’m just curious.

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stephanie drury

posted June 22, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Chrissy, I have known what some of them have driven, say a year ago, but they might not have those cars anymore. One firsthand example was when I was in high school our church bought the head pastor a new Cadillac for his 20 year anniversary at the church. I remember asking some people why were were getting him a fancy car with the tithe money and people’s reaction to me was pretty much “why don’t you want the pastor to have something nice? He deserves it.”
But anyway, if anyone knows for sure something remarkable a pastor drives they should chime in here. Cause it’s interesting, eh?

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posted June 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm

The pastor of my sister’s old church had a jag. He claimed it was a gift from a member. Said church also sponsored a mission trip to Hawaii. I kid you not.

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Flah the Heretic Methodist

posted June 22, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Our church has no reserved spaces and our pastor has admonished the congregation to remember the (many) aged and infirm among us and park as far away as you can reasonably walk. That quickly turned into: WWJP?

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posted June 22, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Has anyone read the book Evangellyfish by Douglas Wilson?
It’s a satire about a sex scandal at a mega church, and a crock pot of Christian caricatures. The last few posts have reminded me of it, for example;
“John Mitchell was a Reformed Baptist pastor, the sort who drank a little, but not usually in front of folks from other churches”
The pastor of the mega church drives a red sports car

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Steve D

posted June 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Reserved Parking generally ticks me off. Particularly when it is based on privilege and not need. Despite the size of the church where I am a member (1900/weekend), there is only reserved parking for handicapped and visitors. All others better be early.

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posted June 22, 2010 at 11:35 pm

In my 25 years of ministry I have had only one reserved space. Two of my churches did not even have a parking lot, so I shared space on the street with everyone else. Now I serve a mid to large congregation in Florida. When we are “In Season” I park as far from the building as I can so our less ambulatory folks can get closer to the doors. “Off Season” I still park on the outer reaches of the spaces we use. I’ve noticed that our local hospitals have reserved clergy spaces not all that close to the doors (we need our exercise as we can get it).
I am much happier without a reserved space. I think it is one more advantage given clergy that separates us fromthe people with whom we minister. I enjoy chatting with folks as we walk to our cars after the service – and I think they appreciate that time too.

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posted June 23, 2010 at 9:39 am

Have never really noticed this myself as I am Catholic there are usually parking spaces or a garage attached to the rectory for the priests use since they actually live on site. My dad’s small Methodist church where we would go for holidays and events was so small the parking lot wasn’t even paved and everyone parked together :)

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posted June 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

Is a Nissan Maxima status-y?

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stephanie drury

posted June 23, 2010 at 11:37 am

Is it a remarkable Maxima?

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posted June 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Stephanie, I like whenever you post observations about pastors there are always a bunch of comments by pastors who just have to say, “I’m not that way.” Ha! I guess I should say good for them, but ha! anyway.

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Rollo Tomassi

posted June 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm

I couldn’t help but notice in the second sign how pastor Mark’s name looks as if it could be removed and replaced from that blank area on a moment’s notice. Hehehe,.. nice semi-permanent computer default brush hand script font says, “you can go at any time Mark.”

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Gary Arnold

posted June 23, 2010 at 7:57 pm

The sign on top says CARS WILL BE TOWED AWAY. What does the pastor drive, a horse and buggy? Cause if he drives a car, it will be towed away!

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posted June 23, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I was driving away from the mega-church I used to attend and stopped at the lights behind my pastor’s car. He had just finished making an appeal for yet more money. Looking at the new and shiny SUV (which by the way, matches the ones bought for all the leadership team) from the shabby interior of my 13-year old Honda Civic and going home to sleep on the sofa, since my son has the bedroom in the house we rent, I suddenly had an epiphany: You’re not getting any more of my money!

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posted June 23, 2010 at 11:53 pm

@StephanieDrury: Yeah, I guess it’s pretty fly.

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posted June 24, 2010 at 8:18 am

@Lou – good for you!

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Rocky Presley

posted June 24, 2010 at 11:15 am

Stuff Christian Culture Likes #164.1 Doing the opposite to show off your humility.

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posted June 25, 2010 at 9:45 am

Rocky, Ha! I digg #164.1 !
Stephanie, I’d love to see a post on showing off humility. I am certainly guilty of this, though not in a CC manner more in a smug liberal sort of way but I’d love to read how this manifests itself in CC.

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Angelia Sparrow

posted July 3, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Our pastor had a reserved space. It was called the Parsonage Garage or Parsonage Driveway. He lived on the church grounds and walked to work. This was Peculiar MO, 1970s-1980s, and Dumas AR, late 1990s, very small towns.
In other places, pastors drove because the church was out in the country or across town. Nowadays, I have to park my late-model prius anywhere I can find a space at the park if I’m doing the ministering that day.

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posted March 14, 2011 at 11:56 pm

This church has an attached garage lol:

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