Monthly Archives: March 2012

Everyone is welcome, now stay out!

I have recently noticed something that I think I understand, yet it still bothers me.  Before I speak to this issue let me make say that I pastor a church that has an open parking lot, and frequently we arrive in the morning with tractor trailers parked in it.  (You will understand why I said this in just a moment).
There seems to be a growing trend amongst churches in our area that involves barricading the parking lot, I have recently noticed three!    This morning I noticed a crew of “church-men” out their with welding torches, welding metal bars across their lot.  SERIOUS!
Although I believe Iunderstand the motivation here, I wonder if it does not send a bad signal to those we are trying to reach.  Here are several reasons I don’t think we should barricade our parking lots.
1.  It sends a message that our church is only active 1 day a week.  This place is locked up except during the posted hours on the sign with peeling paint!   Can’t you read?
2.  It sends a message that church cannot help me with life’s problem.   If we can’t make a u-turn in a church parking lot, where in the world can you make a u-turn? Isn’t repentance a main message of the church?
3.  It sends a message that we value property more than people.  Get your priceless soul off of the lot that we saved 25 years to pave! Sure glad God doesn’t view us like that!  Streets of Gold?  Whew, We would never get in!
4.  It sends the message that we are exclusive, not inclusive.  The church is off-limits, stay out, unless you have a key of course.  And you must be a member in good standing and you will have have to ask for one of those.
5.  It sends a contradicting message to our real message.  Our sign says, “everyone welcome”, Jesus said “come”, but that red cattle gate says “STAY OUT”  loud and clear.
I don’t believe any church intentionally says these things. (Well maybe one or two I’ve come across)  But I do believe we need to ensure our  message to the world is clear, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden”.
Just a thought, what do you think?