The Parking Lot: You Had Me At Hello!

For Randall Church, this is Vacation Bible School week. This means that for 5 days, our facilities have underground a mild overhaul to facilitate a transport in imagination from our present and recognizable location to something more grand and exciting! This year specifically, we have a National Parks theme highlighted with life size grizzly bear cutouts, pop up tents, and even an inflatable raft headed over a waterfall! Our awesome volunteers dress the part, sporting backpacking gear, birdwatching gear, and trout fishing gear. Why do we do this? Because our kids are worth it! 

This is the next generation of leaders in our churches, schools, and local governments.  These are the next generation of nurses, policeman, pastors, and missionaries. We want to engage them in a way that facilitates active learning rather than passive learning, as well as introduce them to the most important relationship for every human being on this planet. Above all, we want to introduce our children to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! In a world that kids struggle to make life choices, in a world that grows increasingly polarized each day, we want to communicate to these children: “You matter to God,” “You belong here,” and You can make a difference!” 

When we begin our planning each year, I always sign myself up for the parking lot and greeting team. While the lead pastor cannot typically fulfill this role on a weekly basis for Sunday gatherings, I absolutely love to fill it for VBS on an annual basis. Sometimes it means standing in the rain, sometimes it means sweating in the sun, and last year it event meant directing traffic during an active tornado warning! It’s all part of the experience I suppose :-) I love to dress up for the week’s theme, I love to participate in wacky Wednesday, and I love to hand out high fives. Thousands of them! Why? Because I believe a first impression starts at the first parking space

Here’s the thing. Quite often,  I will receive an email from one of you letting me know that your friend from work, your next door neighbor, or your close family member will be joining us for a worship gathering this weekend. It doesn’t have to be the subject line of the email for me to get the message: “Don’t screw this up Pastor!” You want me to prepare a strong message from God’s Word, and communicate it’s truth in a way that is easily understood, and readily applicable. I get it! This is what I am striving for each week as well. When you care about someone, you make sure that they are cared for. 

Back to the parking lot. When a person comes on to our church facility I want them to know that we were expectant in our preparations for them to arrive. I want them to know that we are glad they chose to be with us, and that we would love for them to come and see us again. Why? Because we live in a world that pulls on us from every direction. We live in a world where individual networking is perhaps highest than ever, but where true human connections register lower than ever. People are hungry for what is authentic, for with is real, for what is true. 

From the first parking space, it is my desire to invite every man, woman, and child we interact with, that today you can “Find Your Place” Upward in Christ, Inward in the Church, and Outward in the Community. Everything we do communicates something about what we believe about Jesus. I believe that every single person on this planet needs to know Jesus Christ. I want to make the name of Jesus world famous! The sermon starts in the parking lot. 

You matter. You belong. You make a difference.
See You in The Parking Lot!


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