Parking Lot Worship

A few days ago, in casual coffee conversation with some laymen two questions were brought up that had me thinking. I’m assuming many pastors deal with these questions too. These guys were asking:
1) Are my motivations pure in serving others? I ask myself if I am serving because that’s what ministers are supposed to do (duty)? Will doing “service” enlarge attendance at church? Do I really care and have compassion for people?
2) Why do we use the term “worship service” to define the event churches conduct on Sunday mornings? When you stop and consider the terms separately;”worship” and “service” it is kind of ironic.

Yesterday this conversation was brought to mind when I read an article by Covenant Baptist Church Pastor, Casey Ingold in the church newsletter.  He seemed to address both of these questions in the following:



Parking Lot Worship

Recently a member of our congregation proposed an idea on Facebook that grabbed my attention.

Initially I disagreed with the proposal but after a couple of his responses, I flipped 180 degrees to agree with him. His proposal was to take our worship from the worship center on a Sunday morning and move it to our parking lot.

The catch is we wouldn’t be singing and preaching. We would be washing cars and feeding people. Here’s the point that changed my mind. Isn’t it an act of worship (reverence/awe for God) to serve and bless our neighbors, to love them as we love ourselves? The answer is unmistakably, yes. Jesus said the greatest thing we could ever do on any given day we live on planet earth, would be to love God supremely and to love our neighbors just as much as we love ourselves.

If we take our worship to the parking lot on Sunday, washing cars instead of singing, serving hot dogs instead of preaching, aren’t we still praising God with every soapy towel and actually doing God’s powerful word with every hot dog we give in His name?

What would this possibly say to our community around us? The catch is, we have to do it for the right reason. We cannot do it as a marketing gimmick or an “outreach strategy.” If we do it for those reasons, we have not moved worship from inside to outside; we have traded worship for a sales pitch.

But if we do this as an act of reverence and awe of God, as an act of worship with no strings attached, then we have simply worshiped in a different and powerful way. So, be on the lookout this summer for this event.

No doubt some of us will struggle with the concept and be tempted to take our vacation that Sunday, but I challenge you all to try it, really try it. Don’t just show up and do it. Do it as an act of worship. Let your service be your song and your actions be the living, breathing Word of God declared to our neighbors that day in their own language.

Casey Ingold
Covenant Baptist Church

So now that you’ve read this, tell me … what do you think?


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