A Tension to be Managed
By Dr. Jody Bowser, Senior Pastor
I was recently catching up with a friend who moved away, and we got to talking about the church he now attends. He was describing all of the things he loved about his new church, which was wonderful to hear. But he also mentioned one of the “challenges” involved with attending this church—parking. My ears perked up a bit, so I pressed in with a few questions. He said that the difficulty isn’t in finding a parking spot (it’s a growing and vibrant church with a nice large lot). The problem is actually when it comes time to leave. Apparently, the parking lot exits onto a very busy road and the setting doesn’t allow for multiple ways out. In addition, the community ordinances prohibit the use of law enforcement officers that could be dispatched to direct traffic. He said that it wasn’t unusual to have to wait upwards of a half hour just to get out of the parking lot every Sunday. Ugh! I guess the upside is that there would be plenty of time to debrief and celebrate all of the uplifting aspects of the worship service and fellowship time.
My friend then shared something in light of his church’s parking situation that really stuck with me. He said that one of the mantra’s that his church leadership states quite frequently is: “Is this a tension to be managed, or a problem to be solved?” What an insightful question! Sometimes the problems we face have very clear and actionable solutions. We can change this—or tweak that—and presto chango! Problem solved. But other challenges aren’t so simple. Many times there aren’t obvious solutions that will “fix” the situation. In these cases, there are usually multiple things that need to be tried in order to relieve or manage some of the tension.
I mentioned that my ears perked up when my friend mentioned parking. That’s because parking poses a tension for us here at King Street—although in a very different way. Since our parking options are so spread out, there’s absolutely no problem leaving the church. The challenges can occur in FINDING a parking spot. The bottom line is that beginning in the middle of October 2018, we will be faced with some parking tensions (not problems!) that we need to manage moving forward.
Check that. The real challenge can be finding a parking spot that doesn’t require us to walk very far! There are PLENTY of parking spots within two blocks of our church building. Hundreds and hundreds. But some of them might require a three or four-minute walk (barefoot…in the snow…uphill…both ways).
I announced this past Sunday that we are moving forward with the renovation of our large parking lot that sits between the sanctuary and Main Street (that included our old office building). This will be a very nice and very helpful upgrade. For years that lot has been a bit of a mess—a big hump in the middle and a weird half-wall off to one side. When the project is completed, the lot will be gently sloped, include some landscaping, and will add about twenty-five new parking spots, bringing the total up to 142 spots. Reconstruction will begin in the middle of October, will take about five weeks to complete and should be done by November 17. During this time the area will be fenced off and inaccessible (no parking, no entrance off of Main or King, no use of Central Alley).
We are also aware that immediately following the completion of the lot I just described, the county is slated to begin work on the demolition of three of their properties along Main Street— the old Wogan building, the small one-story strip mall and the bank building on the square. This work will take away just over a hundred parking spots that we currently have access to, with more spots impacted as they move beyond demotion and into construction of a new courthouse sometime next year. The bottom line is that beginning in the middle of October 2018, we will be faced with some parking tensions (not problems!) that we need to manage moving forward.
So what is our response?
Our entire staff gathered this past week, and had a very lively and helpful brainstorming session. Several ideas surfaced that I want to pass along:
- Pray! Pray for wisdom in how best to address all of the issues and concerns that will arise. Pray that the parking changes will not be a hindrance in spreading the Good News of Jesus. Pray that God will grow KSC during this time in impact for the Kingdom.
- We will need more people involved in our Parking Lot Ministry Team. Consider joining this team yourself (contact Ken Adams)—or challenge someone you know to consider helping out.
- Drop passengers off and park your vehicle off site.
- I mentioned earlier that there are hundreds and hundreds of parking spots available within a four-minute walk of our building. Consider making it your new habit to park in one of these options: the Superior Flooring lot (35+ spots); the BPO Elks Lodge (50+ spots); the County Annex lot on 2nd Street next to the Fire Dept. Headquarters (200+ spots) and the lot next to the Main St. Deli (30+ spots).
- Decide as a Sunday school class to park together in an off-site lot.
Yes, these are challenges. In some ways they represent barriers. They have the potential to make coming and going from our church building less convenient. But these tensions pale in comparison to the great value of what happens when God’s people come together to worship, fellowship and be equipped for ministry! I believe these complexities will push us into new solutions that will in turn create opportunities to reach new people for Christ!