Recently, I've been attending a local coffee spot called the Daily Grind to feed my caffeine addiction and to work.
Their coffee is good. It's still not my favorite place for coffee in Santa Barbara. That honor goes to the French Press.
But here's the thing — I hate the parking situation in downtown SB (where French Press is). I get 75 minutes of free parking but I never get anything done in 75 minutes. I need more than 75 minutes to feel like I accomplished something.
The other reason why I have been frequenting the Daily Grind over my normal Starbucks near the church is because that shopping center has been doing some serious construction. That parking lot was always so hectic and the construction has only injected chaos into an already hectic parking lot.
The Daily Grind (both locations)? Stress free parking. Free. No time limit. Great outdoor seating. Free wi-fi. Faster than the AT&T wi-fi at my Starbucks (when will that location get Google?)
It's also worth pointing out that parking situations have an impact on church attendance.
That sentence may sound ridiculous.
But I've heard many times both pastors and church folks lament the lack of parking spaces. People will actually drive to church, circle the lot, and if there's no space, just go home.
One of the obstacles a growing church faces is there is not enough parking to accomdate the growth. So attendance can plateau (of course, parking isn't the only reason. But it can be a big one).
I've also attended mega churches where their parking attendants weren't as well trained or not present or whatever and made parking (and leaving) a nightmare.
So, parking (unfortunately) does have an impact on my overall worship experience.
I know it shouldn't, but it does.
I really don't have a point to this post except to point out my laziness. And that for us human beings, convenience is king.
I like my parking. I don't like circling 3 times around a lot to find parking.
A lot of churches spend a lot of time preparing and equipping people to be wonderful greeters to people entering the sanctuary.
But we should keep in mind first impressions begin, not when they walk into the place of worship, but as soon as the tires of their vehicles enter the parking lot of the church.