In The Divine Commodity, Skye Jethani tells the story of an interview he did with a seasoned pastor. Jethani kept asking what he was most proud of during his decades of ministry, expecting stories of praying with drunks, loving mean old ladies, and so forth. But all the pastor wanted to talk about was building campaigns, and in particular the one he pushed through that gave them an asphalted parking lot.
In his own words, “Three years ago we put in a larger gravel lot, but I knew it wasn’t good enough. ‘We’ve got people around here driving BMWs and Cadillacs,’ I told them. They don’t want to park on gravel. People expect asphalt! A church that can’t provide asphalt isn’t relevant. It’s not credible. Eventually the elders came around. A respectable church simply couldn’t ask people to park on gravel.”
Seriously? So much for at least attempting to model our ministry mindset on the way of Jesus. This is embarrassing, and yet I’m haunted by the question of whether the only difference between this pastor and me is that he can actually articulate the thought process behind some of our decisions. In the end, I think I’d rather be literally in-credible than fall prey to this kind of pathology.