[Editor’s note: before you read this post, please take notice of two things:

1. It was originally penned on April 1. (APRIL. FIRST.)

2. And if April 1 does nothing to jog your brain, you should definitely click the link at the bottom.

Okay, carry on.]

If you’re a regular reader of this blog who does not attend the Summit Church, you might want to skip this post. This one is more for the Summit family, and may run the risk of offending you. Shoot, if you are a regular attendee of the Summit, you might find yourself offended.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been hanging out with our Sunday morning parking team to figure out how we can better utilize the nightmare that is our parking lots. Between large crowds on Sunday and city of Durham regulations, our parking plan looks like what you might get if you tried to stuff a watermelon in a tube sock…it just doesn’t fit.

We recognize the limitations and frustrations with the plan and our facility, but I’ve also recognized that some of our…ahem…regulars have consistently taken advantage of spots that should be primarily reserved for our first time guests, our handicapped folks, and single parents arriving alone. Long time attendees, volunteer team leaders, small group facilitators, and even the occasional staff member will, unfortunately, zip past the helpful direction of the guys in the orange vests and – to put it mildly – park wherever they darn well please.

As I’ve watched this, I’ve experienced the full gamut of emotions. At first, it was mildly amusing. Then, it was concerning. And finally, it was righteous anger of the turn-over-the-tables-in-the-temple variety. People deliberately do what they want to, putting themselves first and our guests last, completely violating all principles laid out in Philippians 2. It makes me want to let the air out of tires in the name of Jesus.

That’s why, effective today, we have contracted with a local towing company to put some teeth behind the gracious pleas of our parking team. A group of our pastors will be monitoring the parking lots, and designated areas will be under special scrutiny. If a car is emblazoned with a Summit window decal…if we recognize the person getting out…if we run the plates and it matches with the name of a directional elder…we will give a warning, then we will take action.

The warning will be a simple note under the windshield, explaining the purpose behind primary parking for guests and those with particular special needs. It will address the need to follow the direction of our parking team…all of them volunteers who give up several hours each Sunday in the heat, cold, and rain to provide a five star guest experience. And then it will advise that the tag number and make and model of the car has been recorded, and there will be no second warning.

And then (prepare to be offended), we’ll tow that car if it shows up in that parking space again. No excuses. No regrets.

Extreme measures? Yes. But we’re called to be extreme for the sake of others. We’re called to honor one another by putting one another before ourselves. And that just can’t happen if you’re hogging parking spots that aren’t meant for you.

To see more details of this (now documented) policy, click here.

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