The Pastor’s Parking Sign

I was just moseying’ through 1-2 Corinthians, and my heart landed on a paragraph, then a verse within that paragraph. I started to post the verse for my Instagram story, only to realize I had many more thoughts on it to scribble down. Then I wrote my own paragraphs in a note and said, “Hmm… this is more like a mini blog post.” we are. From a quick note of thoughts in my phone to the first blog post in a while. May this one encourage you in how you live out your story in front of others.

I was with a group of girlfriends at a women’s conference. We were guests, but as a pastor I was honored with having my own parking spot along with a special sign in front of the spot that said, “Reserved for Pastor Rebekah Johnson.”

It was sweet, and I’m only a year into ministry as a pastor. So, I’m still getting used to that title along with the parking perks that come with it. And call it what you want: false humility, actual humility, insecurity, imposter syndrome, childhood issues manifesting as a grown adult, or WHATEVER, I can get very uncomfortable with being honored with things like that. (Though on the flip side when I think about the conversations, emotions, decisions, and daily things I faced as a pastor of just one year- I genuinely appreciate the up-close parking and am glad to accept it.) 

NOW MY GODLY GIRL GANG ON THE OTHER HAND were outright ecstatic and giddy a the sight of my name in front of the parking spot to the point that they wanted their shy pastor to stand next to it for a picture. Thankfully, I have a spirit that is willing to be a little embarrassed, so long as the picture doesn’t show up on social media somewhere (though I know it’s floating on social media somewhere LOL).

I came across this verse today that made me think back on that moment in front of the my pastorally problematic but totally honoring parking sign. 

“For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as (your) servants for Jesus’ sake.” 1 Cor 3:5

There’s plenty I could say about the context of that verse. But to be brief, in this world of social media, endless pictures and quotes on newsfeeds, a lot of honoring of self, and dare I say preaching our life story out of every post, I am particularly conscious of the importance of my name not being bigger than that of the God whose story I’m trying to live. 

Whenever I preach, whenever I post, whenever I do something off the wall weird or crazy for the Gospel (like do a sermon in front of our congregation dressed like a Bible character), my hope is always that someone had a bigger encounter with Jesus than they did with how impressed they were regarding the way I delivered my words. I hope that the truth of scripture compelled them to invite God into the revealed places of their life vs. a sole momentary urge to make a graphic about whatever catchy truth came from my lips.

I hope that when they see my name under a quote, that they become a more empowered and committed follower of Jesus vs. another fan for my Instagram profile.

For what I preach is not myself, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and myself your servant for Jesus’ sake.1 Cor 3:5

This is a tricky thing to think about and write, for God uses people of all sorts of fame, status, positions, titles, and Instagram profiles for his glory. I believe he uses mine. But for whatever sort of position we hold to preach his gospel, may we all desire that it truly is for his glory. May every story we tell be that of how Jesus impacted us, pointing to the real story that Jesus lived, died, and rose again for you and me. May my title, profile, status, and very life be a servant for Jesus’ sake.

from the gram:

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