It's really amazing that everything thing a Pastor does can come under scrutiny, including his choice of the car he drives. That's why it's described as living in a fishbowl.
I am currently driving a 1998 Mitsubishi Diamante with 166,ooo+ miles on it. Pretty much everything on the car still works. It has a few dings, nothing serious enough to repair. It has an oil leak that I have decided to go ahead and repair pretty soon. The interior is not perfect but there are no major seat tears. The radio works but the antenna is broken and the CD player skips so I don't listen to much music while driving. I have decided there is no one I feel a deep need to impress when it comes to the type of car I drive, so it will be my car as long as I can squeeze a few more miles from it.
I remember a time, though, when I did need to buy a new car. After a bit of shopping, I found a Ford Crown Victoria that I purchased. The following Sunday, I announced the new purchase to our church. I did so a bit tongue-in-cheek just for the fun of it.
I explained that there are two views in a church regarding the Pastor's car. There are some who believe the Pastor should drive a "fine" car that reflects well the position of the church in the community. They want the Pastor "looking good" driving to a wedding or funeral. So, I noted that this was a big, luxury car with all the bells and whistles. It was a nice, comfortable car and everyone in the church could feel their Pastor was doing well.
In the other view, members believe the Pastor should reflect a modest lifestyle. His car should not be ostentatious suggesting perhaps he is too worldly. In fact, some go to the extreme of suggesting he drive an old rust-bucket just to show he is not earthly-minded. I explained to the congregation that even though this was a nice car, it was indeed used, pre-owned. I had not overly spent; I had not paid a new car price.
The members of that church laughed at the humor of my announcement, and honestly would not have had a problem with my purchase, no matter what car I drove. A fun benefit in the ownership of this car was that I often freaked out other drivers who thought an unmarked police car was pulling up behind them. The point of my story is that I am still amazed at the little everyday issues that can get a church all up in arms. There are just a lot more eternal issues to focus on.
I pray you all have a Merry Christmas and will be focused on the eternal values of this Christmas season.
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