We have unique situation at our church, the local police hang out in our parking lot daily to monitor the hundreds of drivers that pass by our congregation. Many times when I speak to people from the community that do not know about our church they will comment, "Oh, you are from the church that always has the police in the parking lot."What a way to be known!
I know some people have been frustrated by the presence of police in our parking lot due to a misperception about who and what we are as a church (and in some ways I get frustrated also).
However, I was recently thinking about it in a whole new way. When we have the police in our parking lot it reminds everyone to straighten up: drive the speed limit, don't steal from this church, make sure your seat belt is on, and live according to the law. Although we are a church that focuses on the Gospel of Christ, we also uphold the Law as good and holy for our lives. The police car in the parking lot is symbolic of how we as a church are their to proclaim the will of God for us as His baptized children (loving one's neighbor, the 10 commandments, and loving God). Without the reminder of the law, the Gospel loses it meaning and fullness. We need that reminder for the sake of our relationship with God and also the need of our neighbor.
The police car in our parking lot not only makes me feel safe for our church and my family who live across the street, but serves as a reminder to me on how we need to proclaim the Law to show us our sin, and from that Law to show people their Savior.