NEWPORT, VT—Arrive at First Baptist Church of Newport, and you won’t have any confusion about where you’re supposed to leave your ride. That’s because Rick Oswald, 37, is doing an impressive job running the parking lot ministry, to which he was assigned when the leadership team ascertained that he didn’t possess any actual spiritual gifts.
FBC Newport places significant emphasis on getting its small body of believers to find a place where they can “be the Lord’s hands and feet.” Oswald, who has been attending most Sunday services for the past year or so, couldn’t figure out where the Lord wanted him to serve—so at the prompting of the church’s associate pastor, he took an online spiritual gift test consisting of 250 questions that claimed to gauge his passions, abilities, and unique, God-given blend of supernatural gifts with which he could serve the body of Christ.
When Oswald’s test came back negative for, well, anything at all, he was assigned to the parking lot ministry, an office created just for him, where he efficiently guides as many as 30 cars into appropriate parking spots for the church’s 10:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Lord’s Day services. While other church members are busy performing spiritual work like teaching, exhortation, prayer chains, welcome ministry, and potluck planning, Oswald is waving cars into vacant spots until the Lord gives him more meaningful work to do.