Archive for the 'Third Places' Category

Change!?!, Leadership, Missional, Third Places, Understanding Context

Don’t Miss the Dialogue….

I know it is a rare thing here… but a GOOD thing and a thing I hope happens a LOT more!  Some good dialogue took place under the radar back in July and August… you can find it in the “Third Places” category under Jeff’s “Thanks Starbucks” post.  Jump in…   Thanks Jonathan and Mike for carrying on a bit of a conversation here…  I am interested in hearing other thoughts on the points you raise.  And when I have more time… not sure when that will be!  I will check out Jonathan’s dissertation link!

Change!?!, Third Places

Thanks, Starbucks!

I’m grateful in a lot of ways for Starbucks. No, one is not the coffee. I go there often, but I’m not a coffee drinker. I’ve been a tea drinker ever since high school when a former Brethren missionary from India taught me to drink tea “the British way”. I do like the teas at Starbucks, but that’s not why I’m posting. I also like the culture, the ability to meet friends, to hang-out and make new friends, as well as to have a place to work when I need to get out of the office.

Another thing I’m grateful for is the writings on their cups; The Way I See It series. Recently, I got a cup with #254 of the series. It is written by Terry Kellogg, executive director of 1% for the Planet, a network of companies that donate a portion of sales to environmental causes. He writes, “I have spent a lot of time living where two bioregions intersect. There’s often amazing diversity in these zones, as species native to one region seem to thrive in the presence of those from another. . .“  Terry goes one to write about how there can be a beneficial relationship between business and the environment.

What grabbed me from the quote above was the thought of how two different types of plant species can co-exist at the same time and place. Yet, if you go very far in one direction or the other, you lose the unique mix. This thought reminds me of what Dan Kimball and Brian McLaren have been teaching for years, that we are living in that inbetween, transition time between the modern and postmodern times.

From conversations I’ve had, some of  us can’t wait for postmodern culture to develop more fully and want to jetison modernity ASAP. But like the mixture of species thrive together where environmental zones meet to create a unique mix, can we find and blend the best of modernity into the ways we want to see church move forward into?  What do you appreciate about Modernity that you feel is beneficial to the church? How can we create a unique blend between the two so that we can bring with us the older Brethren, while reachin those who are outside the church? Is this possible in your mind?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Jeff Glass

Missional, Third Places

Third Places….

I am very interested in hearing from others who have successfully launched a Third Place… Our leadership team is exploring doing just that as a way to connect with our community, provide an employment option for our youth and others, and as a way to fund ministry.

A third place is neutral ground, inclusive and promotes social equality, conversation is the central activity, it is frequented by regulars who welcome newcomers, it is a non-pretentious, homey place that fosters a playful mood. Like Starbucks! Home is a first place, Work is a second place and Starbucks or other cafe’s or places like Barnes and Nobel are third places.

I am interested in feeback from any who have done this successfully. But also offer a quote from Len Sweet’s new book “The Gospel According to Starbucks” for your interaction….

“Church used to be a third place of choice, a meeting house, a sacred place where the community gathered for governing, for mourning, for celebrating, for relationship building. But churches increasingly became not relational space but propositional place. Instead of going there to connect with God and with others in meaningful relationship, people started going to church to be convinced of transcendent truth, or , if they already numbered among the convinced, to have their beliefs and religious convictions confirmed from the pulpit. The church lost credibility as a place for sacred relationship when it chose to specialize in formulating and advancing a better spiritual argument. The result is that people who came to the meeting house got connected with ideas and formulas more than they did with God and with other people.” p 132

What do you think? I think sweet is right on and that is one of several reasons why we are pursuing the idea of opening a third place in our community to do again what the church used to do. And then out of those relationships we hope to make a connection with our new friends to our congregation’s life and ministry. It seems to me that emerging churches must consider options like these that get us out into the community making authentic connections and relationships with people who will not come inside our churches…. Thoughts???

Missional, Third Places

Interactivity a must for ministry and worship gatherings

I’m reading an excellent book just off the press by Len Sweet called “The Gospel According to Starbucks.” I’m reading it because our leadership team is interested in opening a third place business in our community. More on that in a later post when I can get it to be the topic….

But here is something Len says that I think we emerging church folks need to think about as we plan ministries and worship gatherings… “Only two things are keeping professional sports going for postmoderns: Fantasy sports and video games. ” The reason this is so, is the HUGE desire to interact with the sport, not just sit and soak! Think of the implications of that in worship and ministry. Getting people involved. Making room for personal connection — personalization is huge. One of the reasons that I like prayer stations and like them centered around the theme of the day and after the sermon sets the stage is the time for folks to personally interact with God in the context of community.


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