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???