Many people are probably aware of the concept of Third Spaces developed by the sociologist Ray Oldenburg in his book “The Great Good Place”. For those who aren’t here is a little run down of what Third Spaces are from Wikipedia.

“The third place is a term used in the concept of community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace. In his influential book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place.

Oldenburg calls one’s “first place” the home and those that one lives with. The “second place” is the workplace — where people may actually spend most of their time. Third places, then, are “anchors” of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction. All societies already have informal meeting places; what is new in modern times is the intentionality of seeking them out as vital to current societal needs. Oldenburg suggests these hallmarks of a true “third place”: free or inexpensive; food and drink, while not essential, are important; highly accessible: proximate for many (walking distance); involve regulars – those who habitually congregate there; welcoming and comfortable; both new friends and old should be found there.”

So your coffeehouses, pubs, bars, etc are Third Spaces.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about Third Spaces and the problem that most Pastors have with them…they are so busy that they can’t be in them. I know that has been true for me in the past and I am seeking to change that.

One thing that I am thinking about is a rental space that is literally next door to my house. I am in the process of thinking through the idea of renting the space next door, creating a third space out of it, use it for all kind of community events, have coffee and bakery items for sale all the time, and then use the space for Sunday Worship gatherings. The one problem as far as Sunday worship gatherings is there is no space for nursery and children ministries in that place..we would have to use my house for those things..which could be doable.

This idea is just in it’s infancy..though I am trying to find out what it would cost to rent it and if I can fix it up (paint it, etc..). I’m interested in your opinions…what do you think? And what kind of community activities/events could we hold there (some ideas are story time for children, after-school tutoring, music nights, movie nights, open mic nights, karaoke night, etc..)?