Creating a Third Space
Creating a Third Space by James Harris
(adapted from Austin Stone MC Material)
You’ve probably heard the term “third place” before. Starbucks used the concept in their marketing strategy. A third place was another space to frequent besides your work and your home. This third place is somewhere to find refuge and a sense of place.
Third place is a neutral, natural, regular place where you gather. It can be a coffee shop, a bar, a local park, etc. The main idea is to have a place where you can proactively move toward people that do not know Jesus and have space to engage with your current non-Christian friends.
One rule that is important to adopt in your third place is this: NO INSIDER TALK AROUND OUTSIDERS. Insider talk is the Christian lingo that is natural for us, but undecipherable for an outsider. To an outsider with no relational context, it is confusing, exclusive and even intimidating. Now, it’s fine if the outsider brings it up or it is a natural part of the conversation’s flow. We’re not pretending that we aren’t Christians, after all. They can belong here before they believe so that they may hear the gospel from our lips, see it changing our lives and believe in Jesus at a later time.
Your mission determines what your third place should be.
Use these questions to help you process.
- Where do the people I am trying to reach normally hang out?
- Are there places in my neighborhood where people regularly gather already?
- What do my friends like do?
Using these questions you can begin the process of creating a third place. Having a place where you are a regular recreates consistency for your current friends and allows you to make new relations with others. Remember this does not happen by magic, we must talk to people.
I am excited to hear the stories from people trying this. If you try it and have more questions, please feel free contact me directly.