Friends, I need your help with this one… be bold and share your ideas.
On August 25th we finished our short Gospel Engagement series. We took a scary idea like ‘evangelism’ and made it very simple and practical. Along that journey we noticed that there would be times when living a life that is being transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ would spark conversations (John 3).
By comparison we also found that there were circumstances in which Jesus modeled being the initiator in sharing gospel realities with those around Him (John 4). We quickly affirmed that many of us would find one or the other more comfortable and natural for us. However, what we find easier is not a reason to exclude the other.
‘Third Places’ is an idea that was introduced by Ray Oldenburg in 1989 which gave a category to what we find throughout the New Testament. We can think of third places as locations where people gather regularly outside of home and work. These places take different forms in different locations and cultures. There have been times and locations where this was the local pub where people gathered together regularly. During other times and cultures it has even been the local barbershop.
In the New Testament there are many different examples, but the two we have highlighted were the well and the marketplace. The local well (ex. John 4) would have been a third place as it was a central hub to the local community where people frequently needed to gather. An even more obvious example of this is the marketplace that Paul enters in Athens after his stomach is turned by the idolatry he sees (Acts 17). The marketplace was a location outside of home and work where people frequently gathered together and naturally engaged in conversation.
Here is where we need YOUR help. As a help and encouragement to those who read or pass by… would you share your ideas about what these third places look like today?
Question: What are the third places of our contemporary culture?