Coffee shops, the gym, a board game with friends, golf, gardening, fishing, hunting, art, etc. All of these places, hobbies, and more can be considered a third place. If your first place is your home and your second place is your work or school, a third place is any place outside of that where you spend time and build relationships with others.
Beginning in March, our For The City monthly emphasis is Third Places. We are asking each of our members to consider their personal third places and think about how they can engage those places in order to further relationships with the ultimate goal of getting to the gospel.
For instance, our Lead Pastor, Brad Lewter, and our Mission Pastor, Scott Ward, hit the gym at least three or four times each week. Working out is a hobby for them, and the gym is considered one of their third places. While working out, they are intentionally building relationships with those around them, including the employees and trainers there. As funny as it sounds, they could easily engage their third place by bringing a few dozen doughnuts some morning for all of the workers. Many times God will provide an opportunity during these moments of doing something unusual to give us the opportunity to build a new relationship, further develop an existing relationship, or even begin a spiritual conversation with someone.
When engaging our third places, there is one key that we need to remember. We must be intentional. Many people have gone to the same coffee shop or gym for years and have never engaged someone intentionally to get to a spiritual conversation or at the very least invite them to church. If someone had the cure to a deadly disease that you had and didn’t tell you, you would be rightly upset. Yet we do this everyday when we ignore the lost around us. The Great Commission (…go and make disciples…) compels us to build real relationships with the lost and share the good news of Jesus with them so that we can see new disciples that worship, grow, and go!