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 June, 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, one of our great church members, Brad Leamy, has a passion for shooting, and he is very gifted at teaching. He could just go and shoot with a couple of friends from church, but instead he has started SoulShooters. This is now the only full service self defense company in the area offering self defense classes, NRA Gun Safety classes, and the Arkansas Conceal/Carry Classes. But check out the purpose of this company… “We want you to have fun. We want you to know that Church is a place to, not only grow your relationship with Jesus, but also meet other gun enthusiasts!” Brad is using the gifts and passions that God has given him to reach other people for Jesus Christ.
Now, you might not be as ambitious as Brad and start your own ministry or company, but you certainly can join a gym or go to the same coffee shop every day or instead of going hiking, join a hiking club to be around those far from God. There are a thousand things that you can do to place yourself in close proximity to those that are far from God.
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!