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 September, 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, my mom, Rudda Ward, loves to get her nails done! I think she goes about every other day! Not really, but she does go enough that she has built a great relationship with the wonderful Vietnamese lady that does her nails. We would even consider this lady a family friend. Instead of just going and being friendly, over the years my mom has continually shared the love of Jesus with her and prayed for her, even giving her a Bible on one occasion. She has not become a follower of Jesus yet, but I know my mom will continue to share, not because this lady is a project to reach but because she is a dear friend.
Now, you might not go get your nails done, 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!