Can a church be a 3rd space?
There’s a conversation going on about the role of the church in creating 3rd space environments. Maybe the space is implied, like around dinner tables, waiting in the lobby before a service, hanging out in an atrium, or maybe it’s more than implied like a coffee shop area. What do you thing? Some things you need to have present to be a third space are: They’re neutral ground; They’re “levelers” where rank and status don’t matter; Conversation is a main activity; They’re easy to access and accommodating; They have a core group of influential regulars; They have a low profile instead of being showy; The mood is playful; They feel like homes away from home.
Is there value in having a church campus provide a 3rd space option?
- unChristian on CNN
- There's no room for just a cup of coffee, because of all the worker bees
I think that as long as the church meets up to the criteria mentioned above, I think that the church could be an efficient 3rd space. Unfortunately, I think that it could also exacerbate an “outsider’s” view of Christians as being exclusive or cliquish if you will. Not that it actually would be exclusive to Christians, but that is most likely who would be using the church as a 3rd place. However, if it was accessible in a non-intimidating manner, I could see it as a good way to draw individuals to a church that would not otherwise visit by traditional means (ie. Sunday mornings, etc).
Everyone needs to be utilizing more than one third space. When you’re at a coffee shop (as a third space) you are going to be surrounded by coffee drinkers; when hanging out at the Town Center round-about, you’ll be covered up with up-scale shopper types. The venue brings with it a mass of people that help create the environment. But in addition to that mass, come others, salt, that can give it a memorable moment.