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Your Third Place?

June 29, 2007

I have been reading several books recently about Starbucks and they seem to do church better than church. I think I may have misquoted Leonard Sweet at some point or at least misunderstood him, because one of his points is that Starbucks creates a third place, a place for people to belong.

What is your third place? I am reading The Starbucks Experience by Joseph A. Michelli and recently read The Gospel According to Starbucks by Leonard Sweet and the idea is that work and home are place one and two so Starbucks seeks to be place number three.

How about yours? Do you have one? I suppose some people would say a local bar is their third place, my place back in college was Henry Hudson’s.

Would you view your fellowship as a third place? If so why? If not, why not? I would love to hear what your third place is and why it holds that place.


11 Comments leave one →
  1. johndobbs permalink
    June 30, 2007 10:39 am

    Darin, it’s a great question you’re bringing up here. We’ve become a frantic nation, and the church is just not in the top ten ‘things to do’. But if our church buildings were being utilized as community centers … including gathering places for people to fellowship and enjoy company …I think we could find a niche. But it doesn’t sound very ‘religious’. As has often been said, the ‘Cheers’ theme song is really about the concept of ‘church’ in the NT … but we have been too busy to be friends … too religious to be real … and too tired to care about it much. Those are my thoughts. Now … how do we break out of the box?

  2. johndobbs permalink
    June 30, 2007 10:40 am

    By the way, I have Len Sweet’s new book … but have not cracked it yet. What do you think of it?

  3. July 1, 2007 9:37 pm

    My third place is the small group I’m participating in. We’re trying to be less religous and more authentic so that others will want to join our third place.


  4. July 2, 2007 12:31 pm

    The big assembly on Sunday morning is probably my SECOND place, even though I don’t work there. Yes, I spend 38 hours a week at my job, but God has blessed me so much in that while I love my job, I don’t IDENTIFY with it.

    Also, I’m working on edging the big assembly on Sunday a little further down the list, with some other, less structured, more grass-roots assembly ideas (thanks Ben!)


  5. July 2, 2007 3:24 pm

    Um…..good question I have to think about it a while.

  6. July 2, 2007 8:14 pm

    Rick Santorum (former Senator from PA and, from what I can tell, a pretty good guy) wrote a book called It Takes a Family and one of his chapters talked about this idea. His stance was that American families are healthiest when they belong to and are integrally involved in “associations”. I thinks that’s his PC way of saying church (synagogue/mosque/whatever). It is worth the read.

    I’m not sure what my 3rd is. After 1 and 2, there are so many suitors vying for my attention, including the assembly. Maybe its not even a physical location. Can books be my third?

  7. July 2, 2007 9:57 pm

    Great thoughts.

    Last night we were hanging out with several families from the neighborhood, several who started as neighbors and who now worship with us, and I thought what could be better than insuring that your home acted as others third place.

    John, you mention the church as a community center, how would you see that happening? Is it enough to say we will be one or must you educate and adjust the environment with that in mind? Looking for your thoughts.

  8. johndobbs permalink
    July 3, 2007 2:19 pm

    Definitely, Darin, it is a process and not something that will happen overnight. Katrina turned our building into a relief center … but that went away and it is no longer centralized at our place (which I regret). However, we are having discussions with several about how to transition from hosting volunteers who are working in our community to being a service organization to our community. Trey Morgan’s “We Are The Sermon” Sunday recently was a great example of one way to do it … other ways under discussion at our place are weekly Senior Citizen Bible study / activity / meals; friday night movies/games for teens; Saturday night coffee house with entertainment. We currently have addiction recovery and divorce recovery groups meeting on monday/ tuesday nights. A parenting class begins on WEdnesdays next weeek … but … I want to get more of our members involved in these types of things … meeting needs / making friends. Sorry for the overuse of //// and … lol

  9. mandythompson permalink
    July 6, 2007 3:05 am

    wow. great question! we should definitely take notes on Starbucks to learn how to reach our culture…
    my third place: friends.


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