Where are the "third places"?
[Frost] suggests that people generally live out their lives between three distinct places: Home, Work and a third place. For many Christians, their third place is church and church activities. (He goes on to suggest a deep interconnectedness between this reality and the decline of the church.) While many Christians spend their free time engaged in religious activities with religious people, most everyone else has traditionally found their third place in spaces like bowling alleys, pool halls, mothers' groups, local pubs, and beauty parlors.
Identifying the third places of your community will tell you a lot about the people you are seeking to reach. Furthermore, it identifies for you the places your church must go if you are to reach them. People don't have time for a fourth place. That is what the church isn't getting.
Some helpful questions for determining the community's third places might be: How do people spend their free time? Is there a thriving night life? Recreational lifestyle? Performing arts community? Professional sports team? Family culture?
This is an interesting question. What are the 'third places' for my people group?
After giving the matter some thought, I am encouraged to realize that for a great number their 'third place' is others homes. People here are very social. They love to spend time together with other people. Due to the difficulty of getting around in large congested cities, most tend to stay close to home at each others houses. Usually the homes of other family members. When people are not at work or at home, they are likely to be at someone else's house visiting. In that sense they are what Frost describes above as a family culture.
What implications does this hold for planting new house churches?
1) We are about small family based assemblies oikos/house churches made up principally of extended family members, their friends, and neighbors.
2) We have barely begun to tap into the potential of this 'third place' family culture of the home.
3) What strategies might we suggest to existing church families to begin seeing the potential for using their homes as 'third places' to minister to family and friends who happen to stop by?
What are common 'third places' for your people group?