Greg King

Five Stones

Where is Your Third Place?

istock_000005053795largeThrough the years the church has lost its place as the community gathering place or the so called “Third Place.” The “third place” term was coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg. The concept of a third place involves a gathering place for people separate from the home (the first place) and work (the second place). The third place is an anchor of the community, which facilitates relational interaction between people in the community. The concept of a third place has become very important for the younger generation. This is obviously one of the reasons why you see a Starbucks or a Panera on almost every corner. You are no longer just paying for a cup of coffee or a sandwich instead you are also paying to be apart of community. If the church desires to become the “third place” in the lives of this younger generation then a lot of the sacred cows in the church are going to need to be removed. The fact is students drop out of church because their church is not essential to them. Lord may we as the church become Essential again in the lives of students.

Where is your Third Place?

If this article peaked your interest, pick up the book where I stole most of my thoughts The Essential Church.


December 6, 2008 - Posted by | Church Life, Uncategorized


  1. An important conversation for the future of the church. The challenge I’ve faced is changing, killing the sacred cows, without becoming trendy/fashionable, I think the key is killing the cows while maintaining the 9 biblical marks. I could write so much more on this topic but I’d rather go about being a part of the massacre. Much more sacrifice is needed from the established church.

    Go Gators!

    Comment by Spence | December 6, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hey Greg, nice blog.
    I’ve been thinking about this too but I have been taking a different tack. Do you think the role of the church in the 21st century is to be the third place where people gather or to scatter into existing third places like pubs and cafes and take the gospel to the places where the lost already make their deepest relationships?

    There is probably room for both approaches but it is interesting to consider it from a different perspective.


    Comment by plantwatergrow | November 29, 2009 | Reply

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