Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Helen Mildenhall, manager of the Off the Map blogs and an "almost atheist" herself also drove out from Oak Park to be with us. She has an excellent summary of the evening at her blog so rather than restating everything she said, I'll just encourage you to go read her reflections.
BTW, up/rooted won't be meeting separately next month since we are hosting the Midwest Emergent Gathering. It's not too late to sign up to attend (only $60), and we especially need volunteers to help with some of the behind-the-scenes work. Volunteers get to attend the rest of the conference for free, so if you'd like to help, please email me at emergentmidwest(at)gmail(dot)com.
Friday, June 15, 2007
A big thanks to Pernell and Matt from The Freeway for joining us at up/rooted.north last night, and the 20ish people who came out. Pernell talked a bit about third places in general (recommending Ray Oldenburg’s The Great Good Place): there must be no pressure to consume, there must be new people constantly, and there must be a consistent group of regular people. I confess, I kept thinking of Cheers through this whole section. Where everyone knows your name...
But the evening wasn’t as much about third places in general as it was about how the intentional third place of The Freeway is central to its life as a missional community. Seriously, if you want to know what being a missional church is all about, spend two hours with Pernell. The Freeway, in Pernell’s words, purchased a bank building on the busiest corner of
Pernell said more than I can hope to summarize here, and I was just blown away at how the mission of Jesus to his people (or as Mark Van Steenwyk would say, the Jesus Manifesto) is driving all these creative ways The Freeway is responding to and serving their neighborhood.
Pernell stressed that a third place is not an add-on program, not a new fad for the church. It is central to the shape of The Freeway, and it can’t really be done any other way. But I can't help but think that those of us in churches not shaped around a third place can still learn from The Freeway. So for those of us in missional churches with traditional buildings (or no building of our own), what can we apply from the experience of The Freeway to our own local bodies? Can our homes or our local coffeeshops become third places of community on a smaller scale? What are creative ways to intentionally engage people in third places without buying and running your own coffeeshop?
Saturday, June 02, 2007
A third place is not a home, and not a business, but an informal gathering place that fosters friendships, discussions, and networking. Third places are incredibly important for churches who don’t want their front doors on a Sunday morning to be their only gateway in their communities. If our churches are to be missional and incarnational, third spaces are crucial ideas to understand and bring to life (or participate in) in our neighborhoods.
Pernell planted a church called The Freeway in Hamilton, Ontario, that has developed a coffeeshop as a third space, and will be speaking on what makes a good third space for community witness. We can also engage him on broader church planting issues/struggles. There is a fantastic write-up and podcast of an interview of Pernell by Allelon here.
I’d encourage you to read Pernell’s page on third spaces, and come on June 14th to engage in the theory and practice of third spaces for our churches in the suburbs, where third spaces, like all forms of hospitality, face unique challenges. Don’t miss this critical conversation about being incarnate in the places where we live.
June 14th, 7pm, at Life on the Vine Church. See you there!