Society has changed over time, providing fewer organic opportunities for people to gather. Yet, these “third place spaces” (non-home and non-work) are as important as ever. Consider the proliferation of coffee shops, with their intimate seating and wi-fi connectivity. Congregations can create natural third place spaces by rethinking the way they use gathering and people-moving space. Instead of funneling people through these areas, they can install elements that invite people to “stay and get to know the church and one another better.” This 8-page article from a church architect offers practical tips and a research-based orientation to the concept. Key “third place” elements are detailed: Nooks, Edges, Hot Spots and Perches. A “Try This” section suggests related, actionable tips. There is a case study featuring one congregation’s transformation. Leaders interested in enhancing their hospitality by strategically addressing their gathering spaces can start with this article.
Curated by Marie F. Fleming