Multiplication Center

Third Place Comes to Church

May 7, 2014

Friends in a Coffee House

Today’s churches are strategizing in ways that are innovative, intentional and missional to reach a group of people who might not be churchgoers, but who are attracted to a nonreligious venue for coffee, lunch, play dates, workouts or concerts’ where followers of Christ are also hanging out.

Leadership Network’s concept paper, Third Place Comes to Church, previously published by Lois Swagerty, discusses some of ways churches provide informal places to meet.

Here are some great quotes from the paper:

“Third places are distinctive informal gathering areas that make one feel at home and allow people to relax and unwind after a long day at work.”

“Life without community has produced, for many, a lifestyle consisting mainly of a home-to-work-and back-again shuttle. Social well-being and psychological health depend upon community.”

“Recognizing this shift in culture, churches today are becoming increasingly strategic about providing a Third Place to meet a growing need for community contact.”

“Research says that an unchurched person is no more inclined to go into a church than a Christian is to go into a gentlemen’s club. It’s completely off his radar. Places are needed to provide an entry point with a community mindset.”

“These aren’t programs that the church started. People came in and asked for the space. The whole purpose is not for evangelism per se; it’s to serve and strengthen the community. There’s no hidden agenda to convert you.”

To see the entire library of Leadership Network’s papers, podcasts, and videos go to


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