Becoming A Third Space

Over the past few months, the way we are able to participate in the life of the Church through worship services and ministries has radically changed. Home and work have shifted for many as well.  The disruption of these spaces have created uncertainty and discouragement. It’s hard for everyone.

 

At the same time, we know God is at work in this season bringing something beautiful out of the chaos. As we have prayed and sought His direction, we believe there is an incredible opportunity to partner with God in something we are calling ‘Third Spaces’. This is actually a term used by missionaries. Third Spaces are non-traditional groups that are steeped in mission, aligned by common values and focused on bringing the Kingdom of God into their community. So while COVID-19 may have disrupted the Church in unprecedented ways, we believe that God is using it to help us dream again about what the church can do.

 

The Vision of Third Spaces:

Intentionally gathering to unleash hope and freedom into our communities

 

Our Eight Aligning Values:

1. Intentionally Formative: 

We will let the lives we live be the school that God wants to use to transform us more and more into the image of Christ and we honor each other by letting God use us to help instruct one another.

 

2. Evangelistically Inspired:

To reach people no one is reaching we must do things that nobody is doing.  We will reach those around us because they matter to God and therefore matter to us.

 

3. Outwardly Oriented: 

We are spiritual contributors, not spiritual consumers. The church does not exist for us: we are the Church and we exist for the world.  We will not hide in one place and expect people to come to us, but will actively pursue those around us with the attractive aroma of Christlikeness.

 

4. Radically Generous:

We are faith-filled, big-thinking, bet-the-farm risk takers.  We’ll never insult God with small thinking and safe living.  We will lead the way with abundant and intentional generosity. We truly believe it is more blessed to give than to receive.

 

5. Joyfully Attentive

We will joyfully celebrate everything; knowing that nothing is more fun than serving God together. Fun, adventure, excitement, accomplishments, and achievements will be treated as the momentous occasions that they are.

 

6. Emotionally Transparent

We will freely give and receive trust because without safety we are incapable of being our true selves.  Grief, lament, struggle, pain and surrender are a part of who we are; so we will embrace each other in hard places.

 

7. Respectfully Diverse

We know there are no perfect people, perfect groups, or perfect churches.  Therefore, we will hold people in higher esteem than our preferences.   When it comes to opinions, stances, theology, personal practices or choices and other divisive opportunities; we will choose to be charitable in judgement, quick to listen, slow to speak, and respectful.

 

8. Intentionally Connected

We recognize that Christ’s Church is the chosen vehicle with which God wants to partner with us to save the world.  As such it is our responsibility and calling to support and unify the Church, both local and global.

 

How Do I Start:

Observe: Take a look at your life, friendships and the spaces around you.

  • Who are the people I already know who would want to join?  
  • Who are the people I don’t know who would like to join? 
  • Who has God put on my heart to partner with?
  • Are there people in my neighborhood I may not know who are also connected to MVC that I can partner up with? Note: We can help connect you with MVC people in your neighborhood!
  • What specific place in your community needs the hope and peace of the Kingdom of God?

Invitation:  Together, gather and pray; asking for God’s invitation to become clear of what he is asking your Third Space to lean into.

  • Which of the eight Aligning Values strike something deep in our hearts?
  • What themes do you feel God nurturing in your soul?
  • Is there an Aligning Value that could impact our broader community if the underlying principle is applied differently?  Think and pray outside of the box.
  • Keep an ‘observation invitation’ journal where you can remember where God is inviting you as a group. This could be a group message, a shared electronic note, etc.
  • Ask God to open and close doors.  Everything we do partners with Kingdom resources.  
  • Where are we afraid to take risks?  What barriers are we letting stop us?
  • What can we do to move towards the future with an honest sense of adventure and creativity?
  • Where do we need to practice caution and discernment?
  • Listen, listen, listen.  Both to each other and the Trinity.

Cooperation:  Decide how to join God in what He is calling you to do or be.

  • Prayerfully make plans as to how you can practically do it.
  • Be specific in your steps, strategy, and ideas.
  • How long does it take? Is there a cost? What help do we need?
  • Any good plan benefits from gaining a healthy perspective.  Make lists of the SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your plan.
  • Anticipate adversity.  The Enemy loves to disrupt holy movement.
  • Clarify the win: how do we know we are doing what we set out towards?
  • Celebrate the wins.  Share stories with the broader MVC community of what God is doing in and through you.  Are you seeing progress? Testimony encourages each other to press on.