Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Origins + Labs: McManus and the 3rd Space

The final space is the third space … and this is where the world gets changed. This is where influence exists on the highest level. There was some confusion on this point. You cannot make your church into a third place. It is always a first place. The question is whether it can equip people to make a difference in the 2nd space. But it cannot directly influence the third space. Nobody can choose to get to the 3rd space. You have to get invited. Paul was asked to go to Mars Hill (Acts 17.19). This is where Paul was able to change the course of history, but you have to be invited in.

What’s uncomfortable about this space is that people follow you before God because they don’t know Him. But that’s how you introduce them to Jesus. He uses Shakespeare as a third space example (I didn’t get it. Guess it shows how far I am from third space). I understood when he used the movie example, however. You can create movies in the 2nd space, but you know you’re third space when you’re invited to make a blockbuster. A Biola University (a local Christian university) guy was invited to produce (I think) The Day the Earth Stood Still. He was invited to the third space, to be an influencer. You can’t push you’re way in. You have to be invited. Once invited, you can influence.

The problem we’ve had as a church in this area is that when we have superior 2nd space talent, we’ve called them to get out of the 2nd space and use their gifts in the 1st space, where they’ll never (or exceedingly rarely) get invited to the 3rd space to alter the course of history. He said the greatest musicians in the 60s became Christians and the church told them to make praise music for the first space and a huge potential for influence was lost.

I found this a great challenge that I’m not sure what to do with. Their goal at Mosaic is to create a 1st space that helps in the 2nd space and is known by the 3rd space. Sometimes that doesn’t work with people in the 1st space. McManus had to de-friend facebook and Twitter friends because they’re so entrenched in 1st space subculture that they were undermining his mission to connect with people in the 2nd and 3rd space. If you’re committed to making change in the 1st and 2nd spaces, you’ll be shot at from people in the 1st space because you don’t fit their paradigm and the things that make 1st space people happy don’t resonate with the 3rd space.

The goal is to help people find Jesus at work around them. Paul didn’t bring Jesus to Athens, he pointed out, through their own poets, how Jesus was at work to make Himself known to them. He rolled out that God is in everyone’s story. We need to help people get in God’s story. The challenge is that Paul was rejected by many – are we willing to endure rejection. And are we willing to risk the loss of reputation to be part of what Jesus is doing. Get ready for friendly fire.

The final notes I wrote from these plenary session was this: “Triangle: willing to risk, Scripture, we need Jesus.”

I don’t know exactly what this means, but I have a good idea and that’s a good place to start a group committed to reaching our community. We have God’s Word. We need to cry out for Jesus to show up. And it is a risk. Here we go.

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