Scripture is clear and sociology confirms that we were not created to be alone. We were created for relationships. Some people are more relational than others given their personality, but even the most socially awkward person was created for relationships.
The primary relationship God desires for us is a relationship with himself. Genesis describes an intimate scene where God came to the garden where Adam and Eve were hanging out just to take walks with them. When God created Adam, Eve was not far behind because it was not good for the man to be alone.
The point to my thoughts today is that we were created for community. Those who study humanity have realized that people need what they have termed a “third place.” In our culture, we value the home as our first “place.” Our school or work then becomes our “second place.” But humans need a third place. A place where they can relax with friends. That is why bars are attractive and that is why coffee shops have popped up all over the place. We need that third place to go and BE.
Here is my challenge – why shouldn’t church be the best “third place” around. Do people see the church as a viable third place? I think some do. But why wouldn’t everyone? The answer – perception. People are working off an old stereotype. One that paints churches as places of rules and hypocrisy instead of compassion and understanding.
It is time to change the perception. It is time for people to see the church as it truly is – a gathering of imperfect people who love God and love each other.
It needs to start today. It needs to start with me.