Third Space – what it is and why you should go.
We thought we would sit down with Walter and learn more about this year’s new approach to our young adults program. So here’s the skinny on Walter Brynjolfson before we get to Third Space. He’s a recent Trinity Western University grad, a part time ukulele busker, a Waldo impersonator, a SouthRidge youth leader, a recent missionary to Israel and Palestine, and the guy who came up with Third Space.
Question 1: I’ve been following you on Instagram and this summer you’ve been to Israel, then Montreal, caddied for Tiger Woods, and then you hitchhiked across Canada. During all of that, how’d you come up with Third Space?
Answer: [He laughs.] Despite how epic all that seems I came up with the idea for Third Space while I was in Quebec City a few months ago. I had recently been talking on the phone with Wes about getting involved in SouthRidge’s young adult program. But I wasn’t sure if I should. So then, one night God woke me up and I had the realization that I needed to take this opportunity seriously. Then, an accumulation of ideas that had been floating around in my head for several years all suddenly came together. The idea of Third Space felt like something my generation would want so I went with it. I kept planning for the next couple of weeks and then I pitched the full idea to Wes.
Q2: He obviously loved the idea and has helped you develop it into a weekly event. What’s the experience like at a Third Space night?
A2: It is broken into two parts. First we open up the coffee shop half an hour so that people can come, relax, read scripture or chat with friends. It’s a spiritual refuge from the daily grind of life. Then the program portion starts. Think of a Christian spin-off of TED Talks except in a chill independent coffee shop. Mix in some slam poetry, old hymns, common prayer, and an array of delicious caffeinated beverages and you have Third Space. The main part of the night consists of short presentations on various topics. Young adults are encouraged to go up and speak on one of the topics and share their passions and inspirations. It’s a decentralized model that gives everyone the chance to express themselves, practice public speaking, and teach each other. We’re all coming with a vast array of experiences and interests and there’s a lot we can learn from each other.
Q3. I feel like I’ve heard the term third space before. Where did you get the title?
A3: The term third space is from a concept that’s been around since the late 80s. Ray Oldenburg came up with the idea that everyone has three spaces: home, work, and the third space. He defines it as the social environment where we go to find friendship, community, identity, and entertainment. It can be any location.
The students and young intellectuals who instigated the French revolution all met in coffee shops. But it wasn’t the coffee shop that started the revolution, it was the people, it was the relationships that formed, and it was their combined beliefs.
The idea is that our Third Space Nights will help to create a community that not only builds relationships and has fun, but looks outwardly towards God’s kingdom and finds ways to improve it.
I feel we live in the loneliest period in human history. Christians have to lead the fight by finding ways to develop community. You can’t develop good character or have any kind of fulfillment if you don’t have friends to struggle with.
Q4: So tell us who’d love the Third Space experience.
A4: We regularly have lots of university students who visit as well as young professionals. The night is tailored for any young adult who’s seeking to develop their spirituality, eager to learn, and willing to share.
It’s the perfect environment for a stressed Trinity Western University student who needs a break from studies (or who needs a coffee shop to study in). But it’s also perfect for a young married couple working on their professional lives.