Fresh Expressions is a canary in the coal mine, alerting congregations to reevaluate what the Church is, where and when it can happen, and who can lead it. Church as we know it is inaccessible to most people. A fundamental premise of the movement is that Church can become accessible again by emerging in every nook and cranny where life already happens. Fresh Expressions is based in simplification, returning to basic scriptural principles, and a recovery of a “priesthood of all believers”—in the three places where people live and relate to others.
First Place: The home or primary place of residence.
Second Place: The workplace or school place.
Third Place: The public places separate from the two usual social environments of home and workplace, which host regular, voluntary, informal, and neutral spaces of communion and play. Examples are environments such as cafes, pubs, theaters, parks, and so on.
During a pandemic, our two primary mission spaces were closed off; the second and third places were shut down. We couldn’t have Tattoo Parlor Church; the tattoo parlor was closed. We couldn’t gather in Moe’s Southwest Grill for Burritos and Bibles; they were doing take-out only. The dog park was empty; no Paws of Praise. This limited us to the only spaces we have left: the first place, or the home place. The digital place, or the “space of flows.” This forces us into recognizing the digital space as its own kind of third place, a new missional frontier.