What might these ecosystems look like? This suggests a new kind of space, one that is different from the church, but still supports people in their spiritual process. In such a spiritual "third space," people could pose questions without fear of judgment and investigate these inquiries together, using the Bible as a primary source.
It was at Q Place that I awoke to the dire need for a space like this. More importantly, I was also introduced to a solution. Q Place is just this—a third space, a safe space, a place for questions. A Q Place forms when two or three Christians initiate a group, invite their friends with questions, and create a welcoming environment for exploring spiritual truths.
In a Q Place, no one is an expert and facilitators are not supposed to give answers. So how does the gospel get shared? Through relationships, building trust, and reading Scripture, participants experience the good news about Jesus in new ways, or in many cases, for the first time. In a Q Place, participants have ownership over the faith process, and they retain more of what they learn. In this more Socratic or inductive way, they are never told what to believe, but rather discover Christ for themselves.
We believers are often simultaneously plagued by intimidation of the "E-Word" and by guilt that we are not doing more of it. Q Place helps overcome this paralysis. We neither need to be great apologists, nor do we need to have the most rockin' church service. Our role in this kingdom work is to listen, ask questions, welcome, love, pray, and cultivate other such practices that pave the way for spiritual conversations which introduce outsiders to Christ.
The Vital Conference that Q Place sponsors, and Q Place at large, completely shifted my evangelism paradigm. I now have a vision for living missionally and the tools to help me practice missional living. I know now that what matters is not saying the right thing, but how well I listen. I don't need to stand on a street corner; I can just be with friends, having conversations about God which, in many cases, they are eager to have.
What's more, I've seen this work on a regular basis in my own Chicago apartment. Each week I see God working in my group of 20somethings, and frankly, I don't worry how long it takes for them to grow their faith. It's not my responsibility anyway—it's God's. My role is to celebrate each step of the process, like when my group opened the Bible for the first time, or when my friend shared how this is the only place where he can talk about this stuff.
Q Place has applications beyond this younger generation, to be sure, but I attest that this is something that will resonate with them in a big way. I am not alone in thinking this. Dave Maki, a pastor in Indiana, says:
We never imagined that we would start a Q Place for 20somethings, but that is what God did. The people who came were not so much questioning God as they were disconnected from the church. These young people came hungry to know more about God … They are learning how to pray in front of others and expanding their prayer concerns. They are talking about what they are learning and sharing it with people they know. It is so refreshing to hear enthusiasm about God's Word and prayer. This group is moving at God's pace and we are blessed to watch it happening faster than we expected. So much so, that we are going to plant a seed for some of these 20somethings to consider becoming initiators of new Q Places in the future.