Monday, June 01, 2009

Rabbit and Elephant

The Rabbit and the Elephant by Tony and Felicity Dale provides an intriguing perspective on "doing church":
Put two elephants in a room together, close the door and in 22 months you'll end up with one baby elephant. Put two rabbits in a room together, close the door, and in 22 months you'll end up with thousands of baby rabbits!

The Dale's, teamed with George Barna, make a case for Rabbit Churches (house churches -- or at least congregations that have that kind of mindset) as opposed to Elephant Churches (or the traditional approach.)

Although they overlook some major advantages to the classic church structure, they bring a refreshing new way of thinking about doing church in a way that is relevent and real.

One concept of the book was absolutely transformational for me -- thinking of church as liquid rather than solid.

Solid church is the structure -- the budget -- the program - -the building -- the policy.
Liquid church is the relationship -- the love -- the flowing with the Holy Spirit.

I have really thought a lot about this and would like to write, speak and blog much more on the concept in the days to come. (My belief is that church should be both solid and liquid -- with the emphasis on liquid!)


  1. Thanks Mark I really like those analogies of liquid and solid. Sounds like a good read. I look forward to the next posts.

  2. Careful - - - when you get too many rabbits in the same small space, they start eating each other - - - - I'm just sayin' - - -

    Oh my - - - the word verification for this is laggraph and a rabbit is a lagomorph - - - that seems rather a coinkydink, doesn't it?

  3. Steve Gerich12:29 PM

    Seems to me it's about friends inviting friends. Whether it's to church, church events or small groups (house church). Why should elephant be assigned to the traditional approach? (What do they mean by traditional?) We don't mean large vs. small do we? Large can be good or bad. So can small. Write some more.

  4. Steve Uhthoff6:55 AM

    Thanks Mark; I ordered the book. It looks like a great idea. I'll follow along with you: Steve U.

  5. The most important measure of a church seems to be this: Is it genuinely advancing the Kingdom of God? If not - it is not "good" church no matter how "good" we feel about the institution we are calling "church." If it is advancing the Kingdom, then it really doesn't matter so much what the structure is - so long as it holds to the scripture and fulfills the Kingdom purpose.

  6. Anonymous10:00 AM

    Tommy Mitchell has a very good point. So many seem to want to 'feel good' about what they are accomplishing. Instead they should ask themselves what they are accomplishing for God.

  7. I reviewed this book for Tyndale you can go to my blog to read it:

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