Saturday, July 4, 2009
The Rabbit and the Elephant
This is a new book from Tony and Felicity Dale and George Barna. They introduce us to the growing wave of house church. It is much more than that and now being called simple church. Where I live when you mention house church you think foreign missions. Missionaries in a far off land teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven. Avoiding persecution by meeting within the homes of new believers in Christ Jesus. This is biblically correct as we see in Acts 2:46. Here in the United States is it any different? The authors show us that Simple Church is all around us. Not just the four walls of a person’s home. Church can be at work, in a restaurant, a coffee house, on the street or where ever people meet. See Matthew 18:20. You might be conducting a simple church now and not realize it. Is simple church a bible study group? Yes, and much more. Is simple church and outreach program? Yes, and much more. What is simple church not? Great question. It is the one I was thinking while reading through this book.
Simple church is not the legacy church we are all used too. There comes the title. The rabbit represents the simple church small quick and growing fast. The elephant represents the slow moving difficult to change legacy church. Bogged down by confusing rules, traditions, and committees. I remember a few years back we started a small bible study group at our home. It quickly grew from just a few adults to families and their kids. All of us were involved. No real hierarchy just Christians meeting and studying the bible. Lives where being changed through Christ. Then rumors began to fly throughout the church that we were creating our own church and so on. So we stopped and let God’s work in us die. There lies the real problem with legacy churches throughout America. It has become about control and not about Christ Jesus.
What is Simple Church? Tony and Felicity Dale tell us, “Since simple church is utterly dependent on the leading of the Holy Spirit and the participation of all of its members, it can never be reduced to a program.” “This is not a movement of superstars; their day has passed.” “These leaders are nobodies, unrecognized by the world and the church. They do not care about their own reputations, only that the glory goes to God.”
One of the best parts of this book is the testimonials' throughout its pages. That alone is worth the price of the book. Simple church is more of an outreach than a replacement for legacy church. It appeals to what the authors call the not-yet believers. The following would be a good example. After we go to church most of us will go out to lunch. At the restaurant there are many waiter and waitresses there to serve you. Cooks and staff busy working to make your experience pleasant. Ask yourself, when do these people get to experience church? They cannot because of their work schedule. Are we just to ignore them and deny them the love that Christ has shown us? You start to see the appeal and the real need for simple church.
The Rabbit and the Elephant is a great book that all Christians need to read. If you are in support of simple church or not you need to read this book. Simple church is here to stay. To quote the authors, “Rabbits are small, live underground, and multiply really fast. Even when attacked by predators or disease, they reproduce and make a comeback.” To sum it up I agree with Tony and Felicity Dale, it is time to give back God’s church to His people.