5_Star

As a former church planter, now educator, and someone interested creating self-replicating groups, I was first intrigued by the synopsis of the book “The Rabbit and The Elephant.” which reads as follows.

If you put two elephants in a room together and close the door, in 22 months you may get one baby elephant. But two rabbits together for the same amount of time will result in thousands of baby rabbits! In The Rabbit and the Elephant, “micro church” planters Tony and Felicity Dale use the “rabbit” illustration to show the pace at which the Christian faith can (and should) be growing—through evangelism that is explosive and transformational. The Rabbit and the Elephant contains the key to 21st century evangelism—taking the gospel to where the pain and the people are.

This book tells the story of Tony and Felicity Dale’s journey toward Simple Church.  In the past year, I had the opportunity to speak at their national church conference in Florida and get to see first hand that Tony and Felicity have a genuine passion for evangelistic-community.

With occasional input from coauthor and researcher, George Barna.  The the Dales use the rabbit and the elephant analogy to say that smaller church is much easier to reproduce than a larger and more complex church.  The Dales see themselves as fulfilling a specific call from God and as forerunners to a reformation that will be as big as Tyndale’s reformation (24).  The Dale’s vision for Church is promoted through their magazine, conferences, and two websites www.simplechurch.com and www.house2house.com.

A summary of why they value simple church is found on pages 13-15.
1. Jesus ministered in homes, and much of the Gospel narratives takes place in homes…
2. New Testament Christians primarily met in small group or home settings…
3. It is difficult to obey the commands of the New Testament in groups that are too large…
4. Jesus entrusted his ministry to ordinary untrained men…
5. Most aspects of ministry are better in a small setting…
6. Simple churches multiply more quickly…
7. Simple churches allow all the members of Jesus’ body to be fully functioning…
One of the refreshing positives of this book, is that while the authors promote the strengths of the “rabbit”-sized simple church, they do not make an enemy of the “Legacy” or traditional church.  They write,

Please do not think this is a criticism of individual legacy churches.  We personally owe a lot to the legacy churches of our formative years, and we are thrilled that two of our four adult children are seeking God with all their hearts at wonderful legacy churches.  We believe that God continues and will continue to use legacy churches in remarkable ways (31).

Unlike other books, and blogs, I am pleased that the authors are not turning “Simple Church” into another denominational divide.  I am glad that the Dale’s have chosen to value friendship and co-ministry with the Legacy Church.  For this reason alone, it is a good book, worth reading and I hope more folks will take a step in this direction of corporation for God’s Kingdom.
Author Info: Tony & Felicity Dale: Tony Dale is an incurable entrepreneur, always looking for the next adventure in his walk with the Lord. He and his wife, Felicity, who is also a physician, trained at the world famous St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. Now living in the United States, Felicity and Tony are actively engaged in training church planters. They founded House2House magazine and have authored several books, including their latest from Tyndale, The Rabbit and the Elephant, and others such as Simply Church and the Getting Started manual on planting house churches. Felicity and Tony speak regularly at conferences throughout the world and reside in Austin, Texas.

Dr. Joe Miller (aka JR) is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. In addition, he is a church planter and coach for emerging leaders. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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