Monday, April 18, 2011

"The Rabbit and the Elephant"

The Rabbit and the Elephant gets its title from a comparison of the reproductive speeds of rabbits and elephants. While rabbits multiply very quickly, elephants require a great deal of time to reproduce. The authors (Tony and Felicity Dale with George Barna) convincingly make the point that while simple churches are like rabbits, traditional/legacy churches are similar to elephants.

When I purchased this book, I assumed from the title that it would focus mostly on the multiplication of simple churches. While multiplication was part of the focus of the book, the authors also spent significant time speaking about the simple church in general. I found this to be helpful because they ended up writing about simple church reproduction within the broader context of simple church.

The authors focus on a great number of issues related to simple church life. They begin with the basics of what simple church is and how it functions, and then branch out into various other topics such as prayer, teaching, leadership, giving, missions, etc. Within this discussion multiplication is described and encouraged.

A significant bonus is the vast experience the Dales have in simple church. They add numerous practical examples to illustrate the concepts they discuss. These illustrations help make their ideas come to life.

This is a nice book for anyone to read regardless of background. The reason is that the authors both cover the basics of simple church and at the same time provide many helpful specifics for church multiplication. I found that while I had previously thought through some of what they discussed, I was also challenged with some new ideas.

I recommend it to all readers.


Jason_73 said...

I liked it a lot. It has had me thinking for a few years now since I read it.

Eric, what are your thoughts on the "Luke 10" evangelism model they describe?

P.S. if anyone wants a copy they have a bunch in the bargain bin at my local Christian bookstore... :(

Eric said...


Thanks for the comment. As for Luke 10, it makes sense to me to at least consider it. I'm not comfortable saying that we must follow all its principles and applications all the time, but it was a pattern that Jesus gave to some of his followers. I sound kind of wishy-washy. Sorry.

Much evangelism/missions is based on made-made ideas. Following Luke 10 certainly makes more sense that looking to man.

Joel Zehring said...

I was impressed by the spirit of the book as much as the content. Strategy can be useful, but in Jesus, we have everything we need to make disciples and expand the kingdom.

Eric said...


I agree about the spirit of the book. The authors had a positive and gracious one. They recognize the possibility and benefit of working with all Christians regardless of specific church background. I'm certainly glad I read this book.