Saturday, February 1, 2014

the Rabbit & the Elephant by Tony & Felicity Dale, George Barna

I was browsing online on Amazon when I chanced upon this title. Now I'd heard much about George Barna and was intrigued when I read the synopsis of this book on the website. That, the many good reviews, and the fact that I was keen to know how to enable church growth made me plonk down my money on Book Depository for it. 

I finally received it a couple of days ago after a reasonable wait and had already forgotten why I bought the book in the first place. But the lovely Chinese New Year holiday break meant that I could finish this lovely gem in two days. It's quite an eye-opener I must say. 

The analogy given by the authors forms the basis of this book. If you put a male and a female elephant in a room, feed them well, after 3 years, you might expect to get a baby elephant. However, put a pair of rabbits in that same room, in that same amount of time, you'd expect millions of rabbits to come hopping out! Similarly, megachurches are hard to replicate but small, they call it 'simple' churches can multiply rapidly. 

Coming from a megachurch myself, that was rather worrying. But hey, I wanted to find out how to bring Christ into the whole world, so let's leave no stone unturned shall we? 

Initially, I thought these simple churches were akin to a cell group. But they are much, much more than that. Cell groups often tend to be a replica of the main service, having a praise and worship segment in the beginning, followed by preaching and ending of with a time of giving. 

These simple churches on the other hand, can be as basic as a couple of friends coming together for a meal and sharing Christ. Or a couple of housewives having a discussion on Jesus and how they've been hurt by the church. Or a bunch of pre-believing businessmen studying a book written by the wisest man, the book of Proverbs, with the authors. Turning church on its head. 

The book teaches one how to start a simple church and provides many helpful tips to boot. I loved the chapters titled 'The Master's Voice and 'Luke 10 Principles' which talk about hearing from God and praying for workers for the harvest respectively. 

After reading this book, I feel so inspired to start a simple church on my own. But after some prayer, I realized now is not yet the time. However, if you have already felt led to do so, this book will prove to be an invaluable resource to you. 

I pray that every Christian hungry to see the Kingdom of God come would get a copy of this book to know how to better reach out to others. Even if one doesn't start a house church at the end of it, the lessons learnt can be translated into other aspects of our lives as well. For example, I am now better equipped to share my testimony of how God's changed me to my colleagues at work and to my friends and family as well. 


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