There are two types of churches that seem to be growing more rapidly in the United States–the very large and the very small. A few years ago, Tony, my husband, felt very strongly that we should try and get some dialog between the two, and so we arranged a meeting for about 20 leaders from both styles of gathering to come together for two days of conversation. Northland: A Church Distributed, in Orlando hosted the time together. Northland is a multi-site church that has consistently found ways to bless the house church movement.
The most poignant moment occurred some time into the conference when Dan Lacich, one of the leaders at Northland shared. He effectively said, “Can you not trust me to have heard from the Lord that he is leading me to stay within the traditional church structure?”
When we feel very strongly about a topic, it’s easy to assume that others just haven’t seen the light yet. If only they would seek God more, he would show them what he’s shown us.
For a long time, since we first realized that God was going to do something major with the simple/organic church movement, we have been praying that God would overturn church history. Usually when a new move of God occurs, its primary detractors are from the move that came before it. So we began praying that God would cause traditional churches to bless the simple/organic/house churches, and that we in turn would only speak well of and bless the churches we have come from. It’s for this reason that we like the term “legacy” churches (originally coined by our friend Kent Smith).
A few years ago, Tony and I wrote a book with George Barna entitled, “The Rabbit and the Elephant.” (This book has since been republished in paperback under the title, “Small is Big.“) The obvious analogy is for small and large churches, and refers to the ability of the small to multiply quickly. Because of where the Lord has led us, the book is primarily about the principles of how to make disciples and gather them in simple/organic churches.
God is far more interested in our hearts than he is in our structures or correct doctrine. Rabbits and elephants are not renowned for cooperating together in the wild, but can we, as large and small churches and everything in between, find ways of cooperating together synergistically for the sake of the Kingdom of God?