Small Is Big!: Unleashing the Big Impact of Intentionally Small Churchesby Tony Dale, Felicity Dale, George Barna
Church planters Tony and Felicity Dale and acclaimed researcher George Barna bring a big message to God’s church. How might we change the world if our Christian faith began multiplying at a rapid pacethrough a way of life that is explosive and transformational? It happened once before, in the early days of the church; what will it take to bring us to that point of urgency and determination again? Small Is Big (originally published as The Rabbit and the Elephant) offers keys to 21st-century evangelism: leveraging the power of the smalland taking the gospel to where the people are and the pain is. And as God uses us to channel Jesus’ love into a hurting, desperate world, we’ll see his church grow beyond anything we could have imagined.
- Tyndale House Publishers
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- 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
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Are you tired of the status quo and mundaneness of the institutional church? Are you bored by the monotony by the same-old, same-old: Song-announcements--more songs--monologue (usually boring and irrelevant)--a song--more announcements-go home? Do you even remember what last weeks sermon was on? Well, if you answered, "yes, yes and I don't remember," to these few questions above then you are not alone. As a matter of fact there is sacred seismic shift that is taking place and it is called, "simple church" (also known as organic churches, missional communities, house churches etc,). If you want to know more about this shift and what it looks like practically then Tony & Felicity Dale and George Barna's book "Small is Big," will rock your world!! "Small is Big," is a passionate book that beautifully articulates the angst in traditionally churched Christians and then discusses the common folk response of simple churches. Simple churches are not out to bash traditional churches but they are a different way of doing church that can radically change and transform people on a deeper level than the typical experience of getting lost in a sea of people and programs in many large traditional (or as they put it "legacy") churches. "Small is Big," provides wonderful examples of Simple Church practices and real life experiences of people who are doing this. "Small is Big," wonderfully combines theory and practice and should be a must read for all pastors and those who are disillusioned about traditional mainline churches. This is a challenging and beautiful read. Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
I was misled by the title of Tony and Felicity Dale's book Small is Big: Unleashing the Big Impact of Intentionally Small Churches." In order to convey the book's theme, the title should exchange the words "intentionally small churches" with "house churches". Rather than finding inspiration and ideas for effective evangelism for my small church, this book praises house churches and provides stories and illustrations on how they have been successful. While this is not a how-to book on house churches or a theology on the nature of the church, it provides ideas and encouragement in a conversational style along with some resources to consult at the back of the book. This book gave me food for thought on what it means to 'do' church. The Dales challenge the idea of a church meeting in a common building and propose that the best way to "do" church is in houses or coffee shops. They give 'traditional' churches (i.e. meets in a building that is not a house or coffee shop) a pat on the back throughout the book while also knocking them. I truly agree that house churches are a viable way of 'doing' church and believe in the simple church concept, but the emphasis of this book revolves around the shallow reproduction of house churches, which the authors themselves illustrate the goal as propagating like rabbits. This book was interesting and is really making me re-think my presuppositions. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review.
Originally published as The Rabbit and the Elephant, this book is now updated and expanded. What makes Small is Big special are the personal stories of various simple (house) churches: how they were started, how they worked, how they expanded, and so forth. It's also about evangelism and outreach, since most of the churches are started among non-Christians outside of church culture. It is more balanced than many other house church books in that it speaks positively regarding both "simple" (organic) and "legacy" (traditional) churches. The benefit of this is that the pastor/leader of a traditional church could easily glean from the information given without necessarily reforming all of church structure. It's also informative regarding the predominate move toward house and non-conventional churches, even in the Western world. Examples are taken from diverse movements within the church body, ranging from Iris Ministries in Mozambique (very organic and charismatic) to Saddleback Church (a program-lead mega church). It is a unifying resource. On the other hand, it's not as specific or detailed regarding the "theology" of house churches so to speak. For the reader who has specific questions regarding communion, giving, five-fold ministry, and so on, I recommend: The House Church Book by Wolfgang Simson, and Corinthian Elders by Jack Fortenberry. Small is Big is an encouraging and simple book about simple church, not a complete work on the ins and outs of the house church movement. I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of the Tyndale Blog Network.
What would it be like have church like the apostles used to? Small groups of people meeting in their homes to pray and have fellowship. Those people going out and making more "church" groups in other homes in other cities around the world. Well, it's like the illistration they used. Rabbits. Put a girl rabbit and boy rabbit in a room for three years and when you open the door, you'll have a million rabbits hop out. But take something big, like two elephants, and in three years you'll only have one baby elephant. Small things tend to multiply faster, including churches. This is a very thought provoking book. It actually answered some questions I'd been having like, "Why don't we take church to the world?" "Why do I just sit on a pew Sunday after Sunday?" "Should church be boring and non-interactive?" "Why are so many people leaving tradional, legacy churches?" I believe God can use anything. Legacy churches aren't bad, and simple churches aren't better. The real definition of a church is "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." (Matthew 18:20). I sometimes volunteer at this ministry called Young America that turned a trailer in the middle of a trailer park a place for kids to come, eat, and have a Bible lesson. And the kids call it church. At first I thought, "Aw, that's cute." But it's so true. A church doesn't have to have a steeple or pews. It can be in a trailer, at a coffee shop, someone's house, on the street, wherever. The authors were very clear at explaing that simple church is not for everyone. It's growing everyday, but just because simple church is gaining popularity doesn't mean you should go join one right now. You go where God leads you. I think they did a great job explaining simple church. I had never heard of it before. I knew people had Bible studies at coffee shops or at houses (my friend's family just started a church in their house), but I never knew it had a name. If you're curious about simple church, definently check this book out. It will answer a lot of your questions. Great job, Tony and Felicity Dale, and George Barna! I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.