Elephant or Rabbit?

by | May 13, 2011 | Church Leadership, Church Planting

A friend recently shared this proverb with me, “If you want 100 tons of meat, raise elephants. If you want 1000 tons of meat, raise rabbits.” That word picture immediately clicked with me. Rabbits reproduce rapidly, can be raised on very little real estate and require almost no hands on care. You can start a rabbit farm in your backyard. Try getting approval from your homeowners’ association for a neighborhood elephant ranch and you’ll immediately see the difference.

But what if meat tonnage isn’t your only goal? What if you need to clear a forest? What if you want to start a circus? What if your goal is to offer kiddie rides at the fair? Have you ever tried getting a saddle on a rabbit?

Maybe the answer is to cross breed elephants and rabbits; elephabbits. You would have the best of both worlds; rabid reproduction, low maintenance and massive strength. The only challenge is that it is impossible. I’m pretty sure if you try to crossbreed a rabbit and an elephant you’ll just irritate the elephant and possibly kill the rabbit.

What, you may ask, does this have to do with church planting? Everything. One church planting stream says launch large, go big; raise elephants. There is great strength in this approach. Many very large, very effective churches have sprung up across the county in the past few years using this approach. Elephant churches have massive impact. Just look at Steven Furtick!

Another stream says that elephant breeding is too slow and too expensive; rabbits are the ticket. Very few leaders can raise the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to launch an elephant church and it can take years for a church like that to reproduce. Small, simple, house-ish churches are the answer. Rabbit churches lead to massive reproduction. Just look at China!

The answer to the puzzle is simple; if you want 1000 tons of meat AND you want a circus, raise rabbits AND elephants. Seacoast Church has campuses over 1000 and campuses under 100. Northland Church has very large locations around Orlando and micro-locations around the world.  At Saddleback we will plant any size church that leads people to live out God’s purposes in their world.

So what should you raise, an elephant or a rabbit?

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