Imagine you take two elephants. For our purposes, they are a male and a female. You put them in your garage (hopefully, it's big enough!). You give them plenty to eat and drink and you shut the door on them. Three years later, you come back and open the door. What comes out?
Three elephants, that's right! Mum and Dad elephant and one baby!
Now instead of two elephants, let's pretend you put two rabbits in the garage. At the end of three years, when you open the door, you had better run for your life, because millions of rabbits will explode out of that door.
The point? Something that is large and complex is hard to reproduce. Something that is small and simple multiplies easily. Elephants take a long time to reach maturity and have long gestation period. It takes time to produce a single elephant. Rabbits, on the other hand, are extremely fertile all the time. They reach maturity in four to six months, and their gestation period is a mere thirty days. Hence the expression "breed like rabbits."
So begins a new book The Rabbit and the Elephant by Tony and Felicity Dale and George Barna on why small is the new big for today's church.
God's original mandate to us was to "be fruitful and multiply (Gen.1:26)." Reproduction is God's will for all of us. Disciples need to reproduce more disciples, leaders need to reproduce more leaders, ministries need to reproduce more ministries, and churches need to reproduce more churches. No doubt, smaller (more simple and less complex) things reproduce far easier. That's why large mega-churches sometimes don't grow (proportionally) as fast as smaller churches. That's why small groups are an essential part of any church, and especially as a church gets larger, because they enable unlimited reproduction. The first church at Jerusalem was a large church with over 3000 people from the first day but they multiplied rapidly through a network of smaller groups meeting in homes throughout the city (see Acts 2). Maybe God is wanting to so something similar in our generation … in every town and city across the face of the earth.
Let's go forth and multiply …