Can an Elephant Give Birth to Rabbits?

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A small church is not a rabbit

The image doesn't work. Early methodism was (as you note), not static. But it wasn't composed of rabbits. It was a social movement. Among its qualities were, the experience of completely changed lives, a people situated (and willing to be situated) among, with, and of, the poor, an overwhelming desire to invite others, a willingness to confess faults in small groups, an acceptance - even a affirmation of- sharp controversy, including strong stands at points against their neighbor's view of things, a commitment to mission instead of buildings, and yes, structural flexibility and the affirmation of paraprofessional leader training . Unfortunately, these are not the characteristics of the overwhelming majority of churches today. New forms must, will, and are flaring up like sparks. They must be nurtured. More resources for either elephants or rabbits will stop some elephants and rabbits from dying perhaps, but will not re-produce a social movement that had different well-springs of strength and controversy. Suggestion: Social Holiness.

Rev. Duane Clinker more than 4 years ago

Nice analogy

Right-wing critics of the Mainline Churches seem to almost always focus on loss of numbers. At first, they claimed most were leaving UMC churches for right-wing megachurches and the like; now, as even the most tredy previously of fundagelical bodies are losing membership too. Bottom line: it's not a numbers game. A nonmenotional ministry by UMCers like the late George and Eleanor McGovern - his excellent public service, work to relieve hunger with his fellow Great Plains UMCer Bob Dole, and their patronage of Dakota Weslayan University - far exceeds that of any shoutin' preacher from The Church of What's Happenin' Now. Loud ministries, to paraphrase George Washington Plunkitt, are like morning glories - beautiful in the dawn but they wither in the noonday sun, while the Mainline churches go fourishin' like fine old oaks.

George N. Shuler, LCSW more than 4 years ago

Elephant vs Rabbit

I love the analogy! Now I really do want to hear about the Rabbit church. I belong to an old church that has been stuggling for years and we are just beginning to come back to life, a little at a time. We just got a new family with four children from our VBS. First one we have held in YEARS and now we are trying to keep the momentum and joy going! Lots of work, but worth every second spent!

Sherrie Goff more than 4 years ago

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