I found this quote on a recent post over at movements.net. It’s a great illustration that I think you will enjoy. The notes below are from Bill Hodgson on why Geckos are Better role models than elephants (Movements.net is a great site and worth spending some time on!).
The simplest form of church is the most adaptable, flexible, versatile, resilient and reproducible to multiply out in different contexts.
Asian Elephants – Life span: may live more than 50 years?Gestation: 21 to 22 months?Number of young at birth: 1. Asian elephants a considered rare, especially in the wild. They are extremely strong but not very adaptable or flexible and certainly always visible.
Elephants attract a lot of attention. It requires two to reproduce and if successful they will only produce a single off spring every 2 years! They require a lot of food and resources. They require special training and skills to manage and and must be carefully controlled or instead of great good they will do great harm. Although very powerful they are easily stopped (easily detected and hard to miss). They are not frequently found in local neighborhoods and people’s homes and certainly haven’t spread much beyond certain places in Asia. They need help of special conservation programs to survive.
Thailand house lizard (Gecko): The wall gecko (“TUK KAE” – ??????) or house lizard (“CHINGCHOK” – ??????) can be found everywhere in Thailand and infact most countries in the world including all sth and central Asia, Australia, middle east, north Africa Latin America and the United States! Only 7-15cm long. They are so flexible and adaptable they travel by ship and hitch rides in plants and shipping containers. Thai people can eat “TUK KAE” but not “CHINGCHOK”. House lizard appear at night time and make shrill sound. If their tail is cut, it will grow again.
Whatever homeowner does, house lizard always find a way to enter inside home. Asian House Geckos live between 5-10 years, can reproduce all but a few months a year, lay two eggs at a time and in some circumstances the females can reproduce without the males to ensure survival but they only give birth to female offspring. ie. A single female Gecko, as necessary, can reproduce two other females 4 or more times a year (eggs taking 50-65 days to hatch). How like a Church is that…not even require two churches, but every church can reproduce itself. Males are very territorial (often distracted by comparisons and trying to chase off rivals from their territory) and a typical house population consists entirely of females.
POINT of illustration: Both are living creatures that reproduce like kind, just as churches are living organisms that God intends to reproduce like kind. The question is what kind of churches reproduce most easily and multiply most rapidly with least demand on resources, greatest flexibility and adaptability and thrive in many varied cultures and contexts?…the western model of church is elephant church. The New Testament model of church is Gecko church, size is not the issue, just reproduction of healthy life in Christ is the issue. As Jesus said: “By this you show that you are my disciples in that you bear much fruit (NOT that you grow really big).
The point is what “form” type of churches are we seeking to reproduce?…..focus on the simplest form that can be reproduced most easily everywhere and leave the results to God. Some will fail, some will remain but not multiply very effectively, some will multiply hundred fold, some will remain small, some will grow large. All that is secondary. The main thing is making disciples who make disciples who make disciples and who are committed to a strategy of planting churches that plant churches. That is the unstoppable force of the Kingdom of God!
The Focus is NOT on reproducing churches but multiplying multiplying disciples through CPM’s.