“There are different kinds of service to God, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are many ways in which God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work in and through all of us.” 1 Corinthians 12:5-6 (LB)
I’ve learned several things in all my years being a pastor, and one of them is this: it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.
God loves variety. He never makes a duplicate of anything. Even identical twins are different. God’s creations are always unique, even with churches.
God wants every church to grow and bear fruit just like plants in a garden. Some churches grow small, some grow medium, and some grow big. As the apostle Paul says, “God gives the plant the form he wants it to have and each kind of seed grows into its own form” (1 Corinthians 15:38 GW).
Why does it take all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people? Because we like to make choices. Some people want a small church; others prefer a large church; still others like a church that is medium-sized.
I think you can classify churches into one of three categories, each with it’s own size and strength --
1. The Rabbit Church. A rabbit church is a microchurch or house church with a small group of people. For the first 300 years of Christianity, all churches met in homes. There were no church buildings. They followed Jesus’ teaching, “Where two or three come together in my name, I am there with them” (Matthew 18:20 GNT).
The strength of a rabbit church is its simplicity. It doesn’t take a lot of organization to form a rabbit church, just one person who says, “I’m willing to host a small group in my home.”
2. The Tiger Church. A tiger church is a mid-sized church of 100-400 people. Most churches are like this. They have more infrastructure, but also offer more support than a rabbit church.
The strength of a tiger church is fellowship because its size allows you to know everybody in the church.
3. The Elephant Church. An elephant church is a megachurch. The strength of an elephant church is full service. It is able to offer things to the community that a rabbit church cannot offer, such as specialized ministries and outreach opportunities. For example, Saddleback Church operates its own food pantry. We’re able to feed a few thousand families each week in our community. Another example, we have 150 counselors who provide over 50,000 hours of free counseling a year.
No matter which church you choose, God has a place there for you to serve him and fulfill his purpose for your life.
Take a look at this new curriculum from Saddleback Resources: Raising Your Kids without Raising Your Blood Pressure. This devotional is copyrighted 2011 by Rick Warren. Used by permission.