Musings on Missional Discipleship and the Apostolic
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
150. Acts 1:8 and the Exponential Algorithm
I want to look at point number 2 now from the previous post. Jesus envisioned his movement in Acts 1:8 going from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria...to the ends of the earth. Is it just me or is there a massive geographical and cultural leap between phase three (Samaria) and phase four (ends of the earth) ???
If we look at the first three phases of missional extension, they are in relatively close proximity to each other, both geographically and culturally. Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria are all in the same region. Jesus then says it will go form this incremental extension from one locale to the next, to a full blown global movement....huh?
How does this work, and why did Jesus skip the progressive phases that would come after Samaria. Or, more importantly, why did he map out the trajectory of the movement in such incremental, iterative terms for three phases, in relatively homogeneous places and cultures? Why the micro to micro, and the to ful blown macro? Why not micro, to meta, to macro, or some other idea. Why not Judea, Asia Minor, Rome, and The world? Jesus jumps from a three phase process that evolved all in the same regional and cultural proximity, to a full blown global phase. Quite a skip hop and a jump! Why was Jesus vision of missional extension so disproportionate? The only way to explain this missional trajectory is to use the word exponential. Jesus was plotting the course of the movement out of an exponential algorithm, one that took into the account the concept of multiplication, not just addition. To go from local, to regional, to global is an exponential algorithm. To make that kind of jump from regional expansion to a global expansion requires an exponential kind of growth.
Just like his own movement that spent 3 1/2 years discipling and multiplying his life into other people, Jesus now envisions the extension of that movement taking a slow start, working its way into the various pockets of the surrounding region, then moving into other cultural groups (Samaria) and then, as a result of multiplication, it explodes into a full blown, exponential movement to the ends of the earth. The only way you can explain this trajectory of mission and expansion is to use the word exponential, which carries with it the idea of multiplication, nut just addition. Jesus was working off of an exponential algorithm of growth and expansion. It was at the very core of his vision for the church.
Here is a cool video about the exponential capacity of making disciples and multiplication.