Jesus has taken his place at the right hand of the Father. He has vanquished all the powers. In his person he has carried human nature up into the presence of God the Father. Ascension points to the fact that the whole cosmos has been re-organized around Jesus of Nazareth. Mission is a response to this doxological reality. And so is the church’s life of worship.
Ascension means the church is the kind of institution that is simultaneously drawn upward in worship and pushed outward in mission. These are not opposing movements. Unfortunately, too many churches today see it that way. Ascension forbids such a dichotomy. The church does not have to choose whether it will be defined by the depth of its worship life or its faithfulness in mission. Both acts flow from the single reality of ascension. Both have integrity only in that they are connected to one another. Mission is the church’s response to the universal lordship of Jesus. When people respond to the gospel— whether through faith and repentance or by bringing every area of life under the lordship of Christ—worship happens. The more authentically missional a church becomes, the more profound will be its life of worship since mission always ends in worship. It flows from the place of the ascended Christ in his heavenly reign, which means mission’s success increases the amount of praise and worship of God in the world. Together the church’s life of mission and worship enact and bear witness on earth to what is already true in heaven.
Here’s the rest: THE CHURCH UPWARD AND OUTWARD: IMPLICATIONS OF THE ASCENSION