Ministry in the Power of the Resurrected Jesus
During Lent this year, I read two books, “The Crucifixion of Ministry,” “The Resurrection of Ministry,” written by Dr. Andrew Purves, a professor of Pastoral Theology at Pittsburg Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, I was inspired powerfully by his books and I got renewed understanding of ministry of the church.
Christ- centered, redemptive ministry of the church is the theme of his books: “Where Christ Jesus is, there is the ministry of the church.” “If we have no life in Christ Jesus, we have no ministry of the church.” What does it mean to have life in Christ? The author writes that it is the crucifixion which is the foundation of redemptive ministry of the church, and it is the resurrection which is the power of the ministry of the church. We are called to be crucified to our own ambitions, trying to get church ministry into the center of things without relying on the redemptive work of Christ. And we are called to participate in the resurrected life of Jesus Christ in the ministry of the church by living in union with risen Christ Jesus.
The early disciples witnessed to the resurrected Jesus. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary heard that Jesus was risen from the dead and went to Galilee waiting for his disciples there. (Matthew 28). Two disciples on the way to Emmaus met risen Jesus, who was walking, eating with them. (Luke 24). Seven disciples saw risen Jesus waiting for them at the Sea of Galilee and offering them breakfast (John 21). Eleven disciples received commission from risen Jesus and his promise to be with them always to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28). They witnessed that risen Jesus moved ahead of them and continued to work through them in his presence, power, and promise.
The ministry of the church is not our ministry. It is the ministry of Jesus Christ. We do not redeem the world but Jesus Christ does through us. We do not heal the sick but Jesus Christ does through us. The risen Lord Jesus works. He continues to lead us. With this paradigm of ministry of the church, we are able to live in God’s power in the life of the church, knowing who we are called to be, what we are called to do and how we are doing in the church.
In May, we celebrate Aldersgate Day and Ascension of the Lord, leading us to the longest season of the liturgical calendar, Kingdom Tide/Pentecost. Living in the power of the Holy Spirit is the life dynamic of the church as we live in union with resurrected and ascended Jesus, the Lord, in his presence, power and his promise.