Without the ascension Jesus’ ministry remains in the past, even given his resurrection. It is not enough for us to believe that he who died for us is alive again. He must yet reign in power and be present in ministry. By his ascension he ever lives to continue the ministry he had while on earth. In this sense the disciples are no more privileged than we are. The Lord who was there with them is, in his Spirit and freedom, here with us. It should be clear why I said that the loss of the ascension is fatal to our ministries. If Jesus is not now a present, acting and reigning Lord, it is completely up to us to do something messianic in imitation of him; and that is beyond our abilities, although we flail around and tragically keep trying.
Andrew Purves, The Crucifixion of Ministry: Surrendering Our Ambitions to the Service of Christ, (Downers Grove, IL: Ivp Books, 2007), 62-3.
Many call themselves theists, over against atheists. But are we practical deists when it comes to doing ministry? If our ministries do not reflect a Jesus that is present, acting, and reigning among us, then the answer is inevitably yes.