A French-reformed Pastor of the 19th century, Adolphe Monod, asked the question, “How are we to deliver the church from its inward languor [tiredness or inertia] and outward inactivity?” A question that could fit well with the current trend of what has come to be known as “church revitalization.”
He considered various public ways of countering this problem but offered the following as his preferred approach to deal with it.
“On the other hand, there is something repugnant to my feelings in noisy ways of acting. I should prefer, if possible, by eloquent preaching, by first-rate schools, by an excellent organization, and by conspicuous holiness in Christians to command the attention and the respect of the world. That would seem to me more noble and more sure. But it would be a very slow process.” (Life and Letters of Adolphe Monod, 110).
What I like about this insight is that the church is to remain faithful to its essential callings of preaching/teaching, worship, discipline, and holiness. Regaining these and renewing commitment to them is a major step toward “revitalization.”