I even understood church related stuff (better than I do these days). I had memorized the Evangelism Explosion outline and could lead someone to Christ without using notes. "Have you come to the place where you know for sure that if you died tonight you would go to Heaven?" Those were the days of "Key '73", bus ministry, Basic youth Conflicts, Body life, Dare to Discipline, The Total Woman (Marabelle Morgan wearing Saran Wrap), The Moral Majority. I loved those days and must admit that sometimes, in a moment of weakness, I long to return to them.
Obviously, others do too. I remember an elder at a former church telling me that he and the other elders there talked about taking their church back to the way it was in the early 70's. The actual verbiage he used was, "...back to the way it was when you first arrived there." I remember what the church was back then, a happy-go-lucky, go-along-to-get-along, social club steeped in traditions with eyes fixated on their glorious past. It was a fun time; very little pressure; virtually no challenge. But we couldn't stay there in that time warp forever. Things changed, even in that rural, back water place. We actually made progress. We grew. Imagine that! We tried new things. We read books and went to seminars. The '70's gave way to the '80's. Culture began to shift, and methodologies had to adjust accordingly. What worked for a while had to be rethought. Sometimes, what worked for one year had to be scrapped the next.
Ultimately, I am forced to admit that change is the only constant in this world. We may reminisce fondly about a former era, but we aren't allowed to go back to it. God calls us forward to new things, and obedience to Him requires us to move onward and forget the past (Phil. 3:12-14). I'm reading a book by Erwin Raphiel McManus called, An Unstoppable Force. He is dealing with this issue in a provocative way and he ends chapter 3 with a succinct quote from Bruce Barton,
"When you're through changing, you're through."