I am excited about evangelism, about discipleship, about church planting – and I am glad to know other ministers and laypeople, young and old, who feel the same way. There are still too many stories of lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit in our declining, struggling church to believe that God has abandoned us, even if our current dire straits may well be divine judgement for our sins and failures. Indeed, God promises to always be present where two or three are gathered in his name, in his Word, and in his sacraments, even in churches that feel bereft. The church may be a mess, but God’s promises are forever!

Fortunately, we are not without examples of the church being renewed, repaired, and reformed.