Mark Noll in a Q&A about American Christian history and the church today:
My own historical sense is that churches that have been effective and have thrived mostly are concerned more about the communication of the Christian message. What turns out to be the most effective way of strengthening the organizations is not always looking at the organizations, but it’s looking at the message.
What is the church for? It’s to communicate the love of Christ and the doing of Christ’s work in the world. It seems to me that the effectiveness of institutions will depend upon, not clarity of thinking about institutions, but the success of church institutions will hinge upon the clarity of thinking about the message that they want to communicate.