Did they mean church the way it used to be when the American culture gave lip service to Christianity with blue laws and other vestiges of Christendom? Maybe they longed for the days when some churches in the South defended racism with Scripture proof-texts. How about going back to the days when the differences between churches were enough to start a war? Or perhaps, the folks in this church wanted to go all the way back to the first century, when churches argued over which teacher to follow, or treated the poor in their congregation with disrespect.
It doesn't really matter what they meant by "church the way it used to be." We are not living in any point of time during the last 2000 years. We are living today, in the 21st Century. While human nature is still basically the same, there are so many things that have changed. While some of us would like to be able to gather daily with the church as they did in the early church, that may be impossible today. Attitudes toward the church in America have changed in the last 50 or 60 years, so a different approach is necessary. In other parts of the world, the church faces an entirely different set of challenges. Their "good old days" may be a time when there was no church in that land. Should they long to go back to that?
Instead of looking back to an imagined time when "things were better," and striving to get those days back, we should be looking for ways to be followers of Jesus in the time and place we are in. Although I can think of one way we can do things the way they used to be done, or at least should have been done all along. The first command that Jesus gave his church was to love one another as he loved us. That command has never changed.