Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.
1 Corinthians 12:27
We weren’t meant to be alone
At the very beginning of the Bible in Genesis 1, everything in creation was “good” except for one thing: man was alone. You and I weren’t meant to live life by ourselves. Because we reflect the character of a trinitarian God, we were designed for community.
To follow Jesus is to join a family
When we trust Jesus and begin to follow him, we don’t just have our sins forgiven. We also get a new family. We are adopted into God’s family, and his adoption gives us not only a new Father, but new brothers and sisters as well. And to not commit to this new, spiritual family as a member makes no more sense than not committing to our families here on earth.
There is a corporate shape to the Bible
In the Old Testament God saved a group of people. In the book of Acts people live in community with one another as they follow Jesus. And each of the apostle Paul’s letters is to local churches, pastors of churches, or individuals dealing with interpersonal relationships. Without a doubt, God is creating a people.
God’s big plan for our lives isn’t individualistic
God has given each of his children specific gifts and talents for the unique purpose of building up and encouraging one another. Although every Christian is a member of one body, each person has a different function within the body. In the end, everything is to be done for the purpose of growing the body to maturity. By not joining a local church, you deprive others of the distinct gifts God has given you and you miss out on fully participating in God’s kingdom work.
Meaningful relationships lead to spiritual growth
It is our privilege as a church to pray and care for each other when sick, strengthen each other when weak, and hold each other accountable when tempted to sin. While living life together, we have the gift of a church community that will help us as we are conformed more and more into the image of Jesus. By removing ourselves from the local church we remove ourselves from one of God’s greatest sources of grace for the Christian life.
Joining a local church gives us a divine purpose
Many people struggle to find a purpose for their lives. In Ephesians 3:10 God’s manifold wisdom and glory is made known to the universe “through the church.” God has a cosmic and divine purpose for each and every local church by reflecting his very character to the outside world. He sets up a church as a city on a hill to shine the light of the gospel to a dark world. By joining a local church, you are given the opportunity to take part in the divine story of displaying God’s glory to your community. God’s love and patience and care and forgiveness should be on full display. The church is the gospel made visible.
The mission of God is directly connected to the local church
God’s Plan A for world evangelization is the planting of local churches, and there is no Plan B. God’s mission to save a rebellious people and redeem a fallen creation is funneled through the church. If you look at the book of Acts and the start of Christianity, you’ll find the sole emphasis is seeing people saved, leaders formed, and churches established.