When we minimize, indeed, even eliminate the local church from Christian living and following Jesus we have missed the Gospel.
Part of this stems, in my opinion, from our over-focus on a “personal relationship with Jesus.” And while undoubtedly the Christian life is very much about a relationship with Jesus (John 17:3), we must remember what the church is in regards to Jesus: his body, the temple of his Holy Spirit, his bride, his flock, and his household.
Several times over, the Bible calls Jesus the head of the church which is his body—and we are the members. A church-less gospel is like the thumb trying to be in a relationship with the head while maintaining no connection to the hand, the wrist, the arm, the shoulder, the torso, etc. A severed thumb really has no relationship to the body at all, let alone the head.
The Gospel is more about Jesus saving a people (Titus 2:14) than a particular individual. Yes, God saves his people by saving individuals but then he takes them and makes them part of something bigger than themselves—part of a flock, a body…a church.
The Gospel produces the church. And no individual Christian can live a Gospel-centered life apart from belonging to and involvement as a member in a local church....Much more at the link.