Kevin DeYoung, in his marvelous little book entitled The Hole in our Holiness, made this simple important observation:
Because the church is the body of Christ, we cannot have communion with Christ without also communing with our fellow Christians. Fellowship within the family of God is one expression of communion with Christ. John says, “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). That’s a remarkable statement. No matter how goofy or insignificant your church may seem, fellowship in that body of believers is fellowship with God.10 Those serious about communing with Christ will be diligent to share in fellowship with other Christians (Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:24–25). In more than a decade of pastoral ministry I’ve never met a Christian who was healthier, more mature, and more active in ministry by being apart from the church. But I have found the opposite to be invariably true. The weakest Christians are those least connected to the body. And the less involved you are, the more disconnected those following you will be. The man who attempts Christianity without the church shoots himself in the foot, shoots his children in the leg, and shoots his grandchildren in the heart. (p. 132)
I have been a pastor for almost two decades and I concur wholeheartedly with DeYoung: “The weakest Christians are those least connected to the body.” Many have proclaimed the exact opposite but I’ve seen the ravaging effects of neglecting the body of Christ. Middle aged men and women to senior citizens have shriveled into spiritually gaunt and hollow souls. The church had been kept at a distance and they marginally (and nominally) maintained their membership — they are not only weak, they are (almost?) spiritually dead.