Christianity without the Church?

A growing number of people are interested in God. However, at the same time church membership is declining in the United States. The reason? It seems we have adopted a "Jesus and me" approach to Christianity. Our culture stresses the importance of the individual and independence. People have adopted the attitude that their faith is personal and that they do not need the church. Of course, Jesus did come to save individuals and restore our relationship with God. However, that is just the beginning! In Matthew 16, Jesus asked Peter, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" Jesus did not say, "You are right Peter! Now go your way and build your own relationship with God." No, Jesus called each of His people to follow Him. His disciples followed Him together. When we all follow the same Jesus, we will follow Him in community like sheep with a shepherd. Jesus said to Peter, "I will build My church." The church is a new community of people who each share Peter's confession. This community of believers is universal in scope--spanning every age and every nation--but it is local in expression. Jesus is building His Church by calling people out of this world to Himself and placing them in little flocks called local churches. Jesus intends to build His universal church by establishing local churches who carry out His work in Christian community. Have you made a commitment to a local New Testament church? Are you faithful to attend, support, and serve? If not, I challenge you do be part of the Church that Jesus is building. There is no Christianity without the Church.