“Our personal relationship with Jesus is not an individual relationship with Jesus.” These words by church planter Brian Howard capture the thought of the Bible, a thought that is at odds with the trend to have “a church of one”. The trend that expresses the thought, “I have my personal relationship with Jesus. Meeting with a church is one way to enhance that relationship, but it is not a necessary part of the Christian life.”
A church of one. It’s an oxymoron. The Greek word translated “church” in many Bible literally means “called out assembly”. You can not have an assembly of one. Nor can you fulfill over fifty commands (not suggestions) in the New Testament in regards to our relationships with “one another” if we are not rooted with God’s people in the church. Nor can you actively participate in Jesus’ purpose to “build My church” (Matthew 16:18) by living a body life in the church where “each part is working properly, mak[ing] the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16).
Is living and laboring together as the church easy and without conflict? No. A casual scan through the epistles makes that very clear. Churches are a bunch of redeemed sinners in various stages of sanctification interacting with one another. Rather than simply looking for a “perfect church” (they don’t exist) and a “church that always makes me happy” (they don’t exist because you are a sinner), why not plant yourself with a group of believers so that you can grow and can help others grow?
A great sermon on debunking the thought of “a church of one” and exploring the positive side of Christian growth within the church was given at an Oasis Christian Community winter retreat by church planter Peter McNaughton. In his message Christian Growth: Church, McNaughton helps eliminate excuses to not get involved and demonstrates the power of Christian growth within the context of being fully engaged with your local church.