Most often we think of the Church as a "strategy" or a "system" for local evangelistic efforts, social change, or a dispenser of resources to help the individual on his or her Christian journey. Churches are offered like different shops are offered at a mall. Indeed, the largest churches offer themselves as a kind of spiritual mall in itself, bidding the seeker: Come here and choose from our wide array of Christian classes, teachings, activities, that which you need to live out your individual Christian life. In this model the church is a repository of spiritual goods that assist the individual Christian. It is a vendor of religious services. It is the Home Depot for the spiritual do-it-yourselfer.
But that is not the Church of the first century. The Church of the first century is “a people.” The Church is not a helpful thing for my individual spiritual journey. The Church is the journey.
—Tod Bolsinger, It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian