Church Planter and researcher Ed Stetzer has been looking at the results of the Lifeway Church Dropout Study and observes that if you consider yourself a Christian but don’t love and enjoy a covenant relationship with a local body of believers, you are essentially saying "I love Jesus, but I don’t love His wife."
Writes Stetzer, at his blog:
…many young people today are simply reflecting a "church culture" created by modern-day believers — a culture he says is very consumer-oriented and that encourages an attitude that says "if you don’t meet my needs here, I’ll go somewhere else."
"And when you do that," he adds, "you create a culture where people can say ‘I love Jesus, but I don’t love his wife’" — which Stetzer points out is the bride of Christ, the church.
"I think we need to begin to see that this covenant community called church is not an option in the Christian life," he continues. "But to be fair, that’s what we’ve made it in North America today — and perhaps these young adults are reflecting to some degree the church culture in which they were grown and discipled."
Indeed, church is not supposed to be simply a place to go sometimes for some music, teaching, and fellowship, like some kind of club or fraternity. It’s supposed to be a holy institution, a family of believers, through which God leads, nurtures, teaches, and trains. Membership in and service to a local, biblically organized church body is not optional in the life of a believer, and is something that should not be taken lightly.