Apparently there are those who hunger for and delight in disembodied, mediated-by-pixels spirituality. I am not among them.
-- Glenn Lucke
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus says "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing . . . and teaching them." So where does Jesus say that the discipleship he commands us to foster is supposed to take place? What is the context of discipleship, according to Jesus? Where does he want you to be discipled? The answer is clear and simple. We are to be discipled in the place, in the context, in which baptism is administered. And where is that? The para-ministry? The campus Christian fellowship? Our favorite Christian voluntary organization? The small group of Christian friends who gather regularly to pray in one anothers homes. No, not primarily. These may all be good things. But Jesus answer here is different and fundamental.
His answer? In the local church. Jesus wants us to be discipled in the context of the believing community where the vows of baptism are taken and where a whole fellowship of Christians is committed to mutual encouragement and accountability - "make disciples, baptizing and teaching them," he says. In other words, real Christian discipleship is inescapably corporate and ecclesial. The discipleship and teaching that Jesus enjoins is to take place in the context where baptism is administered, right smack dab in the middle of the baptized community. Jesus says that’s the place where discipleship happens – the local church.
-- Ligon Duncan
Though no local church is perfect, and the universal Church often looks more like a cheating spouse than a faithful bride, I identify myself with this bungling bunch of believers. The church is home. The church is God’s beloved. The church has been bought with precious blood.
Though the presence of the Kingdom is not as intensely felt in the church as I would like, it is the sign of the Kingdom in this age, faults and all. And if Jesus is content to give his life for an unruly Church, I must find satisfaction in serving his church with all my heart and soul. Because he died for her, I live for her.
-- Trevin Wax