My wife and I recently watched the move Wanderlust, which is about a couple that finds themselves unemployed and experimenting with living on a rural/hippie commune. Initially the couple is not so sure about the commune, but for a time end up embracing this new free-loving lifestyle. The movie is a comedy so it captures the funny side of a hippie commune, and the couple end up not continuing to live in the way that the commune does.
But what really caught my attention in the movie as I watched is what really appealed to this couple about this commune, the community aspect. The unwritten rules were based around the idea that nobody really owned anything, but that they all shared everything. In the case of a hippie commune this can go to extreme lengths such as sharing spouses as partners.
Although I am not suggesting that we as Christians should live as if we are a hippie commune, I am suggesting that what appealed to this couple is exactly how the church should appeal to the world around us, our community. The church should be a community such that those around us want what we have as those in Christ as we model the aspects of the early church that we see in Acts 2:42-47.
The Christian Community Is Central To Christian Identity
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis in their book Total Church point out that "We are the community of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14) in community with the Son (1 Corinthians 1:9) - sharing our lives (1 Thessalonians 2:8), sharing our property (Acts 4:32), sharing in the gospel (Philippians 1:5; Philemon 6), and sharing in Christ's suffering and glory (2 Corinthians 1:6-7; 1 Peter 4:13). Somewhere along the way we have lost this sense of community as people started practicing a "private" faith. The truth is that as followers of Christ the private aspect of our lives is over and we are now called to be a people in community.
The Christian Community Is Central To Christian Mission
Chester and Timmis also point out that "God made us as persons-in-community to be the vehicle through which he would reveal his glory. Jesus left the church with the task of the Great Commission in Matthew 28, which is to be completed by the community of the church as we make new disciple through the planting of churches. As followers of Christ we are all called to be on mission and God designed it such that we would be sent on mission together.
So if you are in Christ, but not connected to the body of the church then you are living an unbalanced life. If you are not in Christ and have not observed a church that exemplifies a community that you desire than I apologize as we are still a group of imperfect people who do not always get it right, but I encourage you to give the community of those in Christ a chance as there is no other thing truly like it in the world.