The church is central to those who follow Jesus Christ as Lord. It’s His presence on earth through the community of His people. As Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message:
The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence (Ephesians 1:22-23).
Whatever one’s experience with how believers gather as the church, it’s important to make sure that they do. A churched history is a rich inheritance every generation deserves to receive — and it informs how we represent Christ and His interests in our day. If my family were to move to a new city, these are the elements* I’d look for in our next church.
*Matters of praxis, not doctrinal distinctives.