I've often wondered about those questions. Earlier today I read an article on Boundless that started me thinking about these things again. The article was called Love the Church. I would encourage you to read the article for yourself, but for those who don't, the basic premise is that in all of our desire to do big things for Jesus we cannot leave the local church in the dust. We need the local church along with those big things.
After I read the article, I found myself reflecting on what my usual attitude is towards the local church, and how it comes across in what I say and how I spend my time. Do I love the local church? Do I value meeting together with other believers? Do I value serving in the local church the same way I value doing the big things for Jesus?
There was a couple of sentences in the article that seemed to jump off the screen at me:
"The passion for ministry and commitment to a local church are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they must go together. You can't be all about the mission of Jesus and not be all about the mission of His bride."
When I read that, it felt like it got to the core of the issue for me.
I have heard the argument about not being involved in a local church that Jesus didn't go to church. Except that over and over in Scripture we find that He was to be found in the local Synagogue - the church of the day. And although He often spoke against the religious establishment of the day, Jesus was speaking against the misguided way they were leading the people in ways that were not according to God's will. Jesus' model for ministry was always in the context of people together. And much of the New Testament is comprised of letters to the local church in an area. Paul spent much of his time strengthening the local churches in areas he went to. Scripture makes it pretty clear that the local church is an important, I would daresay vital, part of our lives as followers of Christ.
So, I'm left with the question of whether I love the local church. And the challenge that I need to love the local church and I need to live in such a way that my life shows I value it.