George Barna in his book Revolution predicts that by 2025 "the majority of US Christians will gravitate out of the local church entirely, and two-thirds will find their spiritual nurture equally in other options.." These will combine together to create "the personal church of the individual."
Our culture's value on human autonomy can be traced back to the Enlightenment which placed humanity as the standard for or the center of all things. Unfortunately, this focus on the individual can shape the way we read Scripture. Take for example the word "you" as it appears in Scripture. We usually read that word "you" as meaning us, ourselves, our person. Yet the word "you" is usually plural, so as to not mean a single individual, but the community of the faithful (even when it is singular). Take for example Jeremiah 29:11 that is often quoted. Try and read it again through the lens that the meaning is all of Israel and not simply an individual.
Today's Reading: Acts 2:41-47. This time notice the repetition of the word "together."
How biblical is this notion of church that begins with our interest and needs?
How might the rise of autonomy work to undermined the authority of the church in our lives?
How might the sheer number of Protestant denominations show the effects of individualism? Is this a positive or negative for unity within the Kingdom of God?
If a friend asked you why they should join a church how would you answer?