When I was around 16 I started going to Young Life and a local church youth group with friends. What I was hearing started to sound true and I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. Even though I frequently went to worship at local churches, I do not ever remember a Young Life leader telling me I should go to church. The Bible was put up as all authority and it was pretty much assumed, if I had the Good Book, I had everything I needed.
Well, here's the thing: since my conversion to Christianity, I have always seen church as an "extra". Like, not really necessary, but pretty cool and mostly helpful if I found one that I liked. But I always wanted a church family. I was (and sometimes still am) wicked jealous of my friends that have amazing church families. And that's what they call them, their "church family". I see in all of their lives how essential community is. When our sweet Avalene had neurosurgery when she was 3 months old, we def could have used some community love. But we didn't have a community, so instead of feeling lifted up and comforted during a very difficult time, we felt alone and sad. If I am being totally honest (and heck, why not, it's my blog right?!), I will say that it is one of the hardest things to see people crowd around a family in need and know that no one did that for us. Am I being selfish? Yes. Do those other families deserve to have support and love? Absolutely. And I will say, our parents were very helpful and were indispensable to us during this time. There were also a few close friends that reached out. I am just trying to present the idea of church and community as a necessity and not at all an "extra". Humans were created for relationship. We were all created to be in relationship with God, and we were created to be in relationship with others.
1 Timothy 3:15 says, "I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (emphasis mine. source.)