In Acts 2, we learn that God saves us not only out of our sins, but he saves us into community. In Jesus, we are connected not only to God, but to a group of people. That's why, when people come to faith as Peter preaches, they are immediately baptized and then it says they were "added." The church, then, isn't an optional "extra" or the Christian, but rather a fundamental part of what God is doing. He isn't just saving individuals, but creating a people for Himself. All followers of Christ ought to be committed to a body of believers somewhere.
Acts 2:42-47 goes on to explain what this community looks like. They were a learning community - they were devoted to the apostles' teaching. They were a worshipping community - they worshipped in large groups at the Temple, and in small groups in homes. They were a loving community - they cared for one another, meeting each other's needs. This sharing had an economic as well as a spiritual dimension to it. And lastly, they were an impact community. They demonstrated the gospel to others by the way they lived in community together. And it was attractive - they had the favor of the people around them and their were daily conversions (v.47).
I love this idea of a "demonstration community." The church ought to give people a living example of what life could be like under the rule of Christ. Tim Chester and Steve Timmis explain this idea well in their book Total Church.
"I have a tree in my garden. 'This is the best apple tree in the world,' I tell you. You can see for yourself that it's a fine tree. The shape is exquisite, the foliage is lush, and the trunk is stout. But the only sure way of proving my claim that it is the best in the world is to taste its apples. You know a good tree by the apples it produces! So it is with the gospel. We know that the arrival of the kingdom is good news because of the kind of rule the King exercised on earth. We know it continues to be good news by the communities he creates that live life to the full and model his rule." (Total Church, p.64)
This is part of what we want to do at New City Church. Our hope is to declare and demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ to our part of Cincinnati.