None of us on the Christian path travels alone; we always journey with others at our side, before us, and trailing behind us. A great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1), a communion of saints both living and departed, surrounds us. There is no such thing as a solitary Christian, which is both a descriptive reality and a great grace. To be a Christian means we are part of the body of Christ. The local communities in which we live out faith give faces and names to our companions on the journey.
Authentic Christianity is an intensely personal matter, for the living Christ invades us at the core of our beings. But it is never a private affair just between us and God. The broader Christian community provides the means of support to stay on the road and the corrective against going down our own paths of self-obsession and sometimes self-destruction.
-- Kenda Creasy Dean and Ron Foster in The Godbearing Life