The local church has been minimized over the years by many individuals as a nice to have but not as a necessity. There is seemingly more importance placed on reading the bible rather than living the bible within a covenant community. The often cited excuse for not attending a church is generally geared towards the broad-brushed idea that all churches are corrupt or they are dont’ allow for some leniency in regards to secondary theological issues or practices.
The latter of these reasons is generally due to a lack of understanding about the nature, function and purpose of the church. They enter with an ideology that is based upon their emotions and needs rather than what the scriptural declaration of what the church should do. In other words, they want the church molded to their specifications rather than the individual being molded to the biblical method of gathering as a church.
There are a number of materials out there as to how the church should conduct itself as a covenant community. Someone recommended to me A Treatise on Church Order by John Dragg. I thought this book was well written and clear on how a church is to function. Mark Dever also has some fantastic materials on his website to address this issue and he has written a number of books on this very topic. While there are certainly things I see a little different than these individuals, I feel that they do a wonderful job at presenting a good base for this often ignored topic. Enjoy!