In Proverbs 29:18 we read: "Where there is no vision the people are unrestrained." The word for "vision" refers to a vision or oracle from God. The word "unrestrained" (translated "perish" in the KJV) refers to a people who go their own way, do their own thing. In other words, without a clear Biblical understanding a people will be without direction.
In our postmodern American generation we are plagued by a low view of the church. Even pastors who give themselves to consistent expositional preaching find it difficult to impress upon the modern Christian a Biblical view of the church. Most Americans are fully indoctrinated by a high sense of individualism. In other words, they are motivated primarily by that which affects them personally.
In Christian salvation individualism loses ground to the concept of "body." The Christian is a part of the Body of Christ. The local church (ekklesia) is a body of believers. Spiritual gifts are dispensed, not for personal edification, but for the edification of the body. Membership in a local church is a covenant agreement whereby the individual pledges accountability to the body. In similitude to JFK's "Ask not speech" during his 1961 inauguration, instead of asking, "What can the church do for me," the church member should ask himself, "What can I do to strengthen the church?"
Unfortunately, most church members today continue to operate strictly on the level of the individual. They join churches according to their needs, and they leave without any regard for the wellbeing of their congregation.
May God grant us to see our church as our Divinely appointed place of service and may we give ourselves fully to its health and prosperity. May God grant us a Biblical "vision" of His church and our place in His church.