I have written before about the essential importance of loving, being a part of, and going to church. To add to the list, here is a simple little story from Donald Whitney to help illustrate the importance of church fellowship within the Christian life.
A pastor went to visit a church member who had been neglecting fellowship. The man invited him in, and they both sat down by the fireplace. Without speaking, the pastor looked thoughtfully into the fire for several minutes. Then, taking the iron poker, he pulled one of the red-hot coals to the front edge of the hearth. Soon it lost its glowing warmth and became dark and cool. Silently the pastor pushed the coal back into the company of the other embers and it quickly returned to its former strength.
“I see what you mean, Pastor,” the man admitted. “I’ll be back this Sunday.”
The strength of your spiritual fire is related to the fellowship you have with the body of Christ. You will not be able to maintain your spiritual fervency without the spiritual fuel God supplies through fellowship.
(Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church, p. 158-159).
As the author of Hebrews wrote long ago, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (10:24-25).