The Christian life begins with the individual; a soul has a saving encounter with God and the new life is born. Not all the pooled efforts of any church can make a Christian out of a lost man. But once the great transaction's done the communion of believers will be found to be the best environment for the new life. Men are made for each other, and this is never more apparent than in the church. All else being equal, the individual Christian will find in the communion of a local church the most perfect atmosphere for the fullest development of his spiritual life. There also he will find the best arena for the largest exercise of those gifts and powers with which God may have endowed him. The religious solitary may gain on a few points, and he may escape some of the irritations of the crowd, but he is a half-man, nevertheless, and worse, he is a half-Christian. Every solitary experience, if we would realize its beneficial effects, should be followed immediately by a return to our own company. There will be found the faith of Christ in its most perfect present manifestation. But one thing must be kept in mind: these things are true only where the local church is a church indeed, where the communion of saints is more than a phrase from the Creed but is realized and practiced in faith and love. Those religio-social institutions, with which we are all too familiar, where worship is a form, the sermon an essay and the prayer an embarrassed address to someone who isn't there, certainly do not qualify as churches under any scriptural terms with which we are acquainted.