“The church lies at the very center of the eternal purpose of God. It is not a divine afterthought. It is not an accident of history. On the contrary, the church is God’s new community. For his purpose, conceived in a past eternity, is not just to save isolated individuals and so perpetuate our loneliness, but rather to build his church, that is, to call out of the world a people for his own glory.”
–John R. W. Stott, The Living Church (Nottingham, UK: IVP, 2007), pp. 19-20; quoted in Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Crossway Books, 2012, p. 39.