Since Justin is teaching on church membership right now, I thought I would post a great excerpt from Love or Die by Alexander Strauch on the relationships of love in the local church.
Believers cannot encourage one another to love if they don't meet together regularly as a church family. This is why the writer of Hebrews exhorts his readers to think creatively of ways to "stir up one another to love," and warns them about neglecting "to meet together, as is the habit of some" (Heb 10:25). Our growth in love is not ust an individual exercise. Love requires both a subject and an object, thus love is a corporate learning experience. We grow in love by engagement with other people, not in isolation from them.
Christians cannot develop love by sitting at home alone on the couch watching TV preachers or by attending a weekly, one-hour church service. It is only through participation in "the household of God," the local church (1 Tim 3:15), with all of its weaknesses and faults, that love is taught, modeled, learned, tested, practiced, and matured. By dealing with difficult people, facing painful conflicts, forgiving hurts and injustices, reconciling estranged relationships, and helping needy members, our love is tested and matures.
One simply cannot grow in love without the stresses and strains of life together in the household of God, the local church.... If you are not a participating member of a local church, then you are not in God's school of love.