(Image: my kids on a Florida beach)
The best way I know to find a good body of believers, believe it or not, is to stop looking. I sense your frustration with ‘church’ as we’ve come to know it, but I think as long as our focus is on ‘the church’ we’ll miss who Jesus wants to connect us to and how he wants us to live. Without sounding trite, I think we’re to be focused on HIM—growing in our relationship to him and letting him show us how to love people he as put around us in our neighborhood, at work, and wherever else we live in the world. Out of those growing relationships he’ll connect us to people we can share him with and others with whom we can walk together in the journey of faith.
I know that isn’t very concrete, and it does take a significant time. It is not as easy as looking up a group in the Yellow Pages and joining in, though if that works for you, fine! But more times than not ‘groups’ have other priorities above simply loving Jesus and loving each other . . . .
If you have dear friends, just learn how to love each other together and share your spiritual journeys of living in Christ. Don’t force it into the artificial nature of a 'meeting' but simply let it thrive in your relationships and how you get together. The church is not something we build, it is simply a way of living alongside each other that makes Jesus known . . . .
So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them: "I'm here to introduce you to this God.... He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; he's near. We live and move in him, can't get away from him!" ~Acts 17