For an ecclesiology seminar, I was asked to define the local church in 100 words. Below is my effort. Grant Gaines’ definition is better. Feel free to contribute your own definition as a comment to this post.
The local church is a group of people who are united with Christ through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and repentance of sins and who have been united with one another by Christ’s baptism of them into his body by the Holy Spirit. These individuals have then obeyed Christ in receiving the outward physical sign of the basis for the forgiveness of their sins (the death and resurrection of Jesus) and their baptism by the Spirit, namely water baptism by immersion. A local church is led by pastors, served by deacons, administers the ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) and is governed congregationally under the headship of Jesus Christ by His Word. Local churches should seek to exposit the Scriptures in preaching, exalt the Savior in worship, equip the saints in discipleship, and evangelize sinners as their mission.