A brief comment that was made at the H2H Conference has stuck in my mind and become a full-blown profound thought. The comment was: "Solitude precedes community."
In other words, our individual inner lives must be filled and refreshed so that when we gather as community some of us are bringing something into that community.
Community itself does not produce life. It's a place to gather the life, build on the life, release more life... but life has to ultimately come from within each believer. If we are not retreating into personal solitude (whatever that looks like for us) in a way that is allowing God to fill and re-create us, then we will be bringing empty shells into community hoping that someone else will bring something to fill us. If everyone comes to community in that fashion, the feast will be an impoverished one.
One of my joys with house church, having come from a traditional ministry background, is the joy of not feeling responsible for "how the gathering goes." I am responsible for myself, what I bring to a gathering... but sometimes a gathering just has very little going on spiritually. I find great joy in letting that be okay. It is okay. That is how we each learn that if we want to see more going on we may need to bring a little more depth ourselves.
Now, let me say, that it is also okay to sometimes come to community empty. That is how we minister to one another. This week I'm on empty and you minister to me. Hopefully, next week it's the other way around. I don't want to make it sound like we each must always be "filled to the brim" to come to community.
But the point still stands. Solitude precedes community. Community will ultimately be the sum total of that which each person brings (spiritually) which God then takes and multiplies through His Holy Spirit at work.