Henri Nouwen has an awesome article entitled "Moving From Solitude To Community To Ministry." The point is, no matter how we fashion church, ministry, or life, we need first and foremost... to be with God... alone with God. Here is an excerpt:
Solitude is being with God and God alone. Is there any space for that in your life?
Why is it so important that you are with God and God alone on the mountain top? It's important because it's the place in which you can listen to the voice of the One who calls you the beloved. To pray is to listen to the One who calls you "my beloved daughter," "my beloved son," "my beloved child." To pray is to let that voice speak to the center of your being, to your guts, and let that voice resound in your whole being...
Solitude is where spiritual ministry begins. That's where Jesus listened to God. That's where we listen to God.
Sometimes I think of life as a big wagon wheel with many spokes. In the middle is the hub. Often in ministry, it looks like we are running around the rim trying to reach everybody. But God says, "Start in the hub; live in the hub. Then you will be connected with all the spokes, and you won't have to run so fast.