The potent spiritual discipline of simply showing up


So now you are no longer strangers and aliens. Rather, you are fellow citizens with God’s people, and you belong to God’s household. As God’s household, you are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. The whole building is joined together in him, and it grows up into a temple that is dedicated to the Lord. Christ is building you into a place where God lives through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

Sunday morning there was this unmistakable “buzz” around our campus at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. We weren’t celebrating any kind of a “special” service, it was just a regular day of showing up and worshipping God and loving each other.

Maybe that was exactly it; maybe it was wonderful precisely because we don’t need anything out of the ordinary to be motivated and excited. This is just what happens when a vibrant, love-saturated, faithful community of believers gathers for worship. The phenomenon is not special occasion specific, or production related, but a function of authenticity and truth.


People don’t come to church because something special or out of the ordinary is scheduled, church is special and out of the ordinary because people come.

One of the most potent tools available to us in terms of spiritual growth is the essential discipline of simply showing up. This Sunday, once again, I am all kinds of grateful that I did.

In love, and because love will not let me go – DEREK



  1. Derek, I really appreciate this post. My church is presently in the process of growing its members. I thought it would be an easy process: Just invite friends and they will come. Unfortunately, it seems “church” is low on most people’s priority list for a Sunday (of all days!). This is the day to sleep in, do the laundry, make brunch, watch CBS Sunday Morning, wait til noon to make the bed. You know the drill. Sadly, many people WORK on Sundays. Even believers who have become complacent skip church. “I’m okay” they say. Besides, I KNOW what’s going to be said. I want to apply an adage from 12-step philosophy, only I will substitute “church” for “a meeting.” When you’re struggling and need answers, go to church. When you’re hungry for fellowship with other believers, go to church. When you’re plagued by habitual sin and need support, go to church. When everything seems to be going perfectly and you have absolutely no problems, RUN to church!” There is great reward for “suiting up and showing up.” Moreover, sometimes you are not going to church for YOU; sometimes you’re going for the OTHER believer who needed to see your consistent dedication or hear an encouraging word that only YOU can give them at that moment. I’ve come to the point in my spiritual growth that whenever I “skip” church I truly feel like something is missing. Have a blessed day my brother! Steven.

    Liked by 1 person

    • again, that’s a really insightful and helpful analysis, Steven.
      Attendance is an interesting metric, and hard to pin down. We have many faithful, committed members who are active in lots of ministries but who make it to worship on average 1-2 times a month – and it’s because of work travel and kids’ obligations and so many other things. We have around 750 members and average Sunday worship attendance of 300-400 (plus there are a lot of folk who can’t be there physically who catch the service online). Maybe a better way to measure weekly attendance would be “who has been on campus this week, doing ministry and praying with other believers, and advancing God’s kingdom?” The number would probably go up to over 500.
      You are right that the community aspect of “being together” is incredibly important to discipleship. Support. Encouragement. Accountability…
      Thanks for the good dialog – Derek


  2. Your church is a bit bigger than mine. We have just over 400 official members and our service averages an attendance of just about 200-250. Hard to gauge because we instituted 2 services. I have learned about the “community of believers” in my theology studies at Colorado Christian University. There is simply no better way to discover proper doctrine than through open discussion concerning questions and concerns. Thankfully, our Sunday school classes are well-attended. I’ll be giving a 3-part lesson on apologetics to those in our teenage classes. Hopefully it will help equip them to withstand the attacks they’ll no doubt experience in secular universities.

    Liked by 1 person

    • we could talk “apologetics” all day long! My wife seriously wants my next book to cover that topic. I would go in a completely different direction than folk like Ravi Zacharias (and even CS Lewis who is a hero of mine) – I am convinced that intellectual arguments are a waste of time and so limited and so inadequate to the task of communicating the truth, traditional apologetics create more separation and conflict than actually doing any good… But… no time for this now – gotta work…


  3. Derek, given my focus on apologetics as a huge part of my ministry, I’d love to hear more. I do enjoy Ravi Zacharias and I think his approach is good. I can agree that he takes a somewhat philosophical (cerebral) approach, but I’m sold on him because of two key points in his evangelistic ministry: FIRST, he equates Adam and Eve choosing the forbidden fruit (knowledge of good and evil) as the very impetus for moral relativism. He says it was at this moment man chose to look INWARD rather than HEAVENWARD for determining what is good and what is evil. We lost the VERTICAL and chose the horizontal. It’s as if we decided to decide morality on our own. SECOND, he does a great job of laying out the four great questions everyone wants answers to, and shows how to give those answers from the Bible: Where did I come from? What is the purpose of my existence? How do I determine what’s good and what’s evil? Where do I go when I die. I’d love to hear your thoughts on proper apologetics. Perhaps its rooted in the “early” apologists of the church (before C.S. Lewis)?

    Liked by 1 person

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