Month: February 2013

The Ministry of Panera Bread

Pretty frequently I use Panera Bread as my preferred office location. I do that because of a few reasons:panerabread

1. My home office is in my unfinished/unheated basement. But, I have a fireplace right next to my desk and that’s awesome. But, it still gets cold. So, I use Panera Bread.

2. I wan to be around people. I would crazy if I had to work in my basement all the time…alone…by myself.

3. I want to desperately be Jesus and share Jesus and being around people at Panera Bread is a great way!

I’m not there everyday, but sometimes I’m there 2-3 times a week. I know most of the managers and staff by name and they know my name. They know I work with schools to help end bullying and now they know I’m starting a church.

2 Super Cool Panera Moments…Today

The first…The manager gave me a cookie and drink on the house today. He said he’s thankful I’m a great customer and he sees me meeting w/people and he said he appreciates my business. That was awesome and it made my day.

So, I invited him to our new church!

The Second…I had my books laid out all over my table, including my Bible. I had 2 CMU students walk by and look at my table kind of weird. Well, a little time went by and they came back by and said that they’ve been searching for a church they fit in and haven’t been able to find one. Then one of the guys said…”You don’t know any great churches in the area, do you?”

DO I???? Well, Yes I do!!

I proceded to invite him to our next gathering and it’s not till March 24th and he said he was bummed it’s so far away. Well, that made me think…maybe we need to do one sooner!!!

What a Great day!

2013-02-28 08.53.56

Church in a Bar????

Yes, why not!?!2013-02-24 17.13.04

On Sunday night, we had our 2nd ever worship service and yes…it was at a bar.

Ok, it was in the bar’s side room, but it’s still a bar! And I love it. It has already communicated to some people that we’re interested in doing ‘church’ differently.

Actually, we might have outgrown our Bar location! Uh Oh!

Highlights from Sunday Night

1. It was Gloriously chaotic. We had ages from every generation there…including kids! I think it was a glimpse of the early church. Next time, we’ll have a room for the really young ones, but still…it was cool to have kids a part.

2. We had a 10 year old us up in prayer and a 12 year read our scripture! It was cool! Beyond Cool! Again, I think a picture of the early church.

3. We laughed. One of our ‘must have’ values is fun and laughter. We laughed and joked and had fun.

Our worship team didn’t have time to practice because of schedules, but it was great! Just awesome to pour out our hearts!

5. We unpacked the question, Why Church? I looked at Matthew 16:13-20. It’s the first time the word Church in the Bible. I talked about how when Jesus meant the church to be a movement built on Him…not a building…not a tradition…not a place.

6. We took the next step. We’re still quite a ways off from meeting weekly, but we took the next step.

Be Apart of the Launch Team

  • What is the Launch team? This is the team that will be the leadership of the Church. They will help live out our DNA and will always make sure we have a culture of welcome and acceptance. A culture that’s not afraid of Change and will embrace it if it means reaching more people for Jesus! 
  • We are praying and believing God for 70 people to be a part of our Launch team.
  • Wanna be a part? Email me now. Yes, right now.

jason@jasonraitz.com

What’s Next? 

1. Launch Team Meeting on March 20th. 6:30-8:00pm. Location TBD. If you’re interested on being a part of this Dream Team, then come and see what we’re about. More info coming soon.

2. Worship Night on March 24th. 5:45pm. Location TBD. Worship with us, pray with us, dream with us and help us take the next steps to build a dynamic and modern Church.

3. Easter Sunday Service on March 31st. Location and Time TBD. Put it on your calendar now!!!

 

You Can Help Start a Brand New Church!!

Yes, that’s right…bncblack_full

You can Help Start a Brand New Church. 

Whether you live in Central MI, Upper MI, Lower MI, or another part of the Country…you can be a part!

God has given us a giant dream and vision for this new community and I know God is going to bring the right people together for our Launch team.

Why not?

The world needs more Churches. It just does. We definitely need more dynamic, prevailing, modern and Acts 2 & Jesus focused Churches. Churches that are willing to do more than just talk about Jesus, but live out his words!

We do because there are so many people who need to know the Hope and Life that Jesus offers!

The Local Church is the Hope of the World and investing your time, your finances, your energy, and your prayer into the Local Church will make a HUGE Kingdom Investment! Windows-Vista-help

Launch Team

Yes You! You can be a part of our launch team! That’s right you! At least pray about it. Ask God if He’s nudging you or calling you to be a part.

This team will be committed to helping get this Brand New Church off the ground and up and running. It will be a labor of love. It will be living out our God given dream and being a part of an amazing community. It will also help create the new culture for this Church and live out the way that the Acts 2 community lived.

Why be a part?

1. Because Creating something from nothing is an amazing process! It’s fun, it’s exciting and yes, it’s challenging! It will be tough, but I’ve learned that some of the life’s toughest challenges bring the most reward!

2. Because we will reach new people for Jesus! I know we will! Our heart and passion is to reach those far from Jesus!

3. Because our area needs more new Churches. We have a ton a really good churches in our area, but there is a real need for more!

4. Because it will be energizing and momentum building. I have been dreaming of this for 15 years. Many on our team have been dreaming of this day as well. We are energized, we are ready to climb the hill and we are ready to ban together to live out the Acts 2 community.

5. Because it will be Fun! Yes, you read that right! Fun and Laughter are high values of mine and I believe more Christians and Churches need to live them out!

6. Because it’s awesome to be a part of a huge vision! Here’s part of our dream and vision…

  • A Church who is love with Jesus.
  • A Church that helps people grow spiritually through their small groups.
  • A Church where no perfect people will be allowed.
  • A Church that values the arts.
  • A Church that is about fun and laughter.
  • A Church who will span all generations, but who will invest ruthlessly into the younger generation.
  • A Church where it is ok to have and enjoy loud music.
  • A Church that values Stories and will be continually sharing them.
  • A Church that cares more for the inside of people than the outside.
  • A Church that is for the Community, not just in the Community.
  • A Church who radically gives to God and to those in need.
  • A Church that’s not stuck on tradition and loves Change.
  • A Church where the dechurched and unchurched will feel accepted and wanted, no matter their beliefs.
  • A Church where those who are centered on Christ will be pushed to grow and not become comfortable.
  • A Church that will bring Hope.
  • A Church that will give people next steps every week.
  • A Church that will Love Others Selflessly and Love God Passionately.

Email me.

Yes, do it now. Even if you don’t know for sure what you think about all this, but for some reason there is a twinge in your spirit, let’s get together and grab coffee!

jason@jasonraitz.com

Lets-try-something-new

 

Why am I Launching a New Church?

Ever since I posted about being called to plant a church last week, I have had a lot of really fun Bevins-How-to-Get-Involved-in-Church-Planting-Quoteconversations/texts/messages/emails this week!

I mean, holy cow!

They have ranged from…

  • So incredibly excited for you
  • I have the felt the call to do the same
  • Can I be a part?
  • You are crazy! But, I love it!
  • Why now?
  • Why plant a new church, aren’t there enough Churches already?

So, I thought I would write a brief post about the WHY behind our decision to plant a new church.

Here we go, The primary reasons I have decided to Launch and Plant a New Church:

1. The undeniable, unbelievable, and ridiculously CLEAR call to plant a Church. 

God has been talking to me about this for quite some time. 15 years actually! And then, all of last year it was on my heart and head the entire year. This was not and is not a rash decision. It has been bathed in prayer for a LONG time!

There were moments when the voice of God was so intense on my heart that it felt like I was under a waterfall!

2. There is a need for more Modern, New, Life Giving, Passionate about Jesus Churches in Central MI! 

I’ve been studying the demographics since I moved here 2.5 years ago! Yes, there are a lot of Churches. But, I believe we need more!

3. People Need Jesus…More than Ever Before!

My work with Live Now Leadership has confirmed this in my life over and over. I have heard hundreds of extremely painful life stories and it has been a constant reminder that there is a GIANT need for people to find Hope.

I believe (Like Bill Hybels says) that the Local Church is the Hope of the World.

New Churches are never a bad thing in my estimation!

4. I never stopped being a Pastor. 

Yes, I made the extremely painful decision to leave my last church (many reasons behind that), but I never stopped pastoring. I have prayed with hundreds of people in Panera Bread, McDonalds, the Hospital, Walmart and Gas Stations!

I have even prayed with Principals in their office! It’s been amazing!

I get stopped all the time in stores by people who say…”I still see you as my Pastor…so…will you pray for me”? WHAT AN HONOR!!!

5. I LOVE THE CHURCH!

I_Love_the_Church_350x195

Again, even though I left my last church, I never stopped loving the Church or Church Leadership or Student Ministry or Family Ministry or Church Growth!

I spend so much time reading books and articles and websites about the Church. Researching other Churches. Talking with Church Leaders.

I love the Church!

6. My family needed a Church home.

We have been searching far and wide for a place that we felt God was leading us to. There are many great, GREAT, Churches in our area, but none that we felt was suppose to be our home Church.

Part of the reason is…I’m just skeptical about denominations. After having worked for two of the country’s most amazing non-denominational churches (NorthRidge and Willow Creek), I just have a tough time with the structure, philosophy, lack of perceived vision (my own opinion) and lack of perceived movement (my own opinion) with some mainline denominations. Again, I know many wonderful leaders in denominations, so this is not an attack at all. Just my own opinion.

7. God brought together a wonderful Core team. 

In an extremely awesome and I believe divine way, God starting bringing person after person together to form our core team. They have been our church for months! We meet weekly, we pray for each other, we help each other, we love each other’s kids, we have fun together and we dream together about this new Church.

It’s been truly humbling and an honor!

We’re not done though! If you would like to be a part, email me (jason@jasonraitz.com) and let’s grab coffee!

I love the place God has me. 

I get to bring hope into schools and

I get to teach God’s word to group of people who really believe that we can live out the Acts 2 community! 

So Blessed!

Be a part of a Brand New Church!!

You’re invited to check out the beginning stages of a brand new Church.

That means…we’re not quite up and running yet, but we’re praying that God would send people who have a desire to help launch a new kind of church for the Central Michigan area. 

Our area has a lot of really good churches!

But, there is a GIANT need for more Churches because there a lot of people who need Hope!

The dream for this Church is that we will be a

A Church where no perfect people will be allowed
A Church that will value the arts.
A Church that is fun and laughter.
A Church who will span all generations, but who will invest ruthlessly into the younger generation.
A Church that will be Loud.
A Church that values Stories.
A Church that cares more for the inside of people than the outside.
A Church who radically gives to God and to those in need.
A Church who is love with Jesus.
A Church that’s not stuck on tradition and loves Change.
A Church where the dechurched and unchurched will feel accepted and wanted, no matter their beliefs.
A Church where those who are centered on Christ will be pushed to grow and not become comfortable.
A Church that will be bring Hope.
A Church that will Love Others Selflessly and Love God Passionately.

Come Check us Out

If you’re wanting to know more about how to be a part of this exciting Church Launch, I hope you will come on Sunday night.

Here are the details:

Sunday Night, February 24th, 5:45pm, Shepherd Bar, 324 W. Wright Avenue, Shepherd. 

We’ll meet for about an hour. There will be worship, some laughs, some stories and a look into the question…Why Church?

Oh, bring anyone you want! Bring your spouse, your kids, your family, your neighbor, etc. (There isn’t regular child care, but kids sit right among us and aren’t a distraction.

To find out more about this, check out this blog post

The Joy of Hearing from God

Hearing from God can actually be a Catch 22.

article_images_8.25.HearingGod_970134245

My first thought is wait...every time I hear from God is a Joy!

It’s the possibility of HUGE joy. 

I mean, think about it for a second. Whether you’ve been in a pit and feel far from God, or you feel close to Him, any time you hear His voice is life changing. It could help you climb out of the pit or confirm the direction you were heading.

But

It is also the possibility of hearing something that’s hard to hear. 

Jonah heard from God and he ran the other way. David hear from God through Nathan and it CRUSHED him. Abraham heard from God  and the news wasn’t all that great (sacrifice your son).

The list goes on and on.

What I heard

I’ve been doing my best to listen to God’s voice my entire life. But, fast forward to 2012…I heard from God to leave my current pastoral position. Ouch.

Yes, that was tough. I loved the people I was had the privilege of pastoring and I wasn’t ready to leave. But, I knew in the long run, I wasn’t the best fit for the what the Church needed. At the time that I left, I was dangerously close to planting a church. I have had the dream to plant a church for over 15 years. img_1854

But, I realized that the timing wasn’t best to plant a church just after leaving. He had A LOT to deal with me about!

God put the dream and seed on my heart to bring Hope to students and parents in schools. It aligned perfectly with my life vision:

To bring Hope and Laughter to the hopeless and introduce them to Jesus. 

All year though, I wrestled with God about planting a Church. My wife and I had thousands of conversations about it. I talked with my counselor about all year. I talked with my inner core about it hundreds of times and I prayed about fervently and faithfully!

Every 30 days the feeling/urge/desire/call would surface again and again. I would tell God that I don’t have what it takes to plant a church. I would tell God there are better and more qualified men and women to do this. I would tell God that I’m not a part of Church Leadership any longer.

I reminded God over and over that it wasn’t a good idea!

Didn’t feel like Joy to Hear from God

Over and over, He reminded me of this call.

Over and over, He laid the dream of a church plant on my heart.

Over and over, He brought friends into my life that affirmed and confirmed the call.

Over and over, He reminded me that He brought me and my family to Central MI for a such a time as this.

Over and over and Over and over 

I heard from God. I wrestled with God. I struggled with God. I argued with God. 

I told him…there are plenty of Churches, there are plenty of other church planters, there are plenty of other people.

I reminded Him that I was not the best choice. Not me. Not this time. 

I reminded Him that I was messy. I’ve never been a traditional Pastor. I like to break the rules. I like to have fun. I like to occasionally watch movies that Pastors aren’t suppose to watch. I don’t like tradition. And the list goes on and on.

This didn’t feel like JOY. 

Then, one day, I was out on a prayer walk and God met me on the road. It was powerful, it was real, it was clear.

He affirmed and confirmed His calling to plant a Church.

It was JOY. 

Amazing, Sweet, Wonderful, Incredible, Fantastic

JOY. 

God has called me to Plant a Church in Central MI!

Wow, typing those words is a long time coming! church_plant

Actually, 15 years! It was 15 years ago that God first put the seed in my heart to someday plant a Church. I was on a youth retreat and was watching students be baptized and I remember that moment like it was yesterday. I was so overwhelmed by their faith and I thanked God for the opportunity to tell students about Jesus.

Standing in that lake, He put it on my heart that I would be sharing Jesus with students and adults for years to come and someday it would be to plant a church that was passionately in love with Jesus. 

Fast forward to 2012. 

Pretty much the entire year I wrestled with God about planting a new church. I’m not talking easy wrestling. Not watching wrestling on TV. Nope.

All out struggle. All out wrestling match with God. 

Then in the fall and winter of 2012 it became a level of intensity that I can’t even adequately explain.

Holy Cow! 

Lot’s of prayer. Lot’s of conversations. Lot’s of getting alone with Jesus. Lot’s of talking with my wife, counselor and mentors.

Affirmations all Around

Ever since I left my last Church, I’ve missed it. I loved preaching on Sundays. I loved leading staff and volunteers. I loved meeting with people over coffee and hearing their stories.

I would wake up on Sundays and feel lost! And when some Churches and Retreats started to ask me to teach, it helped. But, wow, I’ve missed preaching/praying/leading a community of believers on a regular basis!

That’s when I realized…

I never stopped being a Pastor.

I would run into people around town all the time and I heard the same questions weekly…

“Why aren’t you preaching in the area?”

“Would you pray for me?”

Finally it was my wife that pointed out to me something I knew in my heart, but I needed her voice and wisdom.

She said…“I believe God has us here in Central MI because He’s calling us to plant a New Church”. 

Moving Forward

My life mission is to bring LAUGHTER and HOPE to the hurting and introduce them to Jesus.

I believe this fits exactly into that mission statement.

I will continue moving forward with the work and ministry of Live Now Leadership. Holy Cow, it’s awesome ministry!

And, I will continue moving forward with a great group of fellow Church Planters as we plan and dream and pray about starting a new church in Central MI. We’ve actually been meeting together for months and we’re looking for people called to plant a new kind of church!

I believe that this area needs a NEW kind of Church. 

It needs more Churches that are Modern, Fun, Laughter Filled, Come as You Are, Opposite of a Country Club, Passionate about Jesus and a place where no perfect people are allowed. 

A Church that is willing to live out the original Acts 2 Vision for the Church. 

More on the vision in my next post! More about why I believe a new church is needed. More about our plan and dream. Much more to come!

But, I’m excited. God is opening huge doors and daily, He is sending people to me who ask about this dream and our Launch team is expanding and growing! (If you’re interested in finding out more about being on ourLaunch team email me RIGHT NOW…jason@jasonraitz.com)

Oh…Check Us Out…

Our 2nd worship night is happening on Feb. 24th at 5:45pm at the Shepherd Bar! Yes, it’s at a bar!

We will worship, laugh, pray, seek God’s voice and hopefully answer the question…Why Church?

I would greatly appreciate your prayers! I love that God has me in a place to bring HOPE into

Schools

Churches and Camps and Retreats

and now…

A New Church.