Month: September 2013

Final Thrive Preview…Super Fun, Powerful, Meaningful, Healing

Yesterday was our 2nd preview service for Thrive.

I have to say…

I Love My Church!

I’m unashamedly in love with my church. In almost 20 years of serving at local churches in MI and IL, I can whole-heartedly say that I love this church! I love Thrive Church. I love that its my families church!

I’ve been a part of some great churches, GREAT churches. And, I’m honored to have been a part of them.

But, wow, it’s such an incredible honor to be the pastor of Thrive Church! Ok, on to the…

Here are some of the highlights…

1. Hearing stories of life change! This just never gets old! I stood in the lobby yesterday and talked to a few families who have met Jesus and found hope at Thrive Church! Wow! That’s just humbling!

2. Thrive Kidz! Yesterday at Thrive, we were busting out of the seams with kids! It was absolutely crazy and awesome! We’re actually adding another class for kids this weekend at Thrive!

3. ‘See you next week’. Yes, those are awesome words! So HUMBLING to hear those words!

4. Watching our team serve. My goodness…this is just amazing! It’s amazing because people are using their talents, gifts and energies to build this local church. That’s an amazing investment!

5. The end of our experience. Wow, we had a fantastic moment at the end of our experience on Sunday about forgiveness. It was so awesome to see people come down front and experience that!

I can’t wait for Sunday, October 6th! 

Not even sure how to process the Thrive Journey

Starting a church from nothing is pretty exhilarating at times and it can be extremely tough.IMG_2301

Honestly, it’s overwhelming at times…both overwhelming in good ways and bad ways.

The Good

Already in our short history, God has created so many…

‘can you even believe it’ moments!

I’ve been trying my best too not miss those moments and I’ve been trying  to document them on this blog! I’ve been trying to be intentional to write them down, to share them, to post them, to remember them and to continually Thank God for them.

Moments like…

  • People believing in the vision you have for the church and being a part!
  • Hearing stories of Thrivers inviting their friends!
  • God providing a trailer for Thrive Church! I still can’t even believe it!
  • God providing 5 amazing Churches to be our network and help launch Thrive Church.
  • God providing an amazing vision and dream for Thrive Church!
  • God providing a brand new computer for Thrive Church.
  • God moving in pastors from around the country and lending their help and support.
  • People trusting in Jesus as their Savior.
  • Baptisms!

The bad

Yes, it isn’t all shiny and rosey. Honestly, I wish it was. But, there have already been some incredibly tough times.

Moments like…

  • People deciding to leave Thrive Church (I do get that Thrive isn’t for everyone…but I wish it was)
  • Friends that were a part of the beginning conversations that have decided to move on
  • Dealing with some of the negativity towards a new church
  • Figuring out details! Yikes, this one is time consuming!
  • Working with limited resources

The bad moments are so tiny compared to the

MASSIVE

 GOD

MOMENTS!!!!

Already, we have experienced so many moments when the only right thing to say is…

ONLY GOD!

Thrive’s Non-Negotiables…a Look into our Culture

Obviously, as you can probably tell from my blog…No Perfect People SS_MI

I think about Thrive a lot. I pray for Thrive a lot. I dream for Thrive a lot. I talk about Thrive a lot!

One of the areas that I think/dream/pray a lot about is our culture. This post is actually adapted from a post I wrote months ago that I used in a series of posts about the many roles of a church plant. I wrote about how a church planter must be passionate about creating a culture that is distinct to their church and their people.

Well, I know there will probably more as time goes by, but here is a start and a look into Thrive’s culture.

Thrive’s Non-Negotiables

1. Ridiculously Accepting & Welcoming. In 18 years of ministry I have never slowed down in casting vision to people that we must live lives that accept and welcome anybody and everybody and that will be true of Thrive.

That means, I will fight hard to create a culture that is opposite of a country club environment.

1a. Over the top Caring. From the top down, I pray that Thrive will be a place that cares so well for people, that they in turn spread that same kind of care.

2. Passionate about prayer. I don’t know about your life, but goodness, I say I will pray a lot and for people, but I get busy with life and forget. This just can’t be the case. Thrive Church is passionate about praying for people and with people.

3. Focused on Jesus. Ok, this should probably be number one, but it’s always number one. It’s amazing to me that sometimes christians and churches start to take their focus off Jesus. Thrive will be a place  where we always talk about Jesus, dream about Jesus and share Jesus!

4. Over and Above Givers. Jesus taught us to give from the overflow of our heart and to never be a cheap giver. My prayer is that Thrivers will be HUGE givers. With their time, their energy and their finances.

5. Huge fun. Yes, I want Thrive Church to be fun. I want it to be marked with laughter and joy and smiling. I’m tired of being around christians who can’t laugh! We will laugh.

6. Living life in circles. To borrow a phrase from Andy Stanley, I pray that 100% of Thrivers are committed to and are investing in a growth group. I believe passioantely in small groups and believe all Jesus followers should do life with a small group of believers.

7. Crazy Simple Simplicity. I am not a huge proponent of a million ministries and programs at a church. So, I am going to keep focused on keeping Thrive focused on our big three.

Next Steps…Helping people take their next step with God

Life Together…Connecting with other people to live out the New Testaments ‘One Anothers’

Go Out…Unleashing Compassion into our community in schools and planting churches.

8. Embracing Change. I love change! I really do and I believe Churches should love change as well! The message of Jesus never changes, but the ways and methods of reaching people need to change as culture changes. We will not have sacred cows. Ok, maybe a few…we’ll meet together on Sundays, we’ll meet together in growth groups and we’ll pour out compassion to the world around us!

9. Reliance on the Holy Spirit. Yes, simple. We have to rely on the work and conviction of the Spirit in our lives personally and corporately!

10. Replication of Leaders. I don’t have a better way to say, but leaders have to replace themselves. When they don’t, you have 20% of the church being the church and the other 80% watching. Don’t get me wrong, this is tough! But, I believe, we have to make this part of our culture from the beginning!

What am I missing? 

8 ‘Roles of a Church Planter’

I have been trying to do my best to journal and chronicle my journey as a church planter. Some days I do a good job, but mostly, I don’t. I feel at times there are so many lists and so many things that keep piling up.

Now, I’m blessed. Because I am planting Thrive through Stadia, one of the amazing benefits is a Stadia Project Manager. It’s basically like having an Executive Pastor…it’s awesome. And, my project manager is Doug Foltz, he’s a certified church planting genius! Even with that privilege, it still is tough at times.

There is nothing easy about planting a church and I’ve been trying to keep track of all the roles I’ve been faced with so far. There are incredible highs and incredible lows and in the midst of all of it, I know I’m right where God wants me!

Right now, I have 8 roles and 8 more in my draft folder. My goal is to get to 20 and then to start writing a series of posts on what I’ve learned so far about church planting.

In case you’ve missed my posts, here they are…

Role # 1…Tell Everyone

Role # 2…Be with People

Role # 3…Send people back to their churches

Role # 4…Focus on Culture, Culture, Culture

Role # 5…Develop Thick Skin

Role # 6…Stop Comparing

Role # 7…Protect your heart

Role # 8…Stay Positive

Can’t wait for Sunday!

I honestly can’t wait till Sunday!IMG_2223

3 days to go. 

Sunday is our next Preview service and I’m beyond excited.

We’re finishing our ‘No Perfect People Allowed’ series and I’m teaching from Luke 15! I can’t wait!!!

But, let me be honest, I am also…

Ambivalent

A tad bit overwhelmed

A little nervous

A bit anxious

But, I’m also…

Expectant

Elated

Hopeful…and…

Eager

Why I can’t wait for Sunday…

Because it’s one of our heartbeats as a Church.  Maybe it’s a bad analogy to say we have three heartbeats, but I’ll figure out something better in the days to come.

Heartbeats…

1. We gather on Sundays to create an environment where people far from God will be introduced to Him, have a chance to respond to Him and grow deeper in their relationship with Him.

2. We gather during the week in homes or restaurants to be known and to dive into a message based curriculum to study the Bible. This is where we really get a chance to experience the New Testaments ‘One Another’s’.

3. We gather together at different times during the year to bless our community. Our hope is that we will be able to help make a dent in the practical needs that our schools have.

I can’t wait for Sunday

Even though I have some fears, I have greater anticipation and belief that God is going to use Thrive in a GREAT way to make a GIANT impact for His kingdom!

I know that each time to meet. Each time we come together. Each time we pray together. Each time we open the Bible together. Each time we worship together. Is huge for building momentum as a Church and that’s why I can’t wait till Sunday!

A conversation with my Bobby

Today I picked up Bobby from school for being sick.2013-06-26 18.13.34

It was a bummer.

But, our conversation was not.

I am continually amazed how insightful and wonderful this boy is!

3 Parts to our conversation…

Part One. Bobby says…”Dad, a Police Officer came and talked to us about bulling at school”. No offense to him, but he didn’t know how to talk to kids like you! You’re awesome.

Ok, that was just nice that your 11 year old son thinks that highly!

Part Two. Bobby says…”Dad a girl asked me to be her boyfriend. I said no”. I asked why, and Bobby said…”what’s the point? I have to work hard on my homework and being a good friend. I don’t have time for that”.

LOVE THAT. What is the point?!?

Part Three. Then, we’re at the grocery store and I got him a few treats for the couch as he rested and he thanked me. The cashier looked at him and said…“what did you say”?.

Bobby very politely said, I thanked my dad. The cashier then almost goes off on a positive rant. She says…”you know how many times I hear a son tell his mom and dad thanks in this line? NEVER! That was the coolest thing I’ve heard in a long time!”

Yup, that’s my Bobby!

Thrive Exists to help people find Jesus and they did on Sunday!!!

People ask me all the time…1208587_497099837052002_30635781_n

‘What’s Thrive about’?

‘Why Thrive’?

‘Why does Thrive exist’?

‘Why another church’?

Well, here’s why…

Thrive’s mission is to…

Help people Find and Follow Jesus.

That’s our laser focus. We are unashamedly passionate about helping people find Jesus and then giving them the tools to follow him.

Every Sunday at Thrive, we will give people the opportunity to put their faith and trust in Jesus.

Someone did this past Sunday! 

Now, that’s reason to celebrate!

I love my church.

I love that God has called me to launch this Church and I love that He has plans for this Church that are bigger than anything I could ever imagine!!!