Author: Jason Raitz

Dad. Husband. Church Planter. Story Teller. Speaker.

That time Perry Noble sent a Congrats video to Thrive

If you had to ask me for a list of Pastors that I most admire, respect and learn from…Perry Noble would be pretty close to the top of my list…if not the top.

Honestly, it may be a three tie between Perry Noble, Andy Stanley and Bill Hybels.

Of course, I also love…John Ortberg, Craig Groeschel, Pete Wilson, Steve Andrews, Mark Batterson, Rick Warren, Larry Osborne, Carey Nieuwhof and I could probably think of more. Hah!

I have learned so much from listening to their podcasts and reading their books and I’m so thankful for all they do.

As a young pastor and even younger church planter, they’re wisdom is invaluable.

A few weeks ago, Thrive turned ONE. It was an incredible Sunday and one I will never forget.

One of the cool things we did that Sunday was a show a video from a bunch of Pastors and Ministry Leaders saying congrats on our one year.

It was really, REALLY cool! It was from Pastors and Ministry Leaders who have helped us get Thrive off the ground and it was so humbling to watch.

Well, in early September I got a crazy idea. I sent Perry Noble, the Pastor of Newspring Church in South Carolina an email just saying thanks! Before Thrive officially launched, our core team would gather on Sunday mornings and watch services from Newspring and we would listen to Perry’s preaching. It was awesome!

I prefaced the email saying I knew this was an unrealistic ‘ask’, but I asked if he would send over a really quick and simple video saying congrats to Thrive!

Well, he did!

It was pretty darn cool. For those folks who remember those living room days, it was a really cool moment. Perry is so down to earth and it was cool he took a few minutes to do that.

Thrive Church would not exist without the help of many churches, many pastors, many individuals and some great organizations.

I’m just so thankful.

In case you missed the video, here it is.

If you’re looking for a Church, check out Thrive Church today

What’s that you say? You’re looking for a church home? 

You have been thinking about finding a church for awhile, but you seemingly always come up with an excuse.

And then, another and another. You don’t know why. You’ve looked at the pictures on Facebook. You’ve even begun watching the messages online.

You like it. You really do.

But, there always seems to be an excuse. IMG_2484

Well, today, come up with an excuse to check out Thrive Church.

Yup, it’s that easy.

Don’t want to come alone? You have plenty of time to text, email, message, tweet or call someone and invite them to come with you.

Here’s the deal…we’re ready for you!

We want you to check out Thrive Church. We work incredibly hard to be ready and to create an environment that welcomes and accepts everyone.

No, really…EVERYONE!


Oh, you’re not perfect? That’s great, there are no perfect people allowed at Thrive!

Oh, you have kids? That’s great, we have an amazing kids church called Thrive Kidz and they are ready for your kids.

Oh, you have teenagers? That’s great, we love students and I bet they will love their experience at Thrive.

Oh, you have given up on church? That’s great, most of us did too and then we decided to start a church that people who don’t like church will love.

Oh, you love great music? That’s great, our band absolutely rocks! You’ll hear some songs from the radio and then some worship songs.

Oh, you love to laugh? That’s great, we love to laugh.

Check out Thrive today

  • Head to Celebration Cinemas (4395 E. Pickard, Mt Pleasant, MI)
  • Our experiences start at 9 and 1015am
  • I recommend getting there at least 15 minutes early
  • Head into theater one 5 minutes before it starts

Week One of ‘Things I Wish Jesus Never Said’ in review

things i wish









In case you missed week one of ‘Things I Wish Jesus Never Said’, here is everything you need to catch up on this series.


3 Ways to Engage with Thrive this Sunday

It’s Saturday morning and I’m up early to finish up my message for tomorrow at Thrive.3_Ways_Logo

This has been a tough message to prepare, to write and I know it will be tough to give tomorrow. Why?

Because we’re looking at Jesus’ words…

‘love your enemies’. 

Wow! Just let those words sink in for a moment. And here’s the thing, He was really serious about His followers living them out. So, I can’t wait to teach from Matthew 5:43-48 and be at Thrive tomorrow!

But, its Saturday and there is still time to Engage with Thrive this Sunday, so, here are a few ways to do just that.

ONE…Prepare your heart! 

No really, prepare your heart. Heres’ what that means. If there is something that has been holding you back all week. Some anger, some bitterness, some worry, some anxiety, some envy or some other kind of sin. Spend some time today and give it God. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t show up to Thrive in whatever place you’re at. But, it just means, you will connect with God in a greater way if you prepare yourself.

So, spend some time today praying. Seek God. Give Him your entire attention. Lay down those sins before Him and ask for His forgiveness.

TWO…Be at Thrive! 

We’re all busy. We all have a million things to do each week. But honestly, for some of us, it’s almost like we flip a coin on Sunday to determine if we’re going to head to Church. What’s up with that?

Here’s the thing. The local Church is the hope of the world! That means it is the most important organization in the world! It’s worth waking up for on Sunday.

So, be there tomorrow. Come ready. Come expectant. Come excited. Come just as you are!

THREE…Be ready to take your next step!

Thrive Church is not a social club. It’s not a status symbol. So many churches are. So many churches are just about your appearance. Do you look the right part and do you say the right words?

That’s not what our church is about. We could care less if you dress up, if you look like you have it all together. Here’s what I know to be true…none of really do and that’s ok. When you come to Thrive, it’s ok to not be ok. But, like Perry Noble says…’it’s not ok to stay that way’.

So, be ready to take your next step spiritually. Get ready to be challenged. Be honest with God. Be honest with yourself.

Get ready to draw closer to Jesus. 

See you tomorrow at either 9 or 1015 at Celebration Cinema! 

PS…I recommend getting to Thrive 15 minutes early. Meet some new people. Hang out. Learn some names. And, head into theater one five minutes before we start!

3 Reasons Why and How to invite someone to Thrive

Every single day, we all come into contact with dozens, if not hundreds and hundred of people.

Whether its online, face to face, at Starbucks, in our homes, at work, at school or in our neighborhoods.

We will only have some type of meaningful relationship with handfuls of those we come into contact with and of those people we all face a decision.

We can either invite them to church or not.thrive))church-no-perfect-allowed

Have you ever thought about inviting someone to church? I bet the thought has crossed your mind and if you’re like me, you have dismissed that thought a time or two. I really believe that the thought to invite them wasn’t a chance thought. I bet it was planted in your heart by the Holy Spirit in the form of a whisper and you either listened or dismissed it.

If you dismissed the thought, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I have heard thousands of whispers over the years that I haven’t acted on!

Yes, looking back, I am so bummed! Imagine the journey God has for us if we just paid attention to His voice?

Why don’t you start inviting now? Who has God been putting on your heart to invite? Where do you need to go to invite the people he has laid on your heart?

Today is the day to pay attention to that whisper and invite.

So, here are 3 reasons why and how.

(Why you should invite and how to invite someone to Thrive)

Let’s start with the why…

ONE…People matter to God. If people matter to God, then they should matter to us. And, we have an opportunity to expose them to a community that they will matter too.

TWO…There is room in the Kingdom of God. Wouldn’t you know it, but there is plenty of room. You and I have an opportunity to invite them into something bigger than we could ever possibly imagine.

THREE…Salvation, Hope, Joy, Peace, Community, Blessing, Friendships and Love. These are a few of the ultimate benefits the people we are praying about could experience if they accepted the invite to come to church and then accepted Jesus into their hearts.

Those are great, but how do I invite someone? more people matter to God

ONE…Be Jesus. Here’s the deal, you don’t have to walk around screaming and shouting that people are sinners and they are going to hell. You just don’t. Also, you don’t have to be judgmental at work or around your family. If someone close to you starts talking about something there into that goes against scripture, you don’t have too immediately call them out for being a pagan!

Just be Jesus. Listen. Love. Ask questions. Be there for them. Help them. Look for ways to bless them.

TWO…Be open about how you’re life has been changed. When the time presents itself, don’t hold back your story of how you met Jesus and how He has changed your life. If Jesus is truly your Savior, your life will show it. Things will change. Your friends may notice that you’re different.

You should be more…gentle, kind, loving, patient, have more self control…be more peaceful.

If they ask what’s different, tell them. You have a Savior. You have been forgiven of your past. You are now experiencing what it’s like to be a part of a community of people who care for you and want God’s best for you.

Again, don’t be weird. Just honestly share.

THREE…Invite them to Thrive. Inviting someone to Thrive is super easy, especially if they have already seen some great changes in you.

Side Bar…some of the people closet to you may not like the changes. Just be patient. If they start to exclude you, just keep praying for you.

Super easy ways to invite someone to Thrive:

  • Put a Thrive decal on your car
  • Put a Thrive Yard Sign in your front yard
  • Wear a Thrive T Shirt to the store or work
  • Wear a Thrive Sweatshirt to your kids game
  • Check in at Thrive on Sunday mornings on Facebook
  • Retweet posts from about Thrive
  • Send messages to your friends on Friday about Thrive and invite them
  • Shoot a text message to a friend on Sat and ask what they’re doing tomorrow. Invite them to Thrive and tell them you’ll take them out for breakfast
  • Have Thrive cards with you all the time and leave them places. Hang them on bulletin boards and give them to friends, family and co-workers
  • Share the website on Facebook or in an email with your friends
  • Send a Thrive message for someone to listen too
  • Offer to help rake someone’s yard and wear your Thrive T-Shirt

It’s Friday. You have plenty of time to invite someone to one of the experiences at Thrive this Sunday.

Don’t forget, they’re at 9 & 1015 am at Celebration Cinema. See you there!

A super humbling facebook post

Sunday afternoons are pretty fun! 

Not because of football! But, if I had cable that would be another reason they’re fun!

Because typically, Facebook just lights up about peoples experiences that morning at Thrive Church!

It’s so humbling to grab my computer and read away.

It’s humbling because I love, LOVE what God is doing in peoples lives. It’s just amazing! To hear stories of life transformation. To hear stories of life change. To hear stories of peoples excitement about what Jesus is doing in their hearts is just…

Amazing. Humbling. Fantastic. Honoring. Awesome. 

And, to be a part of this church, even though its a tiny little sliver…again, is so humbling.

I’m so blessed to be Thrive’s Pastor and it is not something I take lightly. I love that I have been called to be Thrive’s Pastor, I love my work, I love my job and I love the people that are a part of Thrive Church. I love Central MI and I love the vision we have for reaching the unchurched.

On Sunday, there was a Facebook post that really made me sit down. It wasn’t bad. It was so stinking nice and so humbling to read. Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 5.43.47 PM

It was posted by a Thriver I very much respect and her words just hit me.

They hit me hard!

In the post she said I was brave.

Gosh, those words just hit me.

You know why?

Because Church Planting is Hard! Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not. This has been the hardest endeavor of my life.

It has been difficult, it’s been an uphill battle and there have been times that have been so hard, I wanted to scream! Then, hit something and then move to a beach!

No, really! Planting a church is not easy. I’ve learned that and I’m only a year in! I don’t care if you have a ton of start up money or no money, it’s hard.

It doesn’t matter if you start with a large group of people or a small group.

It’s just hard. There are challenges, there are obstacles, there are lack or resources, there are negative words by Jesus following people, there is the weight of being a part of peoples lives and it’s an uphill journey.

Now, it’s a GREAT journey! To see something start from nothing is AMAZING! To pray and pray and pray and then to see God answer your prayers is AMAZING! And it’s all worth it!

Because people matter to God. Because people desperately need a Savior. Because people desperately need a community that loves and cares for them.

The local church is the hope of the world and we need more dynamic–life-giving–not bent on traditions churches!

So, I know this post was a little self-servicing. I hope it didn’t come across that way.

I was just really honored and I wanted to share.

Why TWO? To help more people find and follow Jesus










Thrive Church takes a giant leap of faith today!

We launch TWO! 

What’s TWO you ask? We’re now going to two Sunday morning experiences. One at 900am and the other at 1015am.

Why are we doing this?

We’re doing this because we’ve maxed out our space at just one Sunday morning experience. Theater ONE has filled up more and more and Thrive Kidz is busting at the seams, so we made the decision to add another experience.

Why is this a giant leap of faith?

Any time you change something, you face resistance. Any time you dream big, you face resistance. Any time you want to do whatever you can to increase the kingdom, you face resistance.

So, adding TWO means we need additional volunteers to step up and serve. We need additional givers to give financially. And, we have less time to set up on Sunday’s now.

Yes, big step of faith! 

But, if God is for us, who can be against us…that matters!

I love that as a church we are ridiculously focused on helping people find and follow Jesus!

That’s why we’re launching TWO.

See you this morning, at either 9 or 1015am. OR…845 or 10am. Thanks for being early!!