The day you decided to give Church a chance…that could be today

What are you doing this morning? I know it’s early. And, you’re probably shocked this blog made it to your news feed. But, seriously, what if today is the day you decided to give Church a chance?

Maybe you’ve given up on Church. Promised you were done with Church. Or vowed you would never step foot into a church again.

OR

Maybe you’ve been thinking about it. Maybe a friend has been asking you. Maybe you’ve just had a hard time getting rid of the thought that you’re suppose to give Church a try.

Whatever the reason, today could be the day you give Church a chance.

You’re invited to Thrive Church

If you’re looking for a Church that’s Simple, Fun and Real, then check out Thrive.

We are very laid back and casual, we laugh a ton, there are no perfect people allowed and our mission is to help people find and follow Jesus.

We’re not about rules and traditions, simply, we’re about following Jesus.

So, we would love for you to join us this morning!

Head to Celebration Cinema at either 9 or 1015. You will get your kids checked into Thrive Kidz, grab some free coffee and donuts and then head to theater one for the experience.

See you soon!

The battle I can’t seem to win

I’m a fighter. I think the people who know me best would say that I’m a fighter. Of course, I’m a lover. But, I’m talking about fighting through struggles and the hardships of life.

I believe I’ve always been a fighter. I’ve always tried to walk towards the fight. I’ve tired to not turn tail and run. Yes, are there conflicts I walked away from? Yes. Not proud of that.

But, I hope it’s true that I’m a fighter.

The battle I can’t seem to win

But, there is one area of my life that I just can’t seem to get any traction, get any footing on and I just can’t win. I’ve battled this fight for most of my life.

It’s my health.

Plain and simple, I’m struggling to get healthy. To be healthy. To live in a healthy way. I’m obese. I’m overweight and it affects everything. My well being. My leadership. My self image.

I’ve listened and read everything. I’ve tried and tried. And, I have a new group of people in my life who are holding me accountable. But, wow, this is a battle that is almost to hard to win.

2012 was a pretty horrible year for me personally. That’s kind of an understatement. The year sucked! I left a job sooner than I anticipated and attempted to start a non profit. We had no money. In the stress of leaving and starting, I was stressed, anxious and mad. So, I worked out. I fought through my back pain and in literally no time, I was down 50 pounds. I felt amazing. I felt confident. I felt awake. I felt alive.

Then, the weight slowly came back. 

In the fall of 2013, I made great changes to my life and again, 40 pounds fell off. Again, I felt great.

Then I started a church and I experienced the most amount of stress I’ve ever experienced. As soon as I started the church, my back went from the normal pain I’ve been experiencing for years to a def con 5 kind of pain.

Living with P A I N Sucks. 

Everyday. Most moments of the day. Most movements have caused pain. In Jan. 2014 I had back surgery. I was praying I would rebound quick. I didn’t. I moved slow. The pain was just too much. I fell deep into a hole. In the midst of living with excruciating pain and then not being able to do all the things I love…playing catch with my kids, going on walks…I gained weight like it was a hobby.

At the start of 2015 I was killing it. Eating the way I know I’m suppose too. Working out 4 days a week. I still couldn’t run or do any time of physical movements (jumping jacks, jump rope), but I could use the Elliptical and swim. And, it was going well.

Then, in mid February I made the stupid decision to play racket ball with a few friends. I paid the next 2 months for that.

I’ve gotten use to not bending. I don’t pick up anything that’s on the floor.

But, I have found a great chiropractor and my back is getting stronger and better everyday. I still wake up with great pain every day. But, with a massive amount of stretching and walking, it’s so MUCH better.

 

Getting out of the hole

 

Have you ever been so far in the hole that you give up hope that there’s anyway out?

That’s the land I live in with my weight.

I know better, that’s the deal. I have read so many books and articles on health. I know I should eat more salads. I know I should stop drinking pop. I know leaders take care of their bodies. I know I’m an awful example to my kids and to my wife and to my church and to my friends.

I know.

But with the pain and with the stress of starting a church and the stress of our own family stuff, I’ve fallen deeper and deeper into the hole.

It’s half way through 2015. I turn 40 September 22.

That’s enough to give me the kick in the pants I need.

So, here goes. I’m going to fight this! I’m going to give it my all.

Would love your prayers!

Dad Fest 2015…An Absolutely Incredible Moment for Thrive Church!

DAD FEST 2015 Rocked! dad fest

I can’t believe that Dad Fest was 5 days ago! We planned and prepared and prayed for months and months and it’s already over! Even though everything didn’t go according to plan, it was still one of our BEST days as a Church and it was just incredible!

Why did it rock?

Because God used it to reach people who normally would never step foot into a church! Because there were multiple stories of men who told their wives they would come back to this church. Because families were introduced to Jesus.

What was DAD FEST you ask?

Dad Fest was a special day to honor dads and to give our Church an incredible opportunity to make it as easy as possible to invite and bring friends and family to check out Thrive Church! Last year we hosted it on the actual Father’s Day, but since we live in a college town, there are a ton of Thrivers who travel home to see their dads…so, we did it a week early.

What did we do at DAD FEST?

We planned to have (cool cars, police vehicles, giant inflatables, a live band, 40 ft climbing wall, a football skills area, fun archery, face painting and water balloons) in the parking lot, but because of rain we had to cancel it.

Even though that happened, it was still an absolutely STELLAR morning for Thrive Church!

During our experience, I challenged Dad’s to just not pass on DNA to their kids, but pass on what matters most. And, we looked at the example of Jesus in Mark 10. Our band was awesome and lead us in some great worship. We brought a couple of dad’s up and did a fun DAD vs DAD competition.

AND…we had a ton of food! No joke, we had a special DAD TENT and DAD reserved area where there was a ton of food covered in bacon (thanks to an amazing volunteer) and DADS and MEN received a chilled bottle of root beer with a DAD FEST cozi. It was just awesome!

Plus in the lobby of the movie theater we rent and in the tents after the experience, we had a ton of free food and drinks. And we had a picture wall for Dad’s to get a picture with their kids.

It was just a lot of fun and a ton of impact! 

And, actually, in spite of the rain, people still showed up! On a typical Sunday morning at Thrive, we have around 400 people. At Dad Fest 2015 we had 602. Its just nuts that we had a 136% increase over last years Dad Fest. And, all that for an 88 week old church! God is good!

ONLY GOD!

We do all of this because we want to passionately help people find and follow Jesus! And, we’ll do anything short of sin to reach IMG_5745people for Jesus! And, we’re willing to do things that no one is doing to reach people that no one else is reaching.

I am so incredibly thankful to everyone who prayed for Dad Fest. Who served. Who gave financially. Who invited and brought friends and family. And, those who showed up!

It was a major day for the history of Thrive Church and I already can’t wait till years!

Put down June 12th!!

We’re not even close to being done! There are 80,000 people in Central MI who don’t ‘have a Church home and we won’t stop or slow down!

I can’t wait till we add our Thrive location on the campus of Central Michigan University. And then a campus in Midland, Alma and Big Rapids!

Honored to be a part of this Church and I know the best is yet to come!

#ilovemychurch

Oh…in case you want to see more about Dad Fest, check out these links:

Watch the experience.

Look at the pictures.

Email Sarah.burkhart@thrivechurchmi.cc to get a copy of our Stratetic Plan.

A Sunday Evening Reflection and Recap of Dad Fest 2015

Wow, it’s late. Well, for my sleep cycle, it is late. And, considering I was up super early, I’m shocked I’m still up.

But, I’m watching the Cav’s and I’m hoping they pull out a win!

In the midst of that, my mind is still racing about this morning at Thrive!

It was just an absolutely spectacular day for our Church!

We are our 88 weeks old, but for some reason, God is using our young church to reach people for His kingdom! And, I’m honored!

Here are a few things I was so excited to hear today at Thrive…

  • ‘This is how Church people are suppose to act’
  • We’re almost out of Bibles! We’ve given out almost 5 cases of Bibles in the last 5 months, that’s just awesome!
  • ‘I never thought church could be like this’
  • ‘I’ve been running from Jesus for a long time and I’m done running’
  • ‘Is it like this every Sunday’? (said by a first time guest)
  • ‘Thank you for making a day that would get my husband here’

It was just awesome to see so many people serve, invite and bring friends and family and pray for God to move!

I really do love my church and I know the best is yet to come!

 

Months of planning, preparing and praying…and its here.

Well, Dad Fest is almost here. Actually, by this time tomorrow, Dad Fest will long done and over.

We’ve been planning, preparing and praying for Dad Fest since before Christmas. We picked the date and wrote the strategic plan and then a few months went by and then bam, it’s here!

I’m excited. I’m also a tad bit anxious.

To be completely honest, it’s been a rough week. I really believe whole heartedly that satan has been attacking in every way he possibly can. It’s been a tough week for me physically and I’ve noticed that there are a few relational strains creeping in as well. This is typical for the week before or after a big event.

Why Dad Fest? Someone asked me this week why we’re hosting Dad Fest. To be the answer is simple…it’s a tremendously awesome way to reach people who would normally say no to an invite to Church. So, even though it’s a lot of work and takes tons of people all working together, it’s so worth it.

But, its amazing how even the little things can discourage me the week before a big Sunday. When some plans fall through, or the weather may not cooperate or when I heard some key thrivers won’t be at Dad Fest, yeah, it’s easy to be discouraged.

But, it’s also extremely easy to be ENCOURAGED! I have heard dozens of stories from Thrivers this week who have been inviting friends and family. There is family coming from hours away. There are dad’s coming to church who haven’t been to church in 20 years.

It’s going to be an awesome day.

So, would you pray? Would you pray for our day at Thrive Church? Would you pray for the Gospel to be clearly preached? Would you pray for people to respond? Would you pray for the rain to hold?

Tomorrow is Dad Fest. I can’t wait! Please God, move powerfully!