Random Late Night Thoughts about Thrive turning TWO!

**Note: I am typically not up this late at night and so there are probably many typos in this blog post. 

Well, tomorrow is a big day.

It’s Thrive’s TWO year anniversary. Gosh, these past two years went by quick! Like, lightening quick! It really seems like yesterday that I was sitting in a coffee shop and writing this blog post. And, here we are almost 3 years later and Thrive is turning TWO.

I’ve learned a ton over the past 2.5 years. Here’s the most overwhelming truth that I’ve learned…

God is faithful! 

It’s been a wild ride. Way, way up and way, way down. Some months have been amazing and some months have produced such amazingly awful pain. But, all in all, I wouldn’t trade any of it.

Thrive Church turns TWO tomorrow and I’m proud of my church. I love my church and I know God has some great plans ahead for Thrive Church.

It started as a few couples sitting around a dining room table and it has grown into a movement of over 500 men, woman, students and children. We have no affirmations of being a big church, we just beg God daily to have a big impact in Central MI for His Kingdom. We ask God for big life change to happen in peoples lives.

We’re not stuck on tradition. We’re not stuck in following a list of rules. We do things a little different. We run after the mess. We work really hard to create an environment and culture where everyone is loved. We’re passionate about people and we desperately want to see people fall head over heals in love with Jesus.

That’s why we do all of this. For Life Change. For people to walk away from what’s holding them back from being formed in the image of God.

People have come and people have gone. Some were just along for a short season and some have been at Thrive since the beginning. Some people come in and get all excited and then fizz out. Some people come in who are hurting and hopefully Thrive is a place for them to heal up. Some people serve so sacrificially, it’s just amazing.

Thrive wouldn’t exist without the help of other Churches. Without them, we would have never gotten off the ground. I am eternally grateful to…

Kensington Church, Venture Church, Heritage Church, Lapeer Community Church, and Thrive Church TX.

When we started we didn’t have a sending church. A Church that sent a group of people to get us going. But, we did have a few of us who have worked for churches and have been around church leadership and that was invaluable to have. We never sent any mass mailers. We just started. We turned to Facebook. We turned to word of mouth.

And, in our short 104 weeks, 112 people have been baptized!


We started with nothing. I didn’t even own a computer. God provided. We didn’t have a copier, God provided. We didn’t have a trailer, God provided. We didn’t a staff, God provided. We didn’t have a prayer, God provided. We didn’t have a worship leader, God provided. We didn’t own any equipment, God provided. We didn’t even have a space to gather on Sundays and God provided. And, we didn’t have an office area or a place for our students to meet and again, God provided.

It’s been amazing to see people who had totally given up on Church and God, find a church home and a relationship with God. It’s been amazing to see marriages healed. It’s been amazing to see our church family live out Acts 2. It’s been amazing to watch kids fall in love with Jesus. It’s been awesome to see our students grow and begin to lead. It’s been awesome to see how God has used our little church to impact our community.

Of course, there have been painful moments. Week in and week out, it’s so hard sometimes to hear all the pain and hurt that people are dealing with. Job loss, debt, sickness, cancer, death, loss of relationships, gossip and pain. There have been times when I had to make decisions that a few people disagreed with and they left Thrive over it. There have been moments when you invest so much energy and time into someone and they simply let you down. There has been a lot of heart break.

But, I love my church. I love the staff that God has lead to Thrive. I love the Church leaders He has brought. I love the family He has brought. I love the kids and students.

I know He has some amazing plans for us. Tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow we’re actually attempting to take a huge step to expand our REACH.

We have dreams. Dreams to bless even more. Dreams to give away more. Dreams to reach more. Dreams to operate a 24/7 facility that will be open to the community whenever! Dreams to continue being a church for people that aren’t perfect. Dreams to continue pointing people to Jesus.

Thank you for your support and encouragement. Thank you for your prayer! Thank you for your financial support.

I can’t wait to see what God has for us in the next TWO years!

Thrive’s TWO year anniversary is this SUNDAY!!

I can’t even believe that Thrive Church is turning TWO this Sunday?!?

It’s time to CELEBRATE!

1. We will celebrate God! We will worship Him! We will pray to Him! We will be encouraged from His word! We will thank Him for all He has done for us!

2. We will celebrate baptisms!! Make sure you’re there to cheer on and celebration our Thrive friends and family who are taking the step of baptism! Baptisms will happen in a pool in the parking lot after the second experience. Don’t worry, it will be warm water!

If you would like to be baptized, fill out this form and we’ll contact you!

3. We will celebrate our REACH commitments. This Sunday, bring your REACH commitment cards (we’ll have extras at Thrive). Whether you’re committing to giving regularly to God every week, or you’re giving a Big gift to help jump start the REACH campaign or you’re committing a monthly gift, every single gift matters!!

Thank you for praying and asking God what He’s asking you to give.

Just a reminder, check out our www.whocanwereach.cc website to see all the details. Our year long goal is $230,000!

And, we have been praying for $30,000 to be given this Sunday to jump start our REACH campaign!

We can do this!

4. We will celebrate the ministry of Hopewell Ranch! Just a reminder. For every person who attends our TWO year anniversary, Thrive is donating $2 a person to HopeWell Ranch! So, your attendance can help bless the Ranch!

5. We will celebrate! After each experience, there will be a party in the parking lot!! A live band will play under a tent. We’ll enjoy cake and ice cream and drinks. Kids can bounce on 3 inflatables. Students and Parents can enjoy the Archery Tag. And, families can get their picture taken in front of the Thrive picture wall.

PLUS…we have some amazing videos to show you during the experience!

It’s just going to be an amazing Sunday! And, I’m hoping you’ll be there!

So, start praying! Invite a friend! Reach out to them! Bring them! Load up your car with your family! And be at Thrive this Sunday for our most important Sunday EVER!

Join us this Sunday! See you at either 9 or 1015 at Celebration Cinema!!


Is Jesus the ONLY WAY? Really?? Week two of REACH @ Thrive tomorrow!

Tomorrow at Thrive we tackle a HUGE verse!Reach

Tomorrow we tackle a HUGE idea.

Tomorrow tackle a HUGE part of the Gospel.

So, don’t miss! Be ready! Get ready!

So many people try to take Jesus out of the equation, but the reality is…it’s all about Jesus.

Tomorrow at Thrive is going to rock. The band is ready! Thrive Kidz has an amazing time planned! The coffee will be hot!

Let’s come together and celebrate Jesus. Learn about Jesus and then go Live like Jesus!!

See you tomorrow at Thrive at either 9 or 1015!!


A conversation with my 15 year old that had me tearing up

I love having a 15 year old daughter! I still think it’s crazy that I’m old enough to have a 15 year old, but I love it!

I’ve been praying since before she was born that God would use her to reach thousands and thousands of people for His Kingdom!

Now that she’s 15, it’s so amazingly fun to see her start to use her gifts to lead at Thrive Church! I believe she has the gift of leadership and others have told me that.

So, we’re driving after school this week and she says…’Dad, I had a wild dream last night’. I said, ‘tell me all about it’. She begins to describe this dream of how she was teaching at Camp Timber Lee (a camp I’ve taught at for 10 years and she’s heard me give hundreds of messages there).  She talked about the illustration she used and what she taught about it. She lit up when she was talking about it.

I was wrecked! I teared up and tried to hide it from her! I’ve been praying and dreaming for 15 years that God would give her dreams and visions of how she can be used for His Kingdom!

I can’t wait to see how God uses her!

Thrive’s Biggest Step of Faith Yet…the REACH campaign

This past Sunday, I introduced the REACH campaign to Thrive Church.  I was so excited and I have been waiting forever to share it! Our Thrive staff and leadership team have been working on this since May! This is literally our BIGGEST step of faith yet as a Church! Check out the website…


Simply put…the REACH campaign is a ONE year spiritual & financial commitment to help THRIVE expand our REACH to Mt Pleasant, Central Michigan and the World.

Thrive started out as a conversation around a dining room table with 8 people and 101 weeks later, it has turned into a movement of over 500 men, woman, kids and students! It’s truly an ONLY GOD thing!

98 people have trusted in Jesus as their Savior and 112 people have gone public with their faith through baptism and last Sunday, we had a 94% increase over the last year! God is literally changing lives and it’s so humbling and amazing to be a part of what He is doing!  Again, ONLY GOD! 

But, here’s the reality. We need to free up space at the movie theater we rent because there are so many more people who need to be reached and we can’t do that without taking some giant steps of faith. You see, we’re out of space in our kids environments and we’re just about out of space in our adult environments!

And, that’s a HUGE problem.

So, we’ve started the REACH campaign! We’re asking everyone that calls Thrive their home church and friends and family who support our mission and vision from afar, to be a part of this intuitive.

We’re asking people to make some Spiritual commitments:

  • Learn, Live and Share the Gospel
  • Join a Small Group
  • Be a part of the 28 Day REACH Prayer Walk
  • Serve on a Thrive team
  • Read the REACH book
  • Invite a friend to Thrive

We’re asking people to also make some financial commitments:

  • To give financially to God through Thrive Church with a consistent and prayerful percentage gift.
  • To give a Big Gift on October 4th at our TWO year anniversary Sunday
  • To give a monthly gift towards the REACH campaign for the next year.

The goal is to raise…


It seems like a million dollars! But, with God all things are possible and He is already doing miracles all over the place at Thrive! To see the break down of our goal, just check out whocanwereach.cc. 

It doesn’t matter if you live in Arizona or Florida, you can be a part! If you’re a Partner at Thrive or you call Thrive your home Church, I’m asking you to pray and carefully consider the step of faith God is asking you to take!

The exciting thing to me about this effort to raise these extra funds is that over half of what we raise will be…


Seriously! $90,000 of it will be used to plant a Church in Ecuador through Stadia and Compassion International. $20,000 of this will be used to buy kids shoes for our Shoe Project in March. $6000 of this will be used to send Kids and Students on retreats and summer camp!

How awesome is that??????

And, the other portion that is raised will help us add 4 additional Kid theaters to our Thrive Kidz environment on Sundays and we will add a video venue experience across the hall in our movie theater for adults as well! We will also be able to purchase additional portable cases, walls, mats, carpets, toys and equipment for our kid spaces.

This is HUGE! This is SO NEEDED! And, I hope and pray you will consider being a part!

If you have questions, do not hesitate to email me, jason.raitz@thrivechurchmi.cc.

Thanks for praying for Thrive Church! Please pray that God will continue to change peoples lives and draw them closer to Him!


Help Send Bekah to Ecuador!!

Would you help Bekah Raitz raise $1000 for her to go to Ecuador? Any size gift will be a huge blessing and every gift matters.

Ok, let me back up.IMG_6807

I have the privilege of taking my oldest daughter, Bekah,  with me to Ecuador, November 17-21. We are going to check out Stadia and Compassion’s church planting and child sponsorship efforts! I can’t wait! I was suppose to go on a trip in August 2013, but had to cancel because of my back problems.

But, here we are a few years later and now I get to take my 15 year old! I really believe it will be life changing for both of us!

We will get to meet our families Compassion sponsored child and we couldn’t be more excited! We will also get to see first hand the efforts that are being done to release children from poverty.  We will also get to meet the leaders and people who are establishing new churches and literally bringing waves of life change to communities and neighborhoods!

This is all important because at Thrive Church, we are praying about being able to plant a Church in Ecuador sometime in the next couple of years. And, we have a Compassion Sunday in early November and we are praying for 50 children to be sponsored!

If you want to read more about these incredible endeavors and partnerships, please check out this link. 

Bekah needs to raise $1000 by November 1st to be able to go on this life changing trip. 

So, would you help her?

Would you partner with her and donate funds for her to be able to go? I can’t thank you enough in advance!

If you want to give online, head here.  Just select Ecuador Missions Trip and you can make your online gift there. All gifts are tax deductible.

If you would like to send a check. Just make it out to Thrive Church and put Bekah Raitz in the memo line. Send it to…Thrive Church, PO Box 1408, Mt Pleasant, MI 48804.

Thank you so much for making this life changing trip possible. 

Lastly, check out this video to find out more about Stadia’s efforts with Global Church Planting!




‘REACH’ + Free Book + Meet Dave = Special Sunday at Thrive

Every Sunday at Thrive is special to me.

But, today is an extra helping of special! church for no church

Why? Because Sunday’s are only a tiny part of Thrive! It’s just a little sliver in the Thrive pie! Our goal is to get people to Thrive on Sunday’s so they can find Jesus and then get them connected to a small group or a team so they can experience biblical friendship and community! We believe passionately (like Andy Stanley says) that circles are better than rows.

And, today at Thrive we have a couple of HUGE moments planned.

ONE…We start our ‘REACH’ series! We actually had Dr. Tom Rundel from Liminal Living write a book specifically for Thrive as we tackle how to learn, share and be the gospel. We’re passing out those books today and I’m hoping we have enough! So, please be there to get one!! 

TWO…Today we introduce Dave Shephard and his family to Thrive. Dave’s our newest staff member! He’s Thrive’s new Creative Director and his job is to help create amazing environments for kids, students and adults to connect with and experience Jesus! You can read more about it here and check out Dave’s blog here. 

THREE…We officially kick off our fall ministry season! We had a great summer at Thrive, but my goodness, there were some Sunday’s where I wondered if everybody was camping at once! Don’t get me wrong, I love that people love to camp and travel and everyone needs to get away and REST!! But, not all at once!! Hahah. So, I’m glad today that in some sense, people are back! Thrive Kidz has some special plans and it’s move up Sunday!!

FOUR…I’m giving-making-laying out a HUGE announcement! I’ve made some doozies at Thrive before, none compare to this one! Our staff and leadership team has been praying for months and months about our next steps and direction as a Church and today I lay it out! I probably should be crazy nervous. It will probably tick someone off, but I’m learning that there’s aways a small contingent of people who will be upset about something. But, today could potentially be a HUGE day for our Church! HUGE! HUGER! HUGEST!

And I’m EXCITED and HONORED and BLESSED to share! 

Alright, I don’t know what you’re doing, but I would love for you to join us at Celebration Cinema at either 9 or 1015am. OH…get there early and get into theater one early to get a seat!!!!

It’s going to be a GREAT Sunday!