2014 was my first full year of leading Thrive Church and it was AWESOME!
Today, Thrive Church is 72 weeks old and I have learned a ton! Oh my stinking goodness, that is the understatement of the year! I’ve served and worked at Churches for almost 20 years, but 2014 was my first year of leading a Church and it was unlike anything I’ve ever experience. It had many similarities, but it was also crazy different.
In 1995, I was hired by Covenant Community Church to be their youth pastor. In December, it will be 20 years since I first started this calling as a pastor! It is still crazy to me that they hired a newly minted 20 year old with basically no experience. But, I did have a whole lot of passion! A lot has happened since then and I’ve served at churches small and large, but, none of that compared to leading a new church. So, I thought I would put together some of my thoughts, so here goes.
People that tell me they don’t have time to pray or that prayer doesn’t work are straight up crazy! Sit down with me at lunch and I will give you a list of more than 100 answered prayers! For instance, as I type this blog post, I am in an office that I prayed for and God provided. I am typing on a computer than God provided.
I’ve seen people trust in Jesus and get baptized who told me they would never step into my church.
Holy Cow!! Thrive officially, kind of in an off the books kind of way started in December of 2012. That’s when 4 couples sat around a table and talked, dreamed and prayed about starting a new and different kind of church.
We started meeting as a small group in Jan. of 2013 and then met monthly in 2013 all the way to our launch date of October 6th! It honestly seems like yesterday that we sat around that dining room table. Time goes by quick.
I know, how could it be hard when pastors only work 1 day a week? Hah, Hah, Hah! I have always prided myself on how hard I worked. I have never been the 40 hour a week pastor. My motto has always been…let’s do whatever it takes.
But, planting and leading a church has been a different level of hard. For years, I always had opinions on what my pastor should or shouldn’t be doing. Now, after sitting in the pastors seat for 72 weeks, I have a completely different view.
Before I move on from this, maybe you’re thinking…‘what’s so hard about leading a church’? Well, here are a few of my thoughts:
Those are just a few areas that are hard.
Ok, I know this sounds a tad bit negative, but it shouldn’t come as a shock, right? I mean, everyone has been hurt by someone? Here’s what I know, to start a church takes a lot of hard work, emotional energy, faith and you have to keep moving forward in the midst of some tough negativity.
I know what you’re thinking! Why on earth would anyone be negative about pastors, churches or church planting? Isn’t the local church the hope of the world? Isn’t our goal to get as many people into a relationship with Jesus as possible? What could be negative about that?
Well, I’ve had some really awful things said about me. Other christians have criticized my church. People that I’ve invested into have left my church and didn’t even tell me why or respond to my messages when I’ve asked. That hurts.
But, at the end of the day, that’s what people do to each other. I know I have hurt people and it breaks my heart and I try everyday to not make the mistakes that would cause that hurt again.
Ok, these are a few of my thoughts on my experience of leading Thrive Church for our first full year. My next post will include 4 more!!
I don’t know about you, but sometimes the lies that fill my head become INTENSE!
I know they’re not true. But, when they’re dropped inside my head, one after the other, gosh! INTENSE!
And, it doesn’t stop with the lies. All of a sudden, the comparison game starts. And then that is INTENSE!
Then, out of the blue, I wonder if someone is unhappy with a decision I made and then that becomes INTENSE!
And then, the lies get lonely, so they start to attack and then it’s a version of INTENSE that made the first round look like a pony show.
Honestly, this happens to me in waves and seasons. It doesn’t always happen. It’s not always super INTENSE.
But, there are seasons where it is crazy bad and just when I think it’s done, another wave of lies come over my mind!
I’m reminded about things like:
I don’t know what lies fill your head, but I would bet they’re just as debilitating.
So, instead of letting my mind dwell in the depth of those lies, here is a spiritual practice that brings a tremendous amount of peace to my mind and thoughts.
Here is a great passage of scripture that reminds me to stop focusing on the lies and to focus on the truth of scripture.
Romans 12:1-2 (message)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
You are invited to come be apart of Thrive Church this morning!
Yes, I know…it’s early! Yes, I know…you have given up on ‘church’. Yes, I know…you’ve got more excuses.
But and it’s a Big BUT…give in to those excuses today and head to Thrive this morning!
Here’s the thing though, we don’t want you to just ATTEND. We don’t believe you ATTEND a Church.
I know people say that a lot…well…’I attend so and so church’. Nah! What fun is that?
You’re invited to come and be A PART of Thrive Church!
Isn’t attending something you do for a mandatory work training? Or something you do for school, right?
Be A PART of a family. Yes, we are a family. A family that takes care of each other, welcomes each other, prays for each other and looks out for each other.
Be A PART of a something SUPER FUN. Yes, are a fun church. We don’t hide that. You won’t find an old stuffy environment at Thrive Church. We laugh. We clap. We cheer. We are excited!
Be A PART of changing lives. Thrive Church exists to help people find and follow Jesus. That’s it. We’re all about Jesus! And, when you’re all about Jesus, soon you will experience amazing life change! So, if you’re at a point in your life and things need to change, come and be apart. If you have been sensing for a while you need a church family, come and be apart. If you’re looking to be apart of something bigger than you, come and be apart.
We meet at Celebration Cinema at either 9 or 1015! I recommend arriving about 15 minutes early! Hang out, grab some coffee and then get your kids all checked into to Thrive kids. Then, head to theater one and be part!
Today’s the day! Today is the day you’ve decided to check out Thrive Church!
You’ve heard of Thrive Church. You have some friends that talk about it. They share stuff on facebook. You’ve even clicked on some of those links.
And, wouldn’t you know it, you really enjoyed the stuff you clicked on. You’ve thought of checking it out. But, you’ve come up with excuses.
Well, today you’re ready. So, let me give you a heads up on what you’ll experience at Thrive.
On top of all that, you will experience an extremely welcoming environment and a place where you’re wanted.
So, we can’t wait to meet you! Don’t forget, we meet at Celebration Cinema in Mt Pleasant at either 9 or 1015. Don’t forget, just today, be about 30 minutes early so you don’t miss out on the tailgate party!!