A special trip to CA with just my Bobby

I will NEVER forget the day that Robert Jason Raitz was born! It was a total surprise that he was a boy! We already had Bekah and I was absolutely convinced we were going to have all girls. IMG_3383

Then, the day came. I was about to lead worship at church and my wife (Tracie) came back stage and said…um…you won’t be leading worship today. So, I took off my guitar and headed to the hospital. Our whole youth group came to the waiting room and played board games and then I came out and announced that Robert Jason  Raitz was born.

One of the coolest moments of my life happened about an hour after he was born. My dad, Robert Raitz, came into the room and I introduced him to his grandson, Robert Raitz. Wow, what a moment!

Bobby is now 12 years old! It’s just flow by. He’ll be 13 this summer and I just can’t even believe it!

13 years old! A teenager! And the crazy part is, we’ll have two teenagers! Just awesome!

Well, tomorrow morning he and I leave the house at 445am to drive to Detroit to hop on a plane to CA. I was asked to speak at a great event in Southern CA and it worked out great to bring Bobby! Just me and Bob.

I’ve been praying about this trip for a long time. I’ve been praying for this trip for a long time.

Why? Because Bob turns 13 this summer and that’s a major milestone! That’s Huge and as his dad I’ve worked hard raising him and pouring into him and I can’t wait to have fun, and do more of that this weekend.

Here’s the thing. It will be just Bobby and I. I don’t have a ton of money, so we’ll check out the ocean. We’ll talk. We’ll play catch on the beach. And, like he’s done hundreds of times, he will sit and listen to his dad speak from stage.

In a perfect world, I would have the money to rent a convertible, but honestly, the cheapie compact car will be just fine!

So, we are going to have a BLAST! We’re going to talk. We’re going to experience a cool trip together. We’re going to pray. We’re going to hang out. We’re going to be together!

I can’t wait! My Bob turns 13 this summer and I couldn’t be proud of him. He’s a young man who loves Jesus. Who has great empathy for others. He’s compassionate. He’s a deep thinker. He’s profound. He’s funny! He has a great smile! And..he’s just awesome!

Why Kids and Students matter so much at Thrive Church

I’m going to cut right to the chase and I believe this passionately about Thrive Church

 

  • If kids and students don’t love Thrive Church, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.
  • If kids and students aren’t begging their parents to be a part of Thrive Church, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.
  • If kids and students aren’t being poured into, taught and shown Jesus, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.
  • If kids and students aren’t given the opportunity to lead and use their gifts, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.
  • If kids and students aren’t challenged to be Jesus and to be a light to the world, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.

That’s why kids and students matter so much at Thrive Church! cool thrive kids pic

They have to matter! And, every single adult who attends, who is a Thrive Partner, who volunteers, who gives and who prays for our Church has to be passionate about investing into them!

We have to invest amazing resources into our kids and students.

We have to be excited every time they lead.

We have to get them involved as much as possible.

We have to get them to camps and retreats.

We have to inspire them.

We have to encourage them.

We have to help them find and follow Jesus.

That’s why kids and students matter so much to our Church. They are not only our future, they are our now.

Done running from God? Check out Thrive Church this morning

Have you been running?

Any mention of God and you just take off the other way.

You don’t even know how long it’s been since the last time you thought about God.

You have just been running.

Maybe you were hurt. Maybe life hurt you and you blamed God. Maybe a church hurt you and you blamed God. Maybe you asked God for answers and you felt like He never gave you any.

Maybe you were once part of a Church and you gave everything you had and you ended up getting hurt.

Ever since then, you have just been running.

Running, running, running. do good one

And honestly, you’re getting tired of it. You’re tired of trying to do life on your own and you’re tired of feeling like God is nowhere to be found.

What if you gave Church one more try? 

What if you checked out Thrive Church this morning? You’ve heard about it. You’ve seen it on Facebook? You have friends who go to Thrive. You’ve looked at the pictures online.

What if you took this step? What if you turned the other way and stopped running from God?

Maybe, just maybe you would meet God this morning. Maybe, just maybe He would speak to you. Maybe, just maybe you would meet people that really wanted you to be a part of their Church.

Wouldn’t it be great to stop running?

So, check out Thrive Church this morning. We meet at Celebration Cinema, yup…the movie theater, at 9 or 1015.

And, here’s the thing to know about checking out Thrive. Don’t worry! Just come. Come as you are.

I would get there about 15 minutes early!

See you in a little bit.

Oh, we’re talking about how we have been called to change the world…it’s going to be fun!!

 

Newspring Leadership Intensive w/Perry Noble….day 2

I’m sitting in my hotel room in Atlanta and in a few hours I head home. I can’t wait! I know it’s cold at home. I know there’s snow. I know my schedule is just insane the next few months.

But I CAN’T WAIT!

Being at Newspring Church this week and being poured into by their staff and pastor has been incredible.IMG_4393

 

Why has it been Incredible?

It’s filled my bucket!

It’s given me hope.

It’s given me fresh vision.

It’s challenged me. To make wiser decisions. To make harder decisions.

It’s taught me so much about leadership and leading a church.

It’s given me fresh ideas for Thrive.

It’s excited me for the future.

It’s inspired me.

What I learned from NewSpring

1. They are ridiculously focused on their vision. They just do not let a ton of extra things get in there and clog it up!

2. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE is bought in! Wow! It’s just awesome to talk with staff and then it’s incredible to talk with volunteers who are bought in!

3. They really care for people. You can’t walk 5 feet on that campus without someone asking you your name, where you’re from and if they can do anything for you. Just awesome.

4. They’re passionate about Jesus. This probably should be number one in my list, but it’s undeniable! Jesus is exalted. Jesus is praised. It’s all about Jesus.

5. The staff honors each other and their Pastor. I was sitting in a session yesterday and a guy behind me kept agreeing with Perry while he was teaching. I love that…first of all! I’m great with people being excited and adding to the teaching. But, a few times, he got louder and louder and he was just agreeing, saying things like…’that’s right’ and ‘so good’. So, I turned around and it was Brad Cooper, NewSpring’s family pastor! It kind of shocked me! I mean, I know Brad has heard all these things from Perry a million times. But, here he was engaged and listening and learning, like it was the first time.

That was awesome!

6. You’ve got to be hungry. I didn’t meet any staff member or hear anything that would have given me the impression that NewSpring has it all together. They are constantly learning and tweaking.

So Grateful. 

This was a great trip and I am so thankful to my church! I wouldn’t have been able to experience this without them.

I don’t know what the future holds for Thrive. But, I am going to concentrate on today. I’m going to concentrate on being the child of God, husband, dad, pastor, son, brother and friend He’s called me to be.

Newspring Leadership Intensive w/Perry Noble….day 1

Wow, just wow! Don’t know how else to describe my time at the Newspring Leadership Intensive! IMG_4410

Here are a few other ways I would describe…

  • Over the top
  • Above and beyond
  • Powerful
  • Bucket filling
  • Jesus centered
  • Scripture based
  • Recharging
  • Incredible
  • Crazy quality

I am just so thankful that my church would believe in me enough to give me the opportunity to be here and to do some amazing learning!

I’ve been too a million conferences in my 20 years of serving-working for churches and I’ve just never experienced anything like how Newspring does things.

They are just over the top. And, I don’t mean with nice programs and all that stuff and fluff. Although, they do take really good care of us!

They are over the top with relationships. The Newspring Network team literally bends over backward to care for people and to set up the local church for success. It’s truly amazing! They just keep giving away so many priceless ministry tools.

My church, Thrive, has benefited from them in a ridiculous amount of ways! Our kids ministry uses free curriculum, I’ve learned a ton through the coaching and they helped us again recently with a compassion based project we are doing in our community.

Leadership Waterfall

From a leadership point of view, this trip has been priceless. It’s honestly hard for me to travel now a days. I loved to travel in my 20’s and early 30’s and now…I just want to stay home. I don’t like to miss nights with my kids and my wife. So, it takes a lot to get me to leave.

This leadership Intensive was well worth the trip to Anderson, South Carolina.

Here’s why…

1. To learn from Perry Noble is just priceless. Honestly, there was a season when I wasn’t the biggest Perry Noble fan. Then, about 3-4 years ago, I was at a pretty low place and I heard a Perry sermon and his authenticity and realness were just off the charts and helped me a ton. Since then, I pretty listen to everything he puts out. His messages, leadership podcast and books have been a huge blessing to my heart and leadership.

I even encourage my church to listen to him whenever they get the chance!

2. To visit Newspring is inspiring. I’ve only been here once before, but my goodness, they go way out of their way to make you wanted! I love their campus and I always walk away with a million ideas.

3. To meet new leaders. I’m sitting at a table with a great Newspring staffer and some great pastors. We’ve had great conversations and have already connected and shared common experiences.

4. To feel normal. Being the lead pastor of a church is like nothing, NOTHING, I’ve experience in my 20 years of serving the local church. I’ve been a youth pastor, a middle school pastor, an assistant pastor, a traveling evangelist speaker guy, a small groups pastor and now a church planter and lead pastor. To listen to Perry teach on leadership and how he connects the dots to the leaders own health has just been priceless. There are so many emotions and things I experience that are brand new for me and to hear that I’m not crazy is a good thing!

5. To connect with leaders. Last night I sat in a Chick-Fil-A till it closed with a friend and fellow church pastor. I left the restaurant last night ready to charge the hill. We exchange emails and texts year round, but goodness, to sit and encourage and learn from each other was priceless!

6. To get filled up! We all know ministry is hard. Gosh, that’s the understatement of the year. This trip has been bucket filling for me. I love my church and I love our area and I love the vision God’s given me. This trip has just helped fan the flame…with like a bucket of GAS!

It’s time for the second full day to begin and I can’t wait!