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!

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!




Thrive Church Loves Schools!! We had the honor of serving a few tonight for Back to School Night!

Tonight was pretty awesome! Thrive was given the privilege to serve some local schools and it was an honor!

Let me back up. Even before we started Thrive Church, we decided that we were going to do everything we possibly could to serve schools. Why? Because…

Kids Matter! Teachers Matter! Parents Matter! 

So, this year we’ve taken huge strides to serve schools.

  • We did a shoe project back in March where we gave out 425 pairs of adidas tennis shoes.
  • A few Sundays ago we took the Sunday off and served 5 schools, it was awesome!
  • Tonight, we offered inflatables and free food to a few elementary schools for their back to school night and they accepted!

So, we served. It was awesome.

Sarah, my assistant, got this text from a Principle tonight…

‘Thank you so much for all you did to make our open house great!! You guys rock!

Just an honor to serve! Can’t wait till the next time!


DAD FEST is COMING to Thrive Church and we need your help!

DAD FEST is coming to Thrive Church! Actually…it’s almost here!

It’s on Sunday June 14th and it’s after each Sunday morning experience. There is a special DAD TENT (Yes, there is some SUPER COOL STUFF in the DAD TENT), Inflatables for kids and students, a Giant Football Competition area (Thanks to Eagle Village and Victims to Victors), Dunk Tank, a Live Band, FREE FOOD, Cool Cars and a ton of other fun!


Here are photo’s from last year’s Dad Fest!!! This year, we’re taking it to a whole new level! Why? Why are we doing this? Investing the time, energy and finances into this event?

Here’s why…to get more men to be a part of Church. To give men a chance to fall in love with Jesus. To encourage Dad’s to be the spiritual leaders in their house holds.

And, to reach as many people as possible!! Actually, I’m praying that this will be our largest attended Sunday to date!

How you can be a part of Dad Fest 2015

1. Pray for Dad Fest! Pray that God would send men! Men that would never step foot into a Church! Men who desperately need Jesus. Pray that men, women and children would respond to the Gospel. Pray that the weather would be amazing! Pray that our parking lot would be stuffed! Pray that the extra stuff we’re looking for would be donated.

2. Be at Dad FEST! Be there. Make it a priority!

3. Serve at Dad FEST! We need a completely other team to set up, run and tear down DAD FEST. If you can help, email Sarah.burkhart@thrivechurchmi.cc.

4. Invite and Bring EVERYONE you know! This Sunday you will be given little invite cards, pass them out. On Wednesday, June 11th at noon, be a part of the DAD FEST Facebook flash mob! Message people. Call them. Invite them. Email them.

5. Donate. Thrive is only 84 weeks old and hosting events like these cost a lot of money. It’s well worth it because we’re able to reach exponentially more people than a normal Sunday, but help donating stuff would be awesome. Here’s what we need:

  • Cans of Pop.
  • Cases of Water.
  • Bags of little chips.
  • Paper products (Plates, cups, napkins).
  • Sponsor an Inflatable. It’s about 300 per inflatable and we would like to have 3.

If you can help, email Sarah.burkhart@thrivechurchmi.cc.

It’s coming! Get ready!!

dad fest



The time my 12 year old was ticked about baseball

I love baseball. I love that my boys love baseball. IMG_4900

I have played catch with them since before they were walking.

Every trip we have ever gone on, we always bring our gloves and play catch. We’re always throwing something. Always hitting something.

Honestly, as they’ve gotten older, it’s so fun! We throw harder…they dive…it’s fun.

I love it! 

But, today my 12 year was ticked about baseball! Let me back up. Yesterday, Bob, had a great first baseball game of the spring. Hit a great double to centerfield, pounded another ball that was caught and was hit by a pitch, and he eventually scored! He’s a good ball player. He loves playing baseball. It’s not his life, but I’m glad he plays.

Today he found out that some of his baseball games are on Wednesday nights and he was ticked.

No, I mean, straight up TICKED!

Why? Because that means he will miss ONE YOUTH. One Youth is Thrive’s student ministry and HE LOVES IT!! I love that he loves it. But, my goodness, he was mad.

I explained that we’ll get him to One Youth as soon as the games are over, but that wasn’t good enough for Bob.

Ok, this is tough for me. I love baseball! I love watching my boys play. So, it’s hard to see him mad about it.

But, I love ‘the Church’ and I love our church more. I love our student ministry. And, I’m proud–glad–excited–happy that he’s ticked about missing One Youth.

Yes, today I am one proud dad!

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!