Tomorrow is a Significant Day for Thrive Church and I can’t wait!

Ok, every Sunday is a Significant day at Thrive ChurchIMG_4652

AND…every Sunday is a Significant for every local Church!

They’re all important!

It’s the day that we get the privilege and blessing to gather together as a body.

Because at least for Thrive, Sunday is just a tiny moment of the week and our goal for Sunday is point people to Jesus and then release them to go be Jesus. To go be the CHURCH!

So, tomorrow is a HUGE DAY for that! 

There has never been a time when people need Jesus more than right now! There is so much pain, so much hurt, so much hopelessness and so many needs.

And, Jesus is the answer.

So, tomorrow is a HUGE DAY for that! 

And, for our young, 81 week old church, we are in a growing season and honestly, every Sunday is vitally important for us to gather together.

To be…encouraged, challenged, taught, to serve, to give, to meet new people, to be prayed for, to laugh, to cry, to think, to be pointed toward Jesus and to worship Him.

So, tomorrow is a HUGE DAY for that! 

Also, we’re experiencing communion together tomorrow and that’s just a major moment for every Christ follower. It’s a time that we really get to REMEMBER and CELEBRATE what Jesus did for us on the Cross.

Plus, we’re going (I believe) to have a powerful moment to go along with it.

So, tomorrow is a HUGE DAY for that! 

Lastly, I get to update our Church on our progress to hire a Next Gen Pastor! I can’t wait! It’s a HUGE honor to bring on another staff member and we believe God has brought an amazing candidate to our attention. AMAZING candidate!

Don’t miss out on hearing the details and how EVERYONE can be a part of this! Not just people with kids. EVERYONE in our church.

Because, if we want our Church to continue to grow and flourish, we have to POUR into, INVEST, RESOURCE and want kids and students to love Jesus and our church.

I love what Perry Noble said about this…

‘Student ministry is only important if you want life in your Church’. 

So, tomorrow is a HUGE DAY for that!

Please be praying! Please invite someone. Please show up early. Please reach out to someone you don’t know. Please serve. Please give financially. Please look to Jesus.

Tomorrow is a significant day and I can’t wait to gather together with my Church! 

I just want more of Jesus

I’ve been pretty stressed lately. Lot’s going on for our family. Lot’s going on at Church.

Life is full. Too full. 

Just like any family, we have a lot going on. We have kids in baseball and track and we have kids with special diets and lots of homework. We have a teenager, a pre teen and two who think their teenagers. For the first time in years, my wife is working again. She was a full time stay at home mom, but now she works for our church 25 hours a week (unpaid) and our family has adjusted to that.

Just like any Pastor, my week is insanely full. I take my work home. I’m constantly thinking about my messages, the people who haven’t been to Thrive in awhile, our church finances, are we an accepting church, future hires, spouses who don’t know Jesus, the upgrades we need, fundraising, who we can help, who we can’t help, our staff, our staff families, upcoming outreach events and the list goes on and on.

And, when I get too busy…I take my eyes off Jesus. It’s that simple. I’m not proud of that.

My morning quiet time is replaced with hustle or sleeping in or something else. 

My prayer walks go away or are less frequent. 

My reading of the books I love (typically about spiritual formation) is replaced with Yahoo news. 

My patience goes out the window.

My eating habits go from bad to even worse. 

I hug my wife and kids less. 

Again, I’m not proud of any of this. But, it’s amazing how easy it is to slip into this mode.

But, I can’t let my life stay in this mode! And, the only solution I know of is…

Jesus. 

I just want–Need–long for more of Jesus. 

So, I’m going to keep my eyes focused on Jesus. I’m going to make sure to pay attention to my life when it starts to get too full and I’m going to do everything I possibly can to protect my soul.

I just want more of Jesus in my life.

A letter to my Church about Easter at Thrive

Dear Thrive Church,

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait till tomorrow. I have been waiting, anxiously waiting for Easter Sunday for months and I am so excited it’s almost here. Don’t get me wrong, I love every Sunday, you know that, but there is just something about Easter Sunday!

We have literally been preparing, planning and praying for Easter Sunday for months. Way before Christmas we started to dream and to started to talk about it. And, as the theme and scripture came together and God continued to put on our hearts what we needed to share, the excitement began to grow and grow. Then, our events team started to dream and put together a great plan as well.

And, now we’re here! This time tomorrow, Easter at Thrive will be in our rear view mirror. Before we get to Easter morning,  I wanted to share a few things with you that have been on my heart.

I love our Church. I really do. I have loved our church since it was a dream in my journal. I have loved our church since it was only a discussion around a dining room table. I loved our church when a dozen of us gathered in my living room on Christmas eve a few years ago. I loved our church when we met in the Shepherd Bar. I loved our church when started meeting at Celebration Cinema and now that we have two experiences, and staff and more and more people. I love our church. I love what God is doing. I love what we’re about. I love it.

I love that we will do anything short of sin to reach people for Jesus. We will! Already in our short 78 weeks, we have attempted some crazy stuff. Most recently our shoe project! How crazy was that!?! Let’s keep dreaming! Let’s keep attempting crazy stuff. Let’s let nothing EVER stop us from reaching people for Jesus!

I love that we care about kids and students! We have to care more! We have to continue to raise the bar for our kids and students. We have to be a church that never gives its scraps to our kids and students. So, let’s pray for them. Let’s create great environments for them. Let’s do whatever it takes to pour into them.

I love that we’re all about Jesus. That’s it! We exist to help people find and follow Jesus! Not only to find Him, but then to learn how to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus. To be Jesus. To live Jesus. To love the world like Jesus loves. We have to be all about Jesus.

Tomorrow is Easter.

We have a HUGE day planned. Our band and creative team and events team and kids team have been working over time to make tomorrow morning the best Sunday it could ever be.

SO…

Let’s pray. Let’s seek God. Let’s ask God to move. Let’s beg God to break hearts. Let’s pour into kids and students. Let’s worship. Let’s love. Let’s live for Jesus. Let’s change. Let’s be more like Jesus. Let’s care more for others than we do for ourselves. Let’s give. Let’s give financially. Let’s serve.

I love our Church and can’t wait to see what God is going to do through you!

See you tomorrow!

Jason

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!

 

 

Am I always seemingly EXCITED about Thrive Church?

The answer is YES! And, honestly, the answer is no!tailgate 15

How about that answer!?! But, that’s exactly how I feel. Of course I can’t be excited 24/7…100% of the time.

But, I try. I really do!

Why do I try? Because I REALLY DO LOVE MY CHURCH! I’m not just blowing smoke when I say that! I’m not just saying that because I’m the church planter and the pastor.

You have to remember something about me…I love the local church and I really do believe it’s the HOPE OF THE WORLD! I’ve served/worked at churches for 20 years. My dad was my youth pastor. I grew up watching my parents do ministry. I’ve served at Churches of all shapes and sizes (Church Plant to 25,000). Churches with tremendous influence. Churches with ‘famous’ pastors. Churches with amazing people. Churches with not so great people. Churches with amazing servants. Churches that were hung up on tradition. Churches that embraced change. Churches that desperately cared for the lost. Churches that helped the needy.

Yeah, I’ve experienced it all! It hasn’t all been easy, but it’s been an amazing journey. And, now I have the great privilege to lead and be a part of Thrive Church.

And…I LOVE MY CHURCH! 

So, yes, I am excited about what God is doing at Thrive Church.

How could I not be excited when I have a front row view to God changing lives?

To meet people who said they would never be a part of a Church and then to see God wreck their hearts! To see God provide in amazing ways. To see fully devoted followers of Jesus sacrifice so others could be introduced to Jesus. To meet so many amazing people! To watch kids and students be taught about Jesus. To see an inter-generational church be built.

Yeah, it’s awesome.

Is my excitement level a Mach 10–all the time? Honestly, No. I’m human. I get tired. I get worn down. Satan attacks. Everything isn’t perfect all the time. I get discouraged. It’s hard leading a church, but I love it!

I’m energized by it. I love the challenges. I love the hills to climb.

So, YES, I am EXCITED! I am excited about what God has already done. I am excited about the future. I am excited that I get to be a part of what He is doing.

I really do love my church.

Pastoring 101…What I learned from Thrive’s 1st Full year {pt 1}

2014 was my first full year of leading Thrive Church and it was AWESOME! thrive))church-no-perfect-allowed

 

 

 

 

 

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.

What I’ve Learned

1. God is in the business of answering prayers!

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.

Answered prayers are EVERYWHERE!!

2. Time goes by really quick!

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.

3. Leading a Church is really hard!

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:

  • As a pastor, you hear/deal with/are brought into/experience a lot of pain. Other peoples pain. It’s an honor to be a part of peoples lives and its something I don’t take for granted. But, wow, it can be tough to emotionally process all that pain. Pretty exhausting.
  • A pastor’s job isn’t to keep everyone happy and to do everything that everyone wants. So, I have to say no a lot. That’s hard.
  • A big part of my job is raising money for my church. The reality is, the more we raise, the bigger impact we can have. Its tough raising money.

Those are just a few areas that are hard.

4. People will hurt you.

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.

What a great first year! 

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!!