6 Reasons August is going to be a Ridiculously Amazing month for Thrive Church!

I could not be more EXCITED ABOUT THE MONTH OF AUGUST! I have been waiting, and waiting and waiting. And, it’s almost here! Why?

Because August is going to be an awesome month for Thrive Church

# 1…Our new series is called… ‘I love my Church’! It’s funny how some people react to that statement. Sometimes they look at you weird, like its strange to love your church. Yet, people love i love my churchsports teams and TV shows and a full array of things. Well, in this series we will talk about why we should love our church and when we do, we actually create an environment for people to be welcomed, accepted and loved!

# 2…31 Day Prayer Walk. Maybe you’ve picked this up at Thrive, but we love to Pray! We believe in the power of prayer and we’re asking EVERY THRIVER to commit to praying for our Church every day in the month of August. If you’re like me, I walk and pray! So, please join us. There will be a prayer schedule on facebook and we’ll email it as well.

# 3…Baptism and BBQ. My hope and prayer is that EVERYONE who calls THRIVE their home will be at this AMAZINGLY AWESOME SUNDAY on August 16th. Both worship experiences will be combined under one giant tent, we will Celebrate and Cheer our fellow Thrivers taking the step of BAPTISM in the lake, we will debut our new I LOVE MY CHURCH T-Shirts, we will have a giant POT LUCK, and we will party! (Giant inflatable events, great music, great food, swimming and Kan Jam!)

# 4…What’s so important about the Gospel? We have a very special opportunity to hear and learn from Dr. Tom Rundel on Wednesday night, August 19th from 7pm-830pm at the Hub. We will have a special time of worship and then Dr. Rundel will teach about the importance of the Gospel and why every follower of Jesus should know the Gospel. Don’t miss this night!

# 5…THE CHURCH has LEFT the BUILDING! On Sunday, August 23rd we are doing just that! No Joke! We’re all going to meet at the theater at 9am, get instructions and then we’re going to BLESS, and SERVE, and TAKE CARE OF our Community! We believe SAVED PEOPLE SERVE PEOPLE, so we’re going to do just that all around Mt Pleasant! Be watching your email for more instructions, but get ready!

# 6…Volunteer Kick off and Training. We believe every Thriver should SERVE at one experience and ATTEND at one experience. If you’re a current volunteer or would like to get plugged into a team, come to the Volunteer Kick Off on August 26th from 645pm-830pm at the Hub! Sorry, there won’t be any childcare available, but we will feed you!

I so you will join us and make a commitment to be a part of what is happening at Thrive!


The battle I can’t seem to win

I’m a fighter. I think the people who know me best would say that I’m a fighter. Of course, I’m a lover. But, I’m talking about fighting through struggles and the hardships of life.

I believe I’ve always been a fighter. I’ve always tried to walk towards the fight. I’ve tired to not turn tail and run. Yes, are there conflicts I walked away from? Yes. Not proud of that.

But, I hope it’s true that I’m a fighter.

The battle I can’t seem to win

But, there is one area of my life that I just can’t seem to get any traction, get any footing on and I just can’t win. I’ve battled this fight for most of my life.

It’s my health.

Plain and simple, I’m struggling to get healthy. To be healthy. To live in a healthy way. I’m obese. I’m overweight and it affects everything. My well being. My leadership. My self image.

I’ve listened and read everything. I’ve tried and tried. And, I have a new group of people in my life who are holding me accountable. But, wow, this is a battle that is almost to hard to win.

2012 was a pretty horrible year for me personally. That’s kind of an understatement. The year sucked! I left a job sooner than I anticipated and attempted to start a non profit. We had no money. In the stress of leaving and starting, I was stressed, anxious and mad. So, I worked out. I fought through my back pain and in literally no time, I was down 50 pounds. I felt amazing. I felt confident. I felt awake. I felt alive.

Then, the weight slowly came back. 

In the fall of 2013, I made great changes to my life and again, 40 pounds fell off. Again, I felt great.

Then I started a church and I experienced the most amount of stress I’ve ever experienced. As soon as I started the church, my back went from the normal pain I’ve been experiencing for years to a def con 5 kind of pain.

Living with P A I N Sucks. 

Everyday. Most moments of the day. Most movements have caused pain. In Jan. 2014 I had back surgery. I was praying I would rebound quick. I didn’t. I moved slow. The pain was just too much. I fell deep into a hole. In the midst of living with excruciating pain and then not being able to do all the things I love…playing catch with my kids, going on walks…I gained weight like it was a hobby.

At the start of 2015 I was killing it. Eating the way I know I’m suppose too. Working out 4 days a week. I still couldn’t run or do any time of physical movements (jumping jacks, jump rope), but I could use the Elliptical and swim. And, it was going well.

Then, in mid February I made the stupid decision to play racket ball with a few friends. I paid the next 2 months for that.

I’ve gotten use to not bending. I don’t pick up anything that’s on the floor.

But, I have found a great chiropractor and my back is getting stronger and better everyday. I still wake up with great pain every day. But, with a massive amount of stretching and walking, it’s so MUCH better.


Getting out of the hole


Have you ever been so far in the hole that you give up hope that there’s anyway out?

That’s the land I live in with my weight.

I know better, that’s the deal. I have read so many books and articles on health. I know I should eat more salads. I know I should stop drinking pop. I know leaders take care of their bodies. I know I’m an awful example to my kids and to my wife and to my church and to my friends.

I know.

But with the pain and with the stress of starting a church and the stress of our own family stuff, I’ve fallen deeper and deeper into the hole.

It’s half way through 2015. I turn 40 September 22.

That’s enough to give me the kick in the pants I need.

So, here goes. I’m going to fight this! I’m going to give it my all.

Would love your prayers!

Dad Fest 2015…An Absolutely Incredible Moment for Thrive Church!

DAD FEST 2015 Rocked! dad fest

I can’t believe that Dad Fest was 5 days ago! We planned and prepared and prayed for months and months and it’s already over! Even though everything didn’t go according to plan, it was still one of our BEST days as a Church and it was just incredible!

Why did it rock?

Because God used it to reach people who normally would never step foot into a church! Because there were multiple stories of men who told their wives they would come back to this church. Because families were introduced to Jesus.

What was DAD FEST you ask?

Dad Fest was a special day to honor dads and to give our Church an incredible opportunity to make it as easy as possible to invite and bring friends and family to check out Thrive Church! Last year we hosted it on the actual Father’s Day, but since we live in a college town, there are a ton of Thrivers who travel home to see their dads…so, we did it a week early.

What did we do at DAD FEST?

We planned to have (cool cars, police vehicles, giant inflatables, a live band, 40 ft climbing wall, a football skills area, fun archery, face painting and water balloons) in the parking lot, but because of rain we had to cancel it.

Even though that happened, it was still an absolutely STELLAR morning for Thrive Church!

During our experience, I challenged Dad’s to just not pass on DNA to their kids, but pass on what matters most. And, we looked at the example of Jesus in Mark 10. Our band was awesome and lead us in some great worship. We brought a couple of dad’s up and did a fun DAD vs DAD competition.

AND…we had a ton of food! No joke, we had a special DAD TENT and DAD reserved area where there was a ton of food covered in bacon (thanks to an amazing volunteer) and DADS and MEN received a chilled bottle of root beer with a DAD FEST cozi. It was just awesome!

Plus in the lobby of the movie theater we rent and in the tents after the experience, we had a ton of free food and drinks. And we had a picture wall for Dad’s to get a picture with their kids.

It was just a lot of fun and a ton of impact! 

And, actually, in spite of the rain, people still showed up! On a typical Sunday morning at Thrive, we have around 400 people. At Dad Fest 2015 we had 602. Its just nuts that we had a 136% increase over last years Dad Fest. And, all that for an 88 week old church! God is good!


We do all of this because we want to passionately help people find and follow Jesus! And, we’ll do anything short of sin to reach IMG_5745people for Jesus! And, we’re willing to do things that no one is doing to reach people that no one else is reaching.

I am so incredibly thankful to everyone who prayed for Dad Fest. Who served. Who gave financially. Who invited and brought friends and family. And, those who showed up!

It was a major day for the history of Thrive Church and I already can’t wait till years!

Put down June 12th!!

We’re not even close to being done! There are 80,000 people in Central MI who don’t ‘have a Church home and we won’t stop or slow down!

I can’t wait till we add our Thrive location on the campus of Central Michigan University. And then a campus in Midland, Alma and Big Rapids!

Honored to be a part of this Church and I know the best is yet to come!


Oh…in case you want to see more about Dad Fest, check out these links:

Watch the experience.

Look at the pictures.

Email Sarah.burkhart@thrivechurchmi.cc to get a copy of our Stratetic Plan.

A letter to the Church I love…Thrive Church

Dear Thrive,

I love what Paul says in Philippians 1:3-6…’I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus‘. 

I LOVE THAT! And, I feel the same way about our Church! I do thank God every time, EVERY TIME I remember you! I love being Thrive’s Pastor and it is one of the greatest privileges of my life! That being said, I wanted to share my heart with you about our Church!

Huge Sunday Ahead…It’s DAD FEST!!!!!!dad fest

As you know, this Sunday is a freaking huge Sunday for our Church! We’ve been telling you to save the date for DAD FEST since before Christmas! Why? Because this is a MAJOR opportunity for our Church to reach people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus in Central MI! That’s why it’s so important!! Yes, it will be a super fun day! Oh my goodness, the songs Matt has planned and the creativity for the experience will be awesome! And, everything that is going to happen outside will be AWESOME!

[40ft climbing wall, Football skills area, 9 square in the air, Giant inflatables, Free food, BBQ Battle, Cool Cars, Water balloons and a DAD’s ONLY TENT with a free gift]

Yes, it’s going to be awesome! But, again, we’re doing all this to proudly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

So, be praying! GET ON YOUR KNEES. Beg and humbly ask God to move. To break down walls. To bring people who hate Church to Thrive Church! Pray for people to respond to the Gospel!

And, just a remember, we will do anything short of sin to reach people for Jesus and that’s why we’re investing so much into this SUNDAY at THRIVE!

Huge Summer Ahead…It’s going to be AWESOME!!!!

Man Card is taking over the month of June! We’re challenging our Men to get their Man Card by discovering and living out biblical manhood! In July, we’re doing a series called ‘Confessions of a Christian’. We’re going to go right at the things that Christians say are important to them, but that are not always lived out. It’s going to be great. Plus, we’re calling July…Julyapalooza!! There will be treat and a game for families after each Sunday in July!

And then in August, well, JUST GET READY for August! August is going to be a HIGHLIGHT month for our Church! We’re doing a series called ‘I love my Church’ and we’re going to dive into our church values. Found people find people. Saved people serve people. You can’t out give God. You can’t do life alone. Growing people change. Then, on August 16th, we will CELEBRATE & CHEER and GATHER together at South Park in Lake Isabella for our annual Outdoor Worship Experience & Baptisms!

OH MY GOODNESS!! It’s going to be awesome! Plus, we’ll have food, giant inflatables, boating and families can hang out! So, put AUGUST 16th on your calendar right now!

Huge Fall Ahead…We Celebrate our TWO years a Church!!

Put October 4th on your calendar right now! Seriously, I know it’s months away, but I am praying and hoping EVERY person who calls Thrive their home church will be at our TWO year celebration as a Church! We’re believing God for some amazing things in the months leading up to October 4th!

As your praying, be praying for our future as a Church. Thrive has grown and we are praying hard about our future!

Ok, see you Sunday! Seriously, be 20 minutes early. Invite everyone you know. Share it on Facebook. Bring a friend! Bring your entire family!

I know with all of my heart that the best is yet to come!

See you Sunday!