My next steps…

Pretty often I get asked “so, what’s happening with Jason”? So, I thought I would pull my thoughts together and answer that question in a blog post.

2012 has been a crazy year. There have been extreme highs and extreme lows. Been a pretty tough year so far. What I know and what I’m sure of is that God is faithful and He’s been showing himself to me in incredible ways lately!

But, this year is another transition year for the Raitz family and that’s hard. We’re moving. This will be our fourth move in 4 years, the kids are moving to a new school and I am working a few different jobs. But, we’re excited about the opportunities and the doors that have been opened in front of us. So, here is a look at what’s happening.

1. Live Now Leadership. I started a non-profit in April called Live Now Leadership. Our dream, our vision, our hope, our desire is to partner with schools and help them bring an end to bullying. But that’s not all. We teach social emotional leadership lessons and we teach students and parents how to build strong and healthy relationships. I am working to build relationships with schools in Central MI, Detroit and Chicago. My hope is to not just be a speaker who comes in and then leaves. My hope is to build a partnership with the schools and be a help to the staff, the students, the parents and the community.

It’s been terribly exciting so far. God is opening doors in schools and I’ve been able to build partnerships with school administrators. I’m praying for monthly donors to help sustain us financially, especially over the summer.

We have dreams of starting to host parenting seminars this fall and to host a student leadership conference next summer! Also, our plan and dream is start an internship program for college students as well.

2. Thrive. I have decided to partner with Youth for Christ in Alma, MI and my friend, Wes Wickes, to start a church on Wednesday nights called Thrive. This Church, this community is for the 18-whatever age who are far from God, who are dechurched or for those who are close to God but are looking for a new and fresh work of God in their lives.

Our primary target will be the alumni of Youth for Christ who have graduated from the YFC program and for whatever reason have not been able to get plugged into a local church. But, even though our target is starting with the alumni, our hearts are to turn no one away.

I’ve been really impressed with how hard and how much YFC works with local churches to get their students plugged into a local body of believers. But, they’ve found over the past couple of years, for whatever reasons, that students aren’t finding a community they resonate with. So, Wes, his team and his board have been praying about a solution to this and feel a burden for these students and their families. When I say students, some of them are just graduated, but the age group is really 18-40. So, it’s a big age group.

For me this is terribly exciting. When I left my last position, it wasn’t the timing I was thinking and I desperately miss teaching. So, I can’t wait to be teaching again!

There will be a lot more info coming on Thrive. Keep an eye out!

3. Speaking. I am speaking at a few camps and churches this summer and I’m beginning to get booked for the fall and winter. I’m praying that God will continue to open up doors for me to speak in Churches and at conferences and retreats. I absolutely love teaching God’s word and I’ve been doing it for the last 12 years and I love it. I have never been able to have full freedom to say yes to speaking requests like I do now. I’ve always worked at Churches and so I’ve had a limited amount of weekends available to teach. I’m excited to partner with Churches and events!

4. Writing. I’ve been writing a book for students called ‘Live a Great Story, Now’. It’s been an exciting and really challenging journey. I’m hoping to have it complete by mid summer!

5. MBA. Starting June 24th I am going to continue my MBA. I left the program I was working on through Lake Forest Graduate School of Management when we decided to move from IL to MI. I’m excited to jump back in and work towards earning my MBA.

Well, I think that about does it. Except loving my wife and kids, coaching little league and working towards my goal of losing 75 pounds by September 22, 2012!

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