Jason Raitz

Jesus Follower. Husband. Dad. Son. Brother. Pastor.


June 2013

Partner with us to make Thrive a reality

I have written a lot about Thrive and the dream to launch this new church on this blog. thrive-logo-400x132

I believe passionately that the ‘local church is the hope of the world’ and that we desperately need more local churches.

That’s why today, I’m taking the next step to launch Thrive Church and I’m asking you to become a

Thrive Partner!

At our core, Thrive is all about reaching people for Jesus in Central MI. People who are living a life far from God.

Thrive exists to help people find and follow God and our dream is to help people become life long followers of Jesus.

We are a place where no perfect people are allowed and we believe Church should be…

Simple…Fun…and Real.

This cannot become a reality without the help and support (prayer and financial) of many friends and family. If you live in Central MI or CA, you can be a part of helping launch this new Church!2013-06-16 09.44.34

Partner with Thrive

1. Click on this link and find out what we’re about and how you can partner with us to make a HUGE impact on our area for Christ.

2. Watch the video describing our heart beat, download our launch plan and check out ways you can partner with Thrive.

3. Send the link to friends and family who have a vision for Church Planting and ask them to partner with us as well.

4. Pray for Thrive. Pray for God’s favor and blessing on our new church. Pray that God would send additional launch team members. Pray that we would be Jesus to our area. Pray that we would be able to raise funds to launch this church.

5. Give to Thrive. Partner with us and invest in increasing the Kingdom.

There has never been a greater need for more churches than now

and you can help launch and partner with us to launch Thrive Church.

Role of a Church Planter #5…Develop Thick Skin

There are a lot of different voices in a church planters head. Ok, that sounds a little weird, but let me explain.welcome-criticism-develop-thicker-skin

Everyday, there are competing voices that try to get our attention and convince us of one thing or another. Here are some of those voices.

The Voices…

  • Good
  • Bad
  • Positive
  • Negative
  • Encouraging
  • Challenging
  • Defeating
  • Uplifting
  • Critical

Some days a church planter is on the top of the world. We may have a few great conversations with potential church attenders or someone may have blessed the new church with some kind of financial gift. The positive voices fill our head and our hearts and remind us that God has called us to this work and our new church is going to advance His Kingdom.


All of a sudden and out nowhere the negative voices can come flooding in and wow, can they come flooding in!

Negative. Bad. Defeating. Critical.

Some days a church planter can get knocked off the top of the world. Someone may tell us they’ve decided to not be a part or they don’t like the direction of they have an issue with someone else on the launch team and they refuse to deal with it. Or, the finances don’t come in that were needed and negative voices can start to flood our mind and hearts.

Because there are so many different voices that are all trying to get our attention, there is one very important role that a church planter must take very seriously.

We must…

Develop Thick Skin

In order to balance all these voices, developing thick skin is of grave importance.

This is actually a HUGE leadership lesson period! 

We have to remember that we can’t please everyone. It’s impossible to please everyone. But, it’s most important to live out the call that God has put on our hearts and sometimes that means going a path that some don’t agree with.

And it means not taking everything too personally. Some people aren’t going to be called to your church. Some people may have their opinions about the vision or mission. You just can’t please everyone.

3 ways to develop thick skin

1. Please God. Worry about only pleasing God. Period. Stop wasting all the energy it takes to please people and divert that energy to God.

2. Be confident in who you are. When you stop worrying about what others will think, it takes so much pressure off. Now, that doesn’t mean you become a prick and not care about people. But, it does mean that you lead in the way you were created to lead.

3. Ask for peoples opinions. Yes, I think we need to go after what people really think. Way too often, people hold back from what they really think and then at the most inopportune time they tell us what they’ve been thinking all along. If we create a culture where it’s ok for people to really share, we will find ourselves less in the magical land of…’I wonder what they really think’.

People will have their doubts. People will question your motives. People will say both positive and negative things about you and the church and some days they will say both the same day.

As much as you can, you must drown out all the voices that pull you down and listen to the voice that matters.

1 Kings 19:12

      “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper”

Kingdom Work is Worth It!

I have this re-occuring that thought goes through my head every time I’m about to head out on stage to teach…

Kingdom Work is so Worth It! 

The other re-occuring thought  I have is…

I so don’t deserve to have this incredible opportunity. 

What’s Kingdom Work you ask?

Well, my friends at CIY have defined it well…

“To be willing and committed to giving the best of our gifts and abilities to serve Jesus and to advance the Kingdom of God, where ever they may be…and be willing to be mobile, to move to wherever God may call them to most effectively utilize these gifts to advance the Kingdom”

If you’re a follower of Jesus, He’s called us to Kingdom Work.

And, it is so worth it. It may not seem like it at the time. It may seem scary or be a huge leap of faith.

But, I guarantee if God is asking you to do some thing for Him, He will see you through it and be there for you.


Why do Christians have to bully?

I don’t really have the mental energy to answer this question right now.

But, Gosh, I am so tired of people who say they’re followers of Jesus and bully others.

They bully non-Christians, they bully Christians, they bully their family, they just bully.

I just don’t get it. 

I can’t even begin to count the amount of conversations I have with people who tell me they’ve given up on church or God because their tired of being bullied.

Bullied by…

Their families. Maybe they grew up Catholic or Lutheran or Methodist or whatever and now they’ve decided to attend a church that is not a part of the denomination of their childhood. They get bullied because of it.

Their friends. Yes, their friends. Sometimes friends can’t understand why they would give so much time to a church. Or follow God with their hearts.

Am I wrong? Maybe I’m just seeing it the wrong way.

It’s time to stop.

An Amazing Father’s Day at Thrive

Father’s Day 2013 will always have a special place in my heart.2013-06-16 09.37.23

Not only because I love, LOVE, being a dad, but because Thrive took our next step to officially launching as a Church.

Father’s Day marked our 4th monthly service in the movie theater and it went great!

The Highlights

1. Being around Thrive’s amazing Launch team. These people have committed to Attend–Serve–Invite–Give to Thrive. Their hearts are ridiculously amazing and how they serve God, the church and each other BLOWS ME AWAY!!!!

2. Our worship team! I love that God is bringing artists and musicians to inspire people with music and lead them in worship.

3. Challenging Dad’s to be Strong & Courageous. I taught from Joshua 1:1-9 and challenged Dad’s and every one else to Trust God when he says to be strong and courageous.

4. Watching how Thrive Kidz already loves kids! We have an amazing group of people who are creating an amazing environment for kids and teaching and modeling Jesus to them.

5. Seeing my family pour into Thrive Church. My wife, my kids and my parents are all a huge part of Thrive. My dad and my boys and I drive to the movie theater at 615am to help set up. I love it!

6. Meeting people who have given up on Church! I had a fantastic conversation with a guy

2013-06-16 09.44.34

who flat out told me…”I’m not expecting much from Thrive Church”. He was really involved in church as a kid and he stopped attending. His friend brought him and I’m hoping and praying he’ll experience Jesus in an amazing way.

7. Dad Fest 2013. We hosted our 1st annual Dad Fest and it went great. Our uber volunteer, Jon Faber, with help from the amazing Colette Hamlin, planned an awesome event right after the service in the movie theater parking lot. We had classic cars, quad rides, food and games. So much fun!

8.  Having our boys honor dad’s. We had some of our young guys honor our dad’s and it was a riot seeing them up front!

9. Launching a new Church. I pinch myself daily that God’s put the call on my life to launch a new church. It’s an honor that I can’t even comprehend!

10. “This is the Best Father’s Day”. Yup, I heard this from multiple Dad’s. So blessed! Only God!

I’ll throw in one extra one…

11. Man of Steel. A bunch of Thrivers came back to the movie theater to watch Man of Steel later that night. So MUCH FUN!!!

I pinch myself daily…I really get to be a part of planting a new church!

Tracie and I were driving home today after Church and we looked at each other and had the same thought…thrive-logo-400x132

We really get to be a part of planting a Church!

I really do pinch myself daily!

It is a joy! An honor! A privilege! A blessing!

I know I don’t deserve it and I’m amazed that God is using a guy like me.

But, here are my highlights from today…

1. Seeing our community build and grow.

2. Having our kids build relationships with each other and deepen those friendships.

3. Watching a few dozen launch team leaders set up a movie theater!

4. Worshipping in a movie theater.

5. Having so many GREAT conversations after the service.

6. Watching the dream of Dad Fest take root!

7. Heading back to the theater tonight with a bunch of Thrivers to watch Man of Steel.

8. Listening to people who help us put on the car show talked about how cool they thought it was for a Church to do this.


Why I’m Excited about Sunday!

Ok, here’s the deal…I get excited a lot! thrive-logo-400x132

I do.

It’s true.

But, nothing excites more than the local Church! Yes, even if Hootie and the Blowfish had a reunion tour in my front yard! Well…let me think about that! Hah.

I love the church. I believe passionately that the Local Church is the Hope of the World and I believe that God has called me to help launch a new church in Mt Pleasant, MI.

We gather together again this Sunday!!!

And, yes, that’s I’m so excited.

Now, Thrive Church is more than just a weekly service. We are doing our best to live out Acts 2. That means that we are praying for each other, meeting in community with other, laughing with each other, crying with other and being there for each other!

But, we also have a monthly service component right now and I love it! I love getting together and talking about Jesus. I love singing together, giving together and…

I Love Teaching God’s Word!

This Sunday at Thrive is Dad Fest!Dad Fest 2013 Car & Bike Ribbon

Service is from 930-1030

Dad Fest is from 1030-1200

Free Food

Games for the family

Car Show

See you then!!!!

What’s Really behind Thrive? A look into all things Thrive Church

I’m in the process of planting a Church called Thrive.thrive no perfect people

Actually, it’s been in the works since 1998. That’s when I first felt the call to plant a church someday. Then, fast forward to 2011 and the desire and call to plant a church started really heating up. And now, in 2013, it’s becoming a reality!

It’s been quite a journey so far! Both exhilarating and excruciating and everything in between.

It hasn’t been easy and honestly, I think it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted. But, I know that I know that God has called me to lead a fantastic group of people who all believe that God has called us to start a new a church to reach new people for Jesus.

So, I thought I would answer some of the frequently asked questions I get all the time when I’m meeting with people, and through email and Facebook.

What’s really behind Thrive? A look into all things Thrive…

What’s the real reason you’re starting Thrive Church?

The bottom line, absolutely real reason I’m starting Thrive Church is…drum roll…

God told me too. Yup, it’s that simple. And, to tell you the truth, I ran from it for a long time. On numerous occasions, I told God no. I told him heck no and honestly, on a few occasions I told God…HELL NO!!!!

I am starting Thrive Church because God told me too and because there are thousands…YES…1000’s of people in Central MI who don’t have a Church home and are living life far from God.

What’s Thrive all about?

Simply, we exist to help people find and follow God. We’re about helping people take their Next Steps with God, doing Life Together with a small group of people and Going Out to be used by God to make a difference in the world.

My hope, dream and prayer is that our church will be irresistible (to borrow a phrase from Andy Stanley) to those far from God. It’s fun. Laughter is encouraged. Showing up and pretending you have it all together is not encouraged. We look to Jesus. We talk about Jesus. We worship Jesus. We challenge people to live their life fully surrounded to Jesus.

What do you need to Launch Thrive Church?

Prayer. Financial Support. Donations.

1. Pray that God would give us favor with our community. Strength and courage to share our faith to those far from Jesus and that God would provide a community of people to bless our work financially.

2. Our goal is to raise $100,000! Yup, it’s a HUGE goal, but we know with God all things are possible. You can help by making a special gift to Thrive or to committing to give monthly to Thrive. You can give online here.

3. Donate stuff. Anything from sound systems to lighting to tables to kids ministry supplies. Oh yeah, we’re praying for a trailer as well! Email me if you want more information…

Why don’t you meet weekly yet?

Well, we just don’t have the people or resources yet to meet weekly the way we believe God is calling us too. And, the Church is so much more than a service or a building. Our launch team meets and prays for each other. Our kids have grown close and God has really blessed our community.

What’s the service like when you do meet?

It’s fun. We laugh. The band leads us in a few songs and the band rocks. It’s loud. We highlight someone’s journey with God, either in person or on video. We really believe that the generations should be involved, so kids read scripture or welcome everybody. I teach for 30 or so minutes and challenge people to live like Jesus.

Aren’t there are already a lot of great Churches in Central MI? Why another one?

Yes, there are a lot of great churches in our area. But, the reality is this…even with the amount of churches we have in a 40 mile radius…we’re not even coming close to reaching 20% of the population! WOW!

I’ve also blogged about it more extensively here and here.

Why are you starting Thrive Church in Mt Pleasant, MI?

God told me too. Seriously, He absolutely and positively told me that Thrive should be based out of Mt Pleasant. That was confirmed through a lot of prayer with our launch team and our management team. Originally, I was praying about basing it out of Shepherd, MI. A little town a few miles south of Mt Pleasant. I had spent a lot of time taking prayer walks through Shepherd and around Shepherd High School where I originally thought our home base would be. But, as the dream and vision and call started to come together for Thrive, we want to reach the most amount of people we can for Jesus and God put Mt Pleasant on our hearts.

Is Thrive associated with any denominations? 9d5f20200b8f2f9d812e626e47545145

Nope. We are a non-denominational christian church. I’ll write more about at a later time, but the bottom line is…I just didn’t feel lead or called to be a apart of a denomination. Spending time as a staff member at Willow Creek and NorthRidge, both non-denomination churches, created a great resonance in my heart and spirit with not aligning our church with a denomination.

You started Live Now last year, how are you going to do both?

Great question. I did start Live Now Leadership last year by the grace of God. That was not easy, but God blessed it and we were able to encourage over 15,000 students last year. Even though I’m starting Thrive, I won’t stop speaking to students and I’m in the process of searching for someone to help run Live Now at a level I won’t be able too with also leading the Church. When I started Live Now, it was 50/50 if I was going to plant Thrive or start Live Now. Both my wife and I felt that God told us to hold off the Church at that time. So, we poured into Live Now. In the fall of 2012 God starting to intensify the call to plant a church and it became an all out wrestle with God. I told him no, many times. In the end, He prevailed…He has a way of doing that!

Thank you for your support and prayer!

CIY MOVE…Rise Up 2013

Wow, wow and wow!

I’m in Knoxville, TN at CIY MOVE! I have never been to a MOVE before and I am loving it!

The theme for the week is Rise Up and it’s all centered around the story of Joseph. Unbelievably great!

I taught last night and I will tonight and they bring in a different speaker for nights 3 & 4. Ben Hardman is the morning speaker and I’ve so enjoyed talking with Ben about church planting and leadership.

This is definitely another…”why would you choose me God, why?”

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